(click for photo credit)

(click for photo credit)

This weekend I was honored to preach at the Summit’s Brier Creek Campus. I’m taking a few days this week and unpacking some further ideas from the message. I do this because (a) I’m a pretty lazy blogger and don’t feel like thinking up new stuff this week and (b) I had more stuff I wanted to say this weekend, but not enough time to say it (doggone you, countdown clock!). If you get the notion, you can listen to the entire message here

Maybe you grew up in a church like mine, where your pastor preached a 147 week series a couple of times a year on how to discover your spiritual gift, with an exhaustive explanation on everything from prophecy to prayer and teaching to tongues (scratch that, Baptists don’t do tongues). And maybe, like me, you spent more than your fair share of years wondering exactly what your spiritual gift was. It was like Christmas every time you took another spiritual gifts test: “I hope I get discernment this time! I’ll bet it’s discer…aw man! Celibacy again!”

I think our spiritual gifts quests can be misguided at times. We spend so much energy trying to pinpoint exactly what our gift is, we unnecessarily  delay the way in which God wants to use us. We’re so busy filling out surveys that we’re not actually serving.

Paul gives us a four-word commandment in Romans 12:6: “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…

That’s it. Just use them. But use what? Because let’s face it, if you can’t piece together an outline and people fall asleep when you speak, you might not have the gift of teaching. If you’ve never put together a to-do list and constantly misplace your left shoe, administration might not be your bag.

Here’s how to figure out how God has wired you and what your spiritual gift is: jump in. Do something. Serve in some small way, and let God illuminate you as to whether it’s something you should keep doing.

Not good enough for you type-A people? Oh, alright. Here’s a list of questions you can ask yourself as you’re serving:

  1. Am I passionate about what I’m doing? It’s going be hard to work with kids if you’re scared of kids. Or worse yet…if they’re scared of you.
  2. Do others affirm this as a gift? What do people in your small group, friends in your circle, co-servants on your team say about your service? They may be the best ones to help you spot your strengths or weaknesses.
  3. Is my service pointing others to Jesus? There’s a huge difference between self-glorifying talent and humble, gospel-driven service. Make sure you’re building God’s kingdom, not your own.
  4. Does my service lead me to Jesus? I believe that when we’re serving out of our giftings, we’re truly engaging in worship.

So that’s it. Just serve. Jump in. Explore a few ministries until you find one that you think you’re cut out for. Try out your church’s guest services team. Park a few cars or open a few doors and see if that sticks. Or volunteer in the kids’ ministry. Or sign up to serve in the downtown shelter or go on a short term mission trip or…you get the picture.

If you attend the Summit and still aren’t sure what’s out there, you might start here.

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