#000000;”>This past Saturday the Session of Christ Presbyterian Church met for a leadership development activity. I call it this because it didn’t fit into my definition of a retreat. After all, we were in the church building and were not removing ourselves from our normal reality to a place of respite or retreat. Instead, it was an interesting time of discovery and discussion.
We talked about three major topics: Spiritual Gifts, transformational ministry and how our congregation’s taskforce leadership style works. All of these discussions were first and foremost intended to deepen the spirituality of the individual members of the session. I began by telling them that, unlike many leadership meetings, we were not going to produce anything. Our intention was to immerse ourselves in the Spirit and build spiritual community, not a new mission statement or bullet points to prove we had a productive day.
My intention in focusing on Spiritual Gifts in particular was to help our leaders better tune their hearts to the Spirit. We are often reminded that in the church, “God qualifies the called not calls the qualified.” This reminds us that our common and individual ministries are not of our own design, and success is not dependant upon us but are of and from God. As a leadership council that is seeking to connect our congregations members and friends with their individual spiritual passions, it is critical that we remember that it is the work of God’s Spirit that is our guide.
In this time after Easter it is easy for us to marginalize the Spirit in our religious life. We ultimately find it easier to cling to the risen Christ than the seemingly elusive experience of the Spirit. Christ reminds us to not do this. Rather, he reminds us that the Spirit is sent to us as a companion. The Spirit is that presence of God in our lives that moves along with us. Through that presence we receive Spiritual Gifts. In 1 Corinthians, chapter 12, verse seven, we are reminded, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” What are these manifestations of the Holy Spirit? In our time together, we identified the Spiritual Gifts directly from the Bible (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12;8-10 and 28, Ephesians 4:11) and then grouped them into seven general Spiritual Gifts categories used by the online Spiritual Gifts survey that each Elder had completed prior to our session. Those Gifts are: Prophet, Leader, Exhorter, Teacher, Server, Giver and Mercy. During our discussions of their individual results, many were surprised as to what was identified as their top three Spiritual Gifts. Nonetheless, it was helpful to look deeper into what their gifts are and how they work together.
One interesting and Spirit-confirming discovery was that all seven Spiritual gifts identified in the online survey were represented on our Session. To me that is confirmation that God led our nomination taskforce to call upon people who complement and complete each other spiritually. This reality is not only true for those whom God has called through the voice of our congregation to leadership, but is also true for our whole congregation. “To each is given a manifestation of the Spirit.” Paul doesn’t say to some or to the leaders, but to each… ALL.
This leads us to the question, “What Spiritual Gift are you empowered with?” “What do you have from the Spirit that is needed to contribute to the common good?” “What do you bring to the Body of Christ through the Spirit?” Remember, I didn’t ask you if you bring a gift, but instead, what do you bring? I have no doubt that God has blessed each of us with a Spiritual Gift, it is our calling to use them. To that end, I would like to ask everyone in our congregation to complete the Spiritual Gifts inventory by following the link below. Once you have completed it, please print it and review your results. I would also ask that you send me your Spiritual Gifts Scores that are found at the end of the report.
Our goal as a Session is to connect our members and friends with the ministries that both need and employ their Spiritual Gifts. Sharing your Spiritual Gifts scores with the Session will be a helpful tool in reaching this goal.