Using your gifts to serve
BY VICKY STARNES
I recently finished teaching an online class in the Discipleship Academy called “Serving From the Heart: Finding Your Gifts and Talents for Service.” If you already know what your spiritual gifts are, then you can stop reading this article now – it’s not for you. However, if you are uncertain what the spiritual gifts fuss is all about – listen up, this is for you!
Serving from the Heart is a class that Rev. Cynthia Moore and I taught together. It helped people identify their spiritual gifts for service in the church. Spiritual gifts are defined in the Serving from the Heart resource as:
- Divine abilities (not something you’ve learned)
- Given to every Christian (yes, even you)
- Given through the grace of God (not something you’ve earned)
- Given by the Holy Spirit (God chooses which gifts you receive)
- Used to serve and strengthen one another (to build each other up, not yourself)
- Used to glorify God (for God’s purposes, to God’s glory)
Spiritual gifts are those things you are called to do by God, things that you are passionate about, things you are good at, things you are comfortable doing. Paul talks about spiritual gifts in Romans 12:
For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
So, by now you may be wondering about your own gifts – that’s good – that’s what the class was for – helping folks to identify their spiritual gifts and begin to make some decisions about how to use them. And by using them – I mean, not only in the local church but mostly to glorify God.
What you missed by not taking our awesome online class on Spiritual Gifts:
- Taking a spiritual gifts inventory which identified your specific gifts for ministry (if you want to try an online inventory try the Ministry Tools Resource Center or the UMC spiritual gifts quiz).
- Learning about the 20 spiritual gifts referred to in the Bible: administration, apostleship, distinguishing of spirits, encouragement, evangelism, faith, giving, healing, hospitality, interpretation of tongues, message of knowledge, leadership, mercy, miraculous powers, pastor/teacher, prophecy, service, speaking in tongues, teaching, message of wisdom.
- Making new friends during the online class and closing two-day workshop.
- Discovering your talents and preferred environment for ministry in the church and community.
- Setting up a detailed plan for future ministry, using your spiritual gifts.
Perhaps the best way to let you know about the power of this class, is to introduce you to Russell Hultgren, a lay person at Severna Park UMC. He’s not a lay speaker, not even a leader in his church – but rather a disciple of Christ who felt called to get more involved in ministry. He decided to start that path, by taking our Serving From the Heart online class. It was a life changing thing for him. If you want to read his story, follow this link and hear it from his own words.