The Search For Identity

Apr 14, 2021 | Dennis Heppner, Faith

Man searching for identity

Most people consider identity as a “what” rather than a “who.” People particularly see their occupations as their identity. Titles, positions, and climbing the corporate ladder are often where the false sense of importance and identity are located.

Today I want to discuss your identity as simply this: a believer in the body of Christ. I want to focus on your function in ministry, not your position. I’ve had people who have been angry and even left the church over the years because I refused to give them a certain title. Some wanted to be called pastor, elder, bishop, apostle, or another title of supposed importance.

One of the more misused Bible verses is Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I believe that verse — it’s true. But there is a condition to it. “Delight.” Take a special interest in the Lord, and only then will He give you the desires of your heart. Not your natural human wants, and not your human ambition. When you delight in God, your heart aligns itself with God’s will. What you desire is actually what God desires.

In my youth, I was enthralled by the many great evangelists that came to my childhood church. Maybe it was their flair, the miracles, the excitement, or whatever. I wanted to be an evangelist. So when my pastor told me I would become a good pastor and Bible teacher, I rejected it on the spot. My human nature wanted to be an evangelist. I have actually had significant success as an evangelist in my life, but that is not the heart of who I am. I am a pastor.

The key to finding your identity in God is this: don’t turn away from anything that God is using in your life, even if that is not what you originally wanted.

My core identity and functionality of ministry have produced lasting fruit. As I look back over a lifetime of ministry, I can say that people who sit under my ministry grow, learn, and mature. That is the fruit of my calling as a pastor.

Today I am providing a broader ministry to churches and church leaders, while still pastorally involved in our mother church, Beginnings Church. My role has changed to something more apostolic. I use this term very carefully — it’s a popular “title” that doesn’t always bear fruit. Often pastors who travel use that title, but it’s not necessarily their calling.

The only title I have ever taken and still hold is “Pastor.” When I’m being introduced or my biodata is requested, I only use the title “Pastor.” Simple, and safer.

The key to finding your identity in God is this: don’t turn away from anything that God is using in your life, even if that is not what you originally wanted. Look at the fruit. Watch where God uses you. (Be prepared to be surprised at how this happens!) Maybe you’re not really a pastor; maybe God blesses your ministry when you teach. Or prophesy. Or win souls. Or plant churches apostolically. Look for the fruit.

Fruitfulness leads to contentment. If my role in the body of Christ shifts, I choose to embrace changes based on the fruit it produces. The servant does not tell the master what they want to do. The servant just says, “Yes, Lord.”

Your identity is revealed in the fruit of your life. Don’t seek a greater position or greater influence. Just let the river of God flow out of you. Let God enlarge your territory and influence. Do not seek enlargement; it is the natural result of flowing in the will of God for your life.

Wherever you are in ministry, accept that as God’s perfect will for that season. Bloom, reproduce, and multiply from the plot of ground where God has planted you. If God enlarges your fields, wonderful! But be content. Be fruitful. This is your identity.


Have you been delighting yourself in the Lord? Is this evidenced by your fruit? Is the ministry you are in experiencing growth and maturity? Are you looking towards being fruitful in the kingdom of God or are you striving to build a legacy or a reputation?


Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Reading Plan: Revelation 15-22


Heavenly Father, forgive me if I am more concerned about earthly titles and reputation, instead of what is more important – my relationship with you. I pray that I will be defined not with my desire for earthly success, but by the fruit I produce in whatever ministry to which I am called. Help me to bloom where you have planted me.


How much fruit are you bearing? If you’re not part of a ministry yet, then join one that uses your natural gifts. If you are part of a ministry but aren’t active, take action today. Bloom where God has planted you in whatever function He has blessed you with. Your fruit will be your identity. #Fruit #Maturity #Identity

Dennis Heppner grew up in Canada and was called to ministry as a young boy. Dennis and his wife Denie, who was also called to missions as a child, pastored 4 churches in Canada, but in 1987 the door opened to come to the Philippines as missionaries. They brought their 4 eldest children with them and the kids grew up here. In 2006 they adopted Emma Rose, a special Filipino treasure and a gift from God to their family.

Dennis has been a missionary evangelist in Asia for 25 years. He was the director of LIFESCHOOLS of ministry and pastored 3 churches in the early years of his ministry based in the Philippines. He is currently the founder and President of Developing Effective Leaders (DEL), superintendent of Church of God West Asia, and the founding and lead Pastor of the vibrant, growing Church of God Makati.

Dennis and Denie and their whole family, including Josh and Melody who live in Canada, are committed to missions, leadership, and the call of Christ.

Extended Bio HERE.

Read more of Ptr. Dennis’s articles HERE!

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