Are you good at everything? I’m not. Like everyone, I have strengths and weaknesses.
I spent many of my years in ministry trying to fulfil a role for which I was not really all that well-suited. I was like a square peg in a round hole. There are many reasons for this, but one reason is that there was no-one to help me recognize my true calling and learn to function in it. That’s why I am so excited about the opportunity to work with small group leaders on how to identify and cultivate the natural and spiritual gifts of the people in their small groups.
As a leader, it’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that what comes naturally to you should come naturally to everyone. When you are flowing in your gifts, ministry is a pleasure, but when you are trying to imitate what someone else is good at, and operating in their gifts instead of your own, you have a recipe for frustration. Of course, there’s a learning process in developing your natural gifts, and a somewhat different sort of learning process in learning to cultivate the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. In both cases, a certain amount of trial and error is inevitable. But when you are learning to develop your gifts, along with the trial and error there is the joy of discovery. By contrast, when you’re trying to do something that you just aren’t “wired” for, it can be very discouraging.
We all want our small groups to succeed. Usually you will have a mix of people in your group with a variety of gifts. Some of those gifts will be latent, undeveloped and perhaps even unrecognized. Others will be in various stages of development. My dream is to see small groups that have an appropriately challenging vision, faith for that vision, and a team that is functioning well together, where each member has something to contribute and is operating in his or her gifts. Can we get there? I believe we can, or at least take steps in that direction. I’m excited about the possibilities!