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Identifying Your Gifts and Service

Identifying Your Gifts and Service is a workbook that I wrote, which is published by my publishing company, Energion Publications. I’m going to write here about how to use that workbook effectively in helping church members understand their spiritual gifts and put them to use in support of the church’s mission.

Identifying Your Gifts and Service provides the materials for a six session (50-60 mins) Spirit-guided program of exploring spiritual gifts. It can be used in a small group or a whole congregation, but will be most effective when used with the support of the congregation’s leadership. One element of the program is an opprotunity for each student to discuss his or her gifts and calling with appropriate representatives of the church leadership in order to find a place of service in the local congregation.

The program works in the following stages:

Introduction: Depending on the prior preparation of the congregation, it may be useful or even necessary to conduct a basic class in spiritual gifts prior to starting the program. A good procedure for this is to study 1 Corinthians 12-14 (don’t skip chapter 13!) along with parallel material in Romans 12:6-8 and Ephesians 4:9-16. There are handouts on the major scriptural spiritual gifts provided in the manual. These are useful for review whether or not you choose to precede the gifts program with a study of the gifts.

The program itself can be divided into six sessions:

  1. Spirit Led Ministry
    This session introduces the concept of Spirit led ministry, unified under the guidance of the one Spirit. You will revisit 1 Corinthians 12-14 and Galatians 6:22-26 and learn about fruit, gifts, and offices. There is a handout in the manual based on a Power Point presentation. This session can be split based on time, depending on how long it takes to present and discuss the material. (All Power Point presentations are available on CD from Energion Publications.)
  2. Identifying Your Gifts
    This session deals with listening to the Holy Spirit and the role of the Spirit in giving and revealing gifts. The importance of listening is emphasized. A Power Point presentation is available, and the slide handouts are included in the manual.
  3. Small Group Sessions I – Gifts:
    Two exercise involve the students in helping one another identify their spiritual gifts.
  4. General or Small Group Session – Gifts Survey:
    This survey is designed to stimulate thinking about gifts and the ministries in which one can use them. This is not a scientific gifts survey to be used to determine what gifts each person has, but a “thinking tool.”
  5. Small Group Sessions II – Service:
    The students discuss in a structured way how their gifts and calling can fit into the mission of the church. Members are urged to keep the church’s mission statement handy to remind themselves of the vision of their congregation.
  6. Christian Mentoring:
    Optional, but strongly recommended. This session deals with how to guide others into the use of their gifts in service and do so in a Christlike way. The emphasis is on empowering others to work under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in unity with the body of Christ. A Power Point presentation is provided and slide handouts are in the book.

The book includes the contents of a number of the Participatory Study Series pamphlets on spiritual gifts. Before I prepared this workbook, I used to use these pamphlets as handouts. It is much more convenient to have a single manual that contains all handouts in addition to adequate space to take notes. So that you can review the philosophy on which the manual was based, here are the links to online versions of the pamphlets that are included.

As noted on the Participatory Study Series web site, all of these pamphlets are available to download free of charge and permission is given there for you to print copies as you need them. If you don’t have a printer, you can order them from us, but that is not normally the most economical way to get them.

Also, at the moment we are offering this class at Gonzalez United Methodist Church. Reports are on the Pacesetters Bible School news blog, and the most recent report is from 3/22/06.

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