Christianity 201

July 11, 2010

Discovering and Using The Spiritually Gifted

Today’s post is something I feel strongly about and is being jointly published here and at Thinking Out Loud.

I think we’ve all been to enough seminars on “discovering your spiritual gifts” to last a lifetime. But what happens to the “spiritually gifted” after they’re done doing the survey, taking the course or completing the booklet?

We’ve all heard the verse, “…Your old men will prophesy; your young men dream dreams.” This implies that God will — both in general and in the last days in particular — be raising up people of vision.

But what opportunity do the visionaries have to implement those forthtellings or visions? In the average church, both the power base and the vision base is concentrated in the hands of a very few church staff members and church board members.

Our churches are actually “prophecy protected” to the point where, even in Pentecostal circles, it’s getting harder and harder for a person to say, “This is where I think the Lord would have us go;” unless they are the pastor or chair the deacons board.

I believe God still births vision in the hearts of old men and young men (and women) but that there are few places in the average church for their prophetic vision to be heard. This only leads to a great deal of discouragement and frustrated.

I’ve known what that’s like. Fortunately, I’ve also known what it’s like to have the freedom to develop new ideas. I’ve worked in three places where I was told to create new initiatives. In the one, I came up with new ideas every two to three weeks. In the other, I came up with a new program every month. In the final one, I came up with new concepts on a daily basis. But I was paid staff. The church, historically, does not function solely with an elitist hierarchy. It’s a community. It’s organic. It’s grassroots.

So have your seminars. Do your spiritual gifts series. But balance it out with means for people to take those visions and turn them into realities. If every time a member of the laity walks into your office with a concept, and your response is a default “no” answer, your spiritual gifts series was a complete waste of time.

Don’t tell people to discover their spiritual gifts until you, as leaders, learn how to discover your spiritually gifted.