Last Sunday, twenty-one adults (including two teenagers) gathered in our fellowship hall to learn about, discuss, and discover their spiritual giftedness. This was the culmination of a sermon series on that topic, and my pastor’s heart was very glad by the strong turnout and even stronger discussion we had at this “Spiritual Gifts Workshop.” I’d like to share a few thoughts with you about the general make-up of our congregation. (As a reminder, if you were not able to attend the workshop, please see me sometime, and we can work on discovering your spiritual gifts together!)
Our survey identified two kinds of spiritual gifts: “working gifts,” which are gifts that we are currently using in active ministry, and “waiting gifts,” which are gifts that may need more development – or the right opportunity – before we put them into use as well.
Among the 21 people at the workshop, our top three “working gifts” were service, giving, and faith. Service has to do with tending to practical needs that help build up the body of Christ. Giving involves supporting the Lord’s work through generous and joyful contributions of material goods – financial and otherwise. Faith is a gift which allows us to see what God wants and to be certain that he will accomplish it in response to prayer.
Does that sound like the Mt. Haley congregation you know? It does to me! I believe we are, indeed, very strong in these three areas. The next question, then, is this: “So what?” How do we put these gifts to work as a congregation? Our frequent love offerings for various ministry groups is a start; our support of different local Christian ministries each quarter is another good thing. Let’s be thinking about how we can continue to develop our strengths as a congregation, even as we do the same individually.
On the other side of the coin, our three strongest “waiting gifts” – again, among the 21 people present at the workshop – are discernment, encouragement, and hospitality. Discernment means the ability to distinguish between truth and error, especially when it comes to matters of faith. Encouragement is the gift that enables us to motivate others to live practical Christian lives. Hospitality has to do with welcoming and graciously serving guests or strangers.
Many individuals in our congregation are “waiting” to put these gifts into action. How can we be more actively discerning, encouraging, and hospitable in our church and in our local community? What would it look like if we were to grow in discipleship and outreach, intentionally paying attention to a development of these three “waiting gifts”? Let’s discuss these things together as we serve in the kingdom of God in this particular place, at this particular time.