When was the last time you were asked to do something at church? How did you respond? Your response to being asked makes less of a statement about your commitment to the church than many leaders would want you to think. If you ask me to fulfill a task in which I have been spiritually gifted to do, you will not have to beg me to do it. The worst enemy to this desire is the distraction of other opportunities.
I love to teach. When I was saved at age 19, I did not receive a grand revelation that I was going to be used by God to teach His Word. There was a need in a youth ministry for a teacher and someone asked me to give it a try. A church leader saw something in me and was prompted by the Holy Spirit to extend the offer. Eighteen years later, my passion for teaching is ever-growing.
How did Joe know? A mentor named Joe saw something. Why did he choose me? He had a hunch. He had never heard me teach before (nobody had). But, he had full confidence that God would use me.
Professional sports scouts look for what are called "intangibles." These are qualities of a player that cannot be taught. Training can make a player faster and stronger. What makes a player special is not his speed but his character on and off the field of play.
Christians have something that makes each believer special. We have the Holy Spirit and He has given us a gift for ministry. Our spiritual gift is the tool we need to play our position on the team (the Body of Christ). When church leaders help a believer discover his or her gift, ministry becomes a real blessing. The believer serves with joy and effectiveness. In my research on the link between ministry roles and spiritual gifts (see my first blog, "Key to Ministry #1," for an explanation of the research) most of the project participants explained (without prompting) that they began a fruitful and joyful ministry when they were asked by a ministry leader. They did not seek the position, but were asked. For example, one participant has taught 1st Grade boys for over 50 years at the same church! Praise God for the pastor who had that kind of wisdom. This is the second key to ministry: Church leaders must ask people to serve.
My question to ponder for today is this: How can church leaders increase their ability to know who to recruit for ministry positions?