It was really lovely to come together for our first Ministry Area service of 2019 a couple of weeks ago. Over the last year, our Year of Listening, we’ve worked together to create our new Ministry Area vision — to ‘grow God’s Kingdom for the good of our neighbours’ by nurturing faith, growing together and strengthening our communities. At the service in January, we began to explore what it would look like to put this all into practice together, and in particular about the gifts we each can bring to making our vision a reality.
The bible tells us that, as God’s children, we all have individual gifts. ‘Gifts’ is the best word to use, because it recognises that all we are and have, all our skills, interests, experiences and passions, have been given to us by our loving Heavenly Father. We are then responsible for safeguarding what we’ve been given, and making the best use of it to serve God and others.
It may be that you’re thinking to yourself: ‘I don’t really have any gifts to be able to bring’. This can be tempting, especially when we look around us and see lots of other people who, we think, are more talented, more confident and better experienced than us. But, as the apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian Christians, everyone has something to be able to contribute to the life of the Church, and there are a huge variety of gifts which are needed to enable the Church to grow and flourish.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.1 Corinthians 12.4-7
Some of our gifts may be practical — important skills or knowledge to help our Ministry Area to function day-to-day. But some of the most valuable gifts, which are often overlooked, are spiritual gifts which are expressions of the life of the Spirit in our lives. These may be wisdom in making good decisions; or the ability and desire to pray for others, particularly for healing; or the ability to discern God’s voice and follow his guiding. Some of these spiritual gifts may seem a little intimidating at first, but we grow in confidence by using them and sharing them, and they are vital to our church life.
One way to think about the gifts we have to bring is in terms of different parts of the body.
Firstly, our heart: What are we passionate about? What gets us fired up? What are the things that bring us life and fulfilment?
Next, our head: What knowledge do we hold which could be useful? What interests and experience which could be used to help others?
And finally, our hands: What practical skills do we have? Could our Ministry Area make use of them, or could you teach them to others?
Our gifts are given us to use and share with others. When we fail to exercise them they become stale and sluggish, and their growth is stunted. But when we share them with others, and use them for the common good, we grow in confidence and our gifts are multiplied, not just ourselves but also in others as they learn and benefit from us.
How could you step up and use your gifts to help our Ministry Area grow and flourish? When we truly work together, sharing with one another and valuing each other’s contribution, we may well be amazed at the incredible good things that God is able to do among us!
This article is from the February issue of our Ministry Area magazine, available in churches now.