Ministry is really not rocket science nor is it complex. At least it does not have to be. Over the last few years, I have read a couple of bookshelves worth of books on church leadership. Everyone has a theory about how to get people involved in ministry and how to keep them there. There are no lack of strategies and advice in the Christian bookstore.
What if the process is very simple? What if God just gave us a gift for ministry and then provided a place for us to use this gift to edify the church? What if He made this experience more gratifying and joy-filled than anything else we could do? What if the Holy Spirit would take this effort and make it fruitful and effective? This is exactly
what happens when a Christian discovers his or her spiritual gift and chooses to yield to the Spirit's leading in how to use this gift!
I have had the pure joy of interviewing participants in a ministry project that I am conducting for the last few months. These are church members from a variety of churches who have been serving in a particular ministry area for no less than a decade. The pastors of the churches recommended the participants because these members met a strict criteria that included service with a high degree of joy and effectiveness. The responses to my questions have provided me with a simple theory. The research questions include: what do these people have in common (as far as their ministry experience) and what can be beneficial information for the recruitment of others in ministry service?
Ninety-two percent of the project participants responded that their spiritual gift was an important part of their ministry service. More than half stated that their spiritual gift was critical (many used the words "hand in hand"). I must say that, prior to this research, I had heard very little about spiritual gifts. I found the topic to be confusing and complex. Not to mention controversial. For so many years I have recruited people to fill ministry positions without the slightest thought that they might not be gifted for the ministry role. No wonder I have spend countless hours in frustration because people would quit shortly after their orientation (or worse, stay in the position out of duty but lack any passion or ability to do the tasks).
The key to ministry is that we (church leaders) have to help people discover God's plan. We need to teach about spiritual gifts. We need to be willing and ready to counsel members who are seeking God's will. We must make the discovery of spiritual gifts a forefront topic in our recruitment for ministry position. Why else would the Spirit give gifts?
Question to ponder for today: How did you discover your spiritual gift? (Feel free to leave a comment)