Sunday, November 06, 2005

14. Ministry Gifts. "Ministry remains identified with the static roles of clergy as priest, pedagogue, or professional, all dispensers of spiritual resources." Missional Church edited by Darrell L. Guder.

I can remember the first time I was introduced to a spiritual gifts inventory. I was pumped. I was so digging the idea of finding out what my gift was. That was about 8 years ago. I have since found some cool ones online.







I personally like the third one on the list.

It is a sobering realization that most christians do not know what there spiritual gifts are. Without exception, in dialogue with people in the church through classes and one on one conversation, I have only come across one person who has ever been able to identify their spiritual gifts.

If we do not know what our gifts are, we are operating at minimum efficiency at best. Some of us operate in our gifts because we it is so much a part of us that we naturally express ourselves through it. While the rest of us are likely not to even be operating in our gifts at all. They are like a tool in our shed that has been hanging on the wall, collecting dust and basically taking up space. What would it be like to be a hammer but never hit nails? How would a saw feel without ever abrasively rubbing up against the wood?

Not knowing our giftedness in the body is symptomatic of the way we structure church. Alan Roxburgh insightfully pointed out that our church structures cater to a consumeristic audience, where the crowd comes to get entertained by the paid professional clergy. Our leadership structures have nurtured a passive, consumeristic membership. Many of our people do not know their gifts because, in their mind, their is really no need to discover them. From their perspective, life in the Kingdom is about attending. The leadership typically puts together cookie cutter programs and slavishly drives people to coordinate and run them. We place our ideas over on top of other peoples lives and try to funnel as many people as we can to sustain and promote them.

I am longing for a gift-based approach to ministry. Instead of coercing people into being involved with programs that they are neither gifted nor passionate about, why not help people discover their gifts, put them in a community of people with the same gifts, and empower them to creatively engage their gifts with the body and the community? Let God generate ministries through peoples giftedness. Let God work through a ministry because there are people who are gifted to serve in that area. No more generically manufactured programs to stroke our egos about spiritual activity and results.

Within a gift-based church, creativity and leadership training are paramount. Creativity is the spark that ignites ministry. Leadership is the wind that fans into flame. There are no top down ideas dictated to the people, followed by guilt and manipulation because they are not excited about "our" program. There is no need to hem people in by projecting our own passions and pet projects onto them. People need to be released to do ministry generated by their relationship with God, love for people and a sense of calling to make a difference in the world. It is a lot easier to ask someone to show up to a program and fill a slot than it is to nurture them into an awareness of their gifts and calling.

Discovering our gifts is crucial for spiritual expression and creativity. Our giftedness is tied in with our identity and calling in the body. It is a grand filter through which our walk with God should pass through.

So, with out delay, I want to ask you the question.....Do you know what your gifts are? Well, do you?