Everyone in ministry believes in spiritual gifts. Almost everyone thinks they’re important. But only a minute portion have organized a way to help people really begin intentionally working out of their giftedness. We’ve preached on gifts and offered gifts inventories or quizzes. But it isn’t enough. We need the connection that actually gets people doing it.
A System for Developing Spiritual Gifts
For that, we need two missing items. The first is having a system in place. If you are looking for how to put a strategic intentional system in place in your ministry to help people identify and use their spiritual gifts, you may want to check out these two entries on my Logan Leadership blog about how to do that:
- Helping people understand their spiritual gifts mix
- Helping launch gift-based ministries in your church
Coaching for Spiritual Gifts
The second missing item is having those personal conversations to help guide people through that system. That’s where coaching comes in. How can we take a coaching approach to become more intentional in our ministries about gifts discovery? Even if people are not in a formal coaching relationship, they can still benefit by being asked good questions that help them think about what gifts they have and how they might use those gifts. We can use a kind of coaching-lite approach with people in conversations, in discipling relationships, and in small groups to help them explore the matter.
Consider some of the following conversations…
To identify potential gifts
You can help people discern what their spiritual gifts might be by asking questions about what ministry activities they have enjoyed most and which have been most fruitful. In essence, what are they good at? Even areas where people may seem critical can provide clues to their spiritual gifts. For instance, those with the gift of mercy are often quick to point out areas where the church is falling short in providing compassion ministries for people. Because they are gifted, they tend to notice when it’s not being done well.
To discern passions
Another important area we can use coaching skills to explore is people’s passions. What people groups do they find themselves drawn to? What causes or issues feel close to their hearts? What do they really care about? Answers to questions like these provide an important piece of how people may use their spiritual gifts for Kingdom purposes.
To try out potential gifts
After these types of discovery conversations, ask people to try out some ways of using the potential gifts they’ve identified. One caveat: Scriptural commands are for all of us, regardless of giftedness. Example: “I don’t have the gift of mercy, so I’m not going to bother stopping to help someone.” Yet try to encourage people to spend at least 60% of their time in their areas of strength and giftedness, even if there is no official ministry or volunteer role associated with it.
Be sure to explore opportunities both inside and outside the local church. Rather than starting with open volunteer slots and then trying to reverse engineer people into those slots, start with the gifts and the passions. Then listen with them for what God might be calling them to do. What opportunities have they heard of? What options feel like interesting areas for exploration?
To confirm spiritual gifts
After serving in several different capacities at an exploratory level, it’s time to assess the experiences. Through coaching, you can help people reflect on their service. What worked well? What didn’t work well? What changes might need to be made?
Another important way of confirming spiritual gifts is through the Body of Christ. Encourage the person to invite feedback from their close community—ideally a small group of some kind. People in their community can be encouraged to provide feedback or observations based on what they have seen: Where they have seen impact? Where have they seen joy?
Coaching conversations like these will help people live into their callings more effectively. Their spiritual gifts and passions together inform the specific contribution that God has for them to make toward the Kingdom of God.