Recently my pastor husband retired, and we began attending a new church. He set up a lunch date with the pastor to see how he and I might be helpful. Terry (my husband) mentioned that I was interested in spiritual gifts and had the training and materials to assess others. The pastor with whom he was meeting said they had done a gifts program already and didn’t need that kind of assistance, but maybe I would like to join the mission stitchers.
When I tell this story to anyone who knows me well, they laugh. Why? Well, because I am terrible at anything that involves crafts or artistic talent. I’m sure the mission stitchers is a wonderful ministry, but it isn’t for me. Later by perusing the newsletter, I was able to introduce myself to the person who was reorganizing their church library, and I’ve been helping her (because I do love books!).
So, what’s my point? Pastors PLEASE–when someone offers to help, find a way for them to do that. Begin by asking some questions. What do you enjoy doing? What have you done in the past? Have you done a spiritual gifts assessment, and if so, what are some of your gifts? If you don’t get an immediate sense of where this person fits it, tell them you will think about it and get back to them. Then follow up! Trying to quickly pop a round peg in a square hole could result in failure for both the person and the congregation.
Fortunately for me, I once had a pastor who was very good at spotting interests and talents, and encouraging his parishioners to serve in ways that suited them well. Sometimes his suggestions were challenging — but they never made me laugh. I’m also self-motivated and self-aware enough to look for my own opportunities, but not everyone is. It’s actually the duty of all who are mature Christians (not just the pastor) to seek out and encourage the gifts of others. The church is a body, and we need all of the parts doing the job God equipped them to do.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.” 1 Corinthians. 12:4
For more posts about spiritual gifts see:
Spiritual Gifts from the Holy Spirit