Thursday, August 23, 2012

Spiritual Gifts

Tonight the Natural Church Development (NCD) team will be meeting at 6 pm in the Chapel. One topic that has come up in each of the core areas is the need to understand Spiritual Gifts and use people in ways that highlight and encourage the use of their particular gifts. Naturally, many of us are inclined to include a "Spiritual Gift Inventory" as part of the action plan to address this need. I have used inventories in the past and have had mixed feelings about them. Ultimately I return to the thought that the best way to discern spiritual gifts is through spiritual discernment rather than inventory "tests". I consider the Apostles on the day of Pentecost. They didn't take a test to find out they had the gift of speaking in all the native languages of the people who had gathered there--they were simply moved by the Spirit to do so. Paul didn't take a test to find that he had gifts of preaching and apostleship (starting new faith communities). Rather God said "go" and he went. Thus far as I look at the people in our congregation who have taken on leadership in the NCD process they have fallen into leadership in quality characteristics that completely make sense for them. They have responded to the call to get involved in taking ownership of the church and are following their passions to the characteristics where God is equipping them to serve. It seems to me fundamentally flawed to thing of Spiritual gifts as natural gifts that we all have if only we could take a test find out what they are, and use them. Spiritual gifts are "Spiritual" because they are given by the Spirit--in other words they are not natural. They are given by God to equip us for the ministry to which God has called us. God does not call the equipped, Rather God equips those who are called no matter how ridiculous the call might appear. Moses couldn't speak well, but was called to go to Pharaoh. Paul persecuted the church, but was called to lead it. Peter was a stumbling stone to Jesus, but became the rock on which Jesus built the church. We are called, then we are gifted. Sometimes there is evidence of the gift before the call, but not necessarily. So... my inclination is to as members of the congregation not to discern their gifts so we can put them to better use, rather to ask them to discern their call so we can look for ways to develop the necessary gifts that God will surely give to those whom God has called. Whether your are a member of this congregation or not, Let me know your thoughts...

3 comments:

  1. This is the first time that I have responded to a blog, and I must say it is not obvious how to post on the blog. To have to click on "No comments:" to make a comment is not intuative.

    I think Pastor Eric is correct about the Spiritual Gifts, they are given by the Holy Spirit, and God will equip us.

    I do think there may be value in doing an inventory of passions or something in that vain, to help people recognize what they are passionate about and it may help lead them to their calling.

    As a congregation we need to start thinking about EVERYTHING as a ministry. Last night we discussed the 'Greeting Ministry'. I had not recently thought about greeting as a ministry. This was a big reminder for me that everything we do should be for Jesus - we are His hands and feet. Greeting everyone, as they come to worship and celebrate God, is a ministry if it is done to glorify God!

    I would like to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Take a chance on doing something new or different during our worship celebration -
    Sing louder - we are told to make a joyful noise
    Share your praises of how God is working in and around you- this can be inspiring and thought provoking for others
    Greet someone you don't know - making sure to say your name and to get their name - then continue in conversation. Jesus was all about relationships, and we need to be in relationship with one another. The only way to have a relationship is thru conversation.

    Thank you for reading and please share your thoughts.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jan--
      Thanks for stepping out of your comfort zone and responding! What a great way to continue the conversation. I agree clicking on "no comments" is not intuitive, and if I can figure out how to fix it, I will.

      I've been thinking some kind of passions or discernment of call inventory may be helpful as well.

      And you are absolutely right--everything is a ministry, from making the sanctuary a clean hospitable place before worship to counting the offering--it is all part of everything that must be done to be effective in making disciples!

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  2. Our spiritual gifts Inventory is a discovery tool that provides you with a personalized analysis.Knowing your spiritual gifts will enable you to find your place of ministry in the local church.

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