What are "Spiritual Gifts?"
Introduction: What Direction are you Going?
A Biblical Approach to Understanding and Applying that with which God has Called and Gifted You!
This workshop can be used as small group lessons or as a church wide training event.
A Basic Definition: The word, Spiritual Gift, comes from the Greek phrase chrismata or sometimes referred to as Charisma, and is defined as, "a gift of grace." This means we, as Christians, are given a "favor" or a "special gift" to do the work of ministry on behalf of, and empowered by, our Lord Jesus Christ. In ancient Greek, it was a phrase that a conquering general, giving a gift to the people he had just conquered as a symbol of their dependence upon the conqueror, would use. We are not conquered in spirit, but our Will as a Christian becomes less as He becomes more. Thus, Gifts are also a reminder of our dependence upon Christ as Lord.
In the New Testament, the word is used to describe supernatural abilities given to people in the Body of Christ (1 Peter 4:10; 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11) as a special gift of God's grace. They are not earned by us in any way; rather, they are given graciously to us by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of ministry and God's glory.
Spiritual Gifts are one of two areas of ministry in the church. First are the "assigned offices" such as ministers, elders, deacons, etc. These are the "offices" of leadership roles (Acts 6:1-6; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5-7; 1 Timothy .3:8; 5:17; James 2:15-16). These leaders must have the appropriate gifts of leadership, as well as the Gift in their area of ministry (1 Corinthians 14: 3-40; Ephesians 4:7-16; 1 Peter 4:10-11; Hebrews 13:17), all working together in love and cooperative unity to manage His Church effectively (see,1 Corinthians 13).
The second area of ministry in the Church is the "Spiritual Gifts" that are assigned to each Believer; we all have at least one. These are the abilities to do a specific function in ministry, to glorify Christ with the display of the attributes of Christ's character and the parameters of the "Fruit of the Spirit," in a specific function that strengthens the Church. These include "pastor/teacher" for the minister, "mercy" to those who visit the sick, or "craftsmanship" for those who build the buildings. All of these Gifts synergistically build upon one another to do the operational ministry of the Church. When these Gifts are functioning as they are given to us, we become Christ's hands and feet in the world.
It is each Believer's responsibility to find, develop, and exercise the Gifts given to him/her. Some of the Gifts include leadership, teaching, pastoral care, mercy, giving... there are over twenty of them! How we are to behave and interact with one another is governed by the Spirit working through each of us with these Gifts. We must acknowledge our role in the Body; there are no lone wolves in Christ! We have a duty to fulfill, and a role to play. When we refuse to find and use our Gifts, we not only hurt ourselves, but each other and our Lord! The Church is greatly diminished, the work of the Lord given to us is left undone, and opportunities are missed!
Spiritual Gifts are alive and well in the world; to deny their existence is to deny the work of the Holy Spirit! It is comforting to deny Gifts, because then we do not have to respond to His call and duty. We can be prideful, lazy, and conceited in our outlook toward others instead. Of course, this thinking is straight from another source other than the Bible and God's call (Matthew 28)! Satan does not want you to discover your Gifts; he wants you to ignore your responsibility and nurture of one another!
Extra Ideas for Training your Leaders
Training is not just another word for discipleship. Discipleship places the emphasis on our spiritual growth, learning the Word, and the disciplines and doctrines of the faith, which are paramount for all Christians. Training is the growth and learning in the area of a task that needs to be accomplished in the church to further the Kingdom of God, such as a program, service, or need.
Training is a formal method of teaching someone what they need to know in the best and most pleasant, encouraging, and fun way possible. There are three areas for this, formal class, mentoring, and coaching. Where teaching is a formal group endeavor, and mentoring tends to be a more of an informal one-on-one, coaching bridges the gaps, because you can have specific people assigned who are experienced, and are willing to know and grow and show others. The steps for coaching involve presenting, telling, doing, and encouraging. While much can be learned in training groups and seminars, there is no better way to develop skill and interest than the one- on-one sharing of the skills and abilities than by an experienced person to a less experienced person. Therefore, all three avenues of learning are needed and beneficial. Experience has proven that it is best to have general training, one-on-one mentoring by pairing experienced people with new or less experienced people, and coaches to inspire, lead, and encourage the way, so everyone is doing his best to procure the best ministry possible.
Consider having the experienced people in your church be coaches to the inexperienced, mentoring them. Perhaps you can develop a complete program for this endeavor!
Your primary task is to involve and equip people to serve our Lord!
1. First, meet privately with the interested person, get to know him, and have him observe a working class or team. Interest can be found from personal recruitment, or evaluation from a Gift Inventory, such as seen above.
2. Make sure he fills out the Spiritual Gifts Inventory and Evaluation.
3. Have a training class. Give people an overview of the church's mission and plan-- what God has called you to do.
b. Worship time.
c. Introduce the team in place.
d. Go over mission and goals.
e. Orient them with the position; Listen to testimonies from others in that position.
f. Go over the duties and expectations.
g. Give clear examples on how to accomplish tasks.
h. Have plenty of Q & A.
i. Role-play possible scenarios.
j. Use videos, tapes, and denominational resources.
k. Go over the job description.
l. Provide resources; offer a book or two to read.
m. Have a class field trip to another similar program.
4. Personal follow-up: You and someone on the team interview them for Q & A, what is expected, etc. Have them observe the class/team again, and get feedback from them. Keep in mind a team approach, encouragement, and support. This is Christ working in you and them!
Spiritual Gifts Coaching and Training Ideas
Preparing for the training ·Analyze the skills and gifts that are needed by listing what is and what could be involved. Talk with several people who do the ministry well, ask other churches, get as much info as you can, then boil it down as simply as possible.
·Think it through, and determine the necessary steps you want the trainee to learn and do, and the priority of each. What strategies and plans are you going to develop to make the coaching meaningful?
·Demonstrate the process. Show how to lead a small group or how to be a good usher; this cannot just be learned from a lecture. Give the overview and steps, then role-play, put them to work, and come back for Q&A.
·Keep in mind that most people respond best to practical hands-on training, so make sure you are also providing learning-by-doing, making the process as interactive and hands-on as possible.
·What set of observations could you provide where the trainee can observe the skills in action to give them ideas?
·Good training and coaching involves good listening. Coaching differs from teaching in that you walk through the process with the trainee.
·Set up a library to provide reading and video resources.
·Have a good discussion with the trainee to determine his willingness and readiness for serving. Give plenty of latitude and patience for volunteers.
·Inexperienced people will need patience as they are personally led in what to do. More experienced people can learn faster by discussion, then, turned loose.
·Make sure the trainee knows he is cared for and loved! This means you need to have good eye contact and listen to the other person. Give the other person your undivided attention. Show that you care!
·Do not forget questions in your discussion and interactions. Good questions should be brief, clear, focused, relevant, constructive, open-ended, and conveyed conversationally. Start your discussion with the usual factual questions. Then move to the descriptive and explanatory questions, but do not forget to ask hypothetical questions such as, What if we did this instead? What if we added this or took away that? What then? Then move to alternative questions where the learner has to make decisions. This keeps the person thinking. Finish your questions by summarizing and clarifying them.
·Be aware that previous bad experiences by the trainee will case doubt and mistrust; so, make sure you allow them the time to process.
·Do not put too much pressure on the trainee!
· Assist them in choosing effective methods and Biblical curriculum.
·The training and coaching process should be like mentoring, and be a relational process.
·A good coach should realize when to hold people back and when to push them out of the nest to make them fly.
·Good management of people requires listening, patience, tact, and feedback. All relations with the trainee must be made sensitively, in love and encouragement! Remember, this is a process, and, as with anything, expect a "learning curve" with the people and the programs in general. It has to be practiced a number of times, thought through and talked through a number of times, and given a lot of prayer before you see the goals you desire.
·Some people learn better with linear curriculum where the steps are carefully listed. Others would rather see the big picture first and then they can easily fill in the details. It is best to have both an overview of the big picture, as well as a list of the steps, one by one.
·Encourage the trainee to ask you questions, and make sure that you listen carefully to him.
·A coach will need to come along aside the trainee or volunteer if and when they get dumped on or yelled at by an angry person. They are to be protected, and the situation needs to be resolved with love, encouragement, and affirmation.
·Be aware that when you mentor and disciple others, you will have an enormous influence on their lives! Thus, to the best of your ability, watch what you say and do, remember the character of Christ, and do your best to model Him.
·Make sure that your trainee and others sense that the goal and purpose is worthwhile and important. If not, effective ministry will not happen!
·Make sure they realize that they are part of the process of bringing the church deeper into the heart of God to worship and glorify Him!
· When the trainee gets more experience and is more comfortable, encourage him to do the task apart from your direct supervision. Never turn people loose without supervision, especially children and youth! At the same, time make sure they know that the door is open and they are welcome to ask questions. Take the initiative to follow-up, and visit the trainee in action, because many people forget or just will not ask for help.
· Make sure the trainee and volunteer can relate well to the age level they serve and lead.
·Follow up with the trainee and everyone else occasionally, asking them for feedback about their role and the program. Some questions might be, "What do you like about your assignment and the goals? What do you not like? What concerns do you have? How can we improve?" Where appropriate, ask others for similar feedback.
· Make sure you reward and celebrate individual progress as well as team progress and success. People need external support and recognition not only from the pastor, but also from people outside of their team or program. Recognition and rewards motivate people to do more and give more, but most importantly, it shows that they are cared about!
·Have a system to recruit and train leaders, coaches, and mentors. Usually, these will be volunteers who have served for several years in the ministry for which you are recruiting. Make sure these are open to and capable of learning the ministry goal distinctions and supporting the purpose of the church, as well as being committed, mature Christians, (maturity has nothing to do with age!) able to lead and manage that ministry under the goals of the church.
Make sure you check out our "Church Leadership" Channel for thousands of dollars of Church Growth and Leadership articles and helps that have taken over twenty years of research and development--offered to you for free! The other articles in our "Into Thy Word Leadership Primer" all converge and synergistically combine to help you grow your church to glorify our Lord!
"The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace." Num. 6:24-26
© 1983, 1987, revised 2001, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org