Over recent months we have seen how valuable it can be to identify the elements of someone’s personality, gifting and availability in determining how they may best serve in the church. But how do we apply this practically?

Holy Spirit leading
First, and most important, what is the Holy Spirit saying to an individual? It would be easy to become somewhat administrative in trying to identify someone’s ‘best fit’ for serving but that should not be the first route of discovery. Administration can be vulnerable to focusing on the task before the individual. The danger of this is that one can just be looking for volunteers to get a job done. I hate this! Hearing leaders ask for volunteers to get a job done tells me that they are more concerned about the task than about the individual, and the need to help that individual develop his or her potential. Of course, this is acceptable for a ‘one off’ job, but not for a sustained ministry like teaching the children.

Some need help to get started
Nevertheless, some people, particularly younger believers, do need helping along this journey of discovery. We shall look at some systematic ways of helping such people to identify suitable areas of service, but this must always be in an atmosphere of prayer. God can reveal to a person where he wants them to serve and this is the best way forward; we are all called to walk in obedience.

Loving support
We give this support in the context of a relaxed meeting for perhaps an hour between the church member and two people who can help draw out from an individual what the key issues are. It should be a very positive time and unhurried. Through discussion and praying together, asking God for direction, we often see people released to be what God intended them to be, finding a satisfying and fulfilling place to serve.

This meeting takes place after people have attended the Discover and Serve course. Through this course people can learn about the different aspects we have been considering in this series such as the place of spiritual gifts in serving; teaching helps achieve this. The same is true of all aspects of the Serving Profile we have been developing; people’s faith needs to be raised to recognise that everyone has a place to serve and this course helps them on their journey of discovery.

No exceptions
Serving is something we are all called to do. As we have seen earlier there should be no passengers in the church or, to mix the analogy, since we are all soldiers in an army and are on active duty there should be no lying around on our bunks because we do not feel like getting involved!

Having established that this is a spiritual exercise we will look next time at some practical ways of helping people think about their particular circumstances based on what we have been looking at in earlier sections.

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