Forum 7.2 - Identifying and Nurturing Gifts
Identifying and Nurturing Gifts
How does your congregation discern and employ gifts of all members? We don’t have a process for discerning gifts. As a small congregation, gifts are identified when the church has a need and either someone will volunteer or, someone else will volunteer them.
Is there a process to make sure that members of all ages and abilities have a chance to give and receive? No
How does this include persons with disabilities and empowering them to share their gifts? We don’t have a process. There is no process, the congregation encourages each other when there is a need and someone recognizes that they or someone else has the gift for what is needed.
How are we receiving their spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ? We have been blessed that those who have gifts that are easily recognized have been willing to share and participate in the needs.
If we aren’t, what are missing out on? Others that have gifts that are not easily recognized, need guidance and encouragement to seek what their gift are and recognize them. Perhaps it is time to find a way to have the church complete a Spiritual Gift Assessment.
Your congregation sounds similar to ours with respect to accessing and employing spiritual gifts. We are also a fairly small congregation, so I am curious if this is also a common issue with many larger congregations as well, or if it is more of a size thing due to more limited resources.
I think a lot of churches lack a process, regardless of size. Every large church I've participated in talked about spiritual gifts, but none of them have been very good about intentionally considering the gifts of all its members, with or without disabilities.
That's good to know. If a lot of churches are struggling with it, it could be a good type of process to develop for the UMC as a whole and then churches could work more on implementation rather than coming up with something individually. I haven't really thought through how practical this idea would be though. :)
People change and develop, and sometimes living in a village among people you've known all your life makes living into a change or a new life a little difficult. In some cases, the village will have your personality and nickname pegged by the time you're five years old. Maybe part of discerning gifts in the church is helping people make a turn they've been wanting to take.
I hear and share some of that frustration! My current church sounds very similar in that I feel very much like an outsider still and not aware of past history and gifts everyone else seems to know. (have you read "Open Secrets"? that is what I think I am in the midst of!)
However, I have picked up on some gifts from new members and I am trying to take seriously holding that knowledge in trust for us all since the old timers don't know them very well yet.
There are some really good gifts identification tools out there and I want to explore ones that are good for older, more established, smaller congregations.