She ran across the parking lot after church one Sunday, excitedly calling my name. This young lady, a school custodian had recently accepted Christ as her Savior and become an active member of our church. The previous she read a letter and booklet we had sent to all members about serving God using their God-given talents, gifts, and passion.
As she came running excitedly across the parking lot in dress and heels I feared she was going to fall. She didn’t. Coming to a stop in front of me she exclaimed, “I never knew I could serve God by cleaning toilets!” This was the first and only time I believe, that I’ve ever seen anybody get excited about cleaning toilets. But she was.
Throughout my life, churches have had some type of emphasis (weak at times) on each member knowing his/her spiritual gifts – special gifting’s from the Holy Spirit allowing you to join God in undertaking his purpose for your life. Spiritual Gift assessments are available for individuals to discover their particular set of Spiritual Gifts. There are no less than three scripture references where these lists of spiritual gifts are derived. It is certainly well to know your spiritual gifts from God so that you can join Him in His works.
Knowing and understanding your Spiritual is not enough. Unfortunately, what I have noticed in churches who encourage congregants to complete a Spiritual Gift Assessment, little follow up is done to assist individuals in properly employing those gifts. On the individual side, I’ve noticed more people use the findings from the assessment to point out what they do not want to do: “Not me. That’s not my Spiritual Gift. You need to find someone else.” Like the hardware sales associate who, when approached by a customer says, “That’s not my department. You need to find someone else.” It’s not good business.
I am an advocate of gift-oriented ministry. And I am also a proponent/advocate for passion-driven ministry. People will serve out of their passion. The lady in the opening story did not have any post-secondary education. She was not an intellect. She knew little about much of the workings inside the church or how to serve God.
When she read the letter and the booklet, she realized all she needed was to use what she had to serve God. What she had, more than custodial experience, was PASSION. If only we all carried that same passion in using our gifts and talents for God.
Our church was in the middle of a campaign to help people connect their passion with serving God using His Spiritual gifts. The next Sunday was the culmination. At the end of the worship service, ninety-five percent of those present had committed to serving the following year passion-driven, gift-oriented ministry. Most churches consider themselves doing well if 20% are serving.
People will serve out of their passion. Think about it. I am passionate about what I am gifted to do. I am not going to be very passionate about what I am not gifted to do. Everyone is the same. We all have different giftings and talents. We use these giftings in areas where we are passionate. God brings groups of people with varying talents, giftings, and passions to serve alongside Him in His work. We call this group the local church body.
Do you know the connection between your passion and giftedness? If so, are you connecting those with ministry (serving others)? For more information contact me, George Yates.