How can recognizing spiritual gifts lift your group’s experience?
It’s easy to presume that a small group needs only one spiritual gift — leadership. In fact, there are a variety of spiritual gifts that contribute to a great meeting and group. These include:
- Administration: emails updates and keeps members’ data, including birth dates
- Hospitality: provides a restful, distraction-free setting and organizes refreshments
- Shepherd: cares for the group beyond the meeting, with caring phone calls, cards, and follow-up emails as led by the Spirit.
- Discernment: keeps sensitive to dynamics in the group as the meeting unfolds. Whose question didn’t get answered? Who made a comment that merits more consideration? Was there conflict that needs resolution?
- Teaching: has read the study material carefully, and even done some extra research. Comes prepared with strong questions that go beyond, “yes” or “no” responses, and encourages personal application and sharing.
- Friendship: invites newcomers to the group. The group should clarify (even write down) their process of welcoming newcomers to visit and join, so there are no misunderstandings about this.
- Prayer: encourages others also to pray in group, through a simple, faithful style of prayer. Caveat: prayer that is a virtuoso performance discourages others to pray aloud.
- And finally, Leading: has accountability for the group’s overall well-being and progress. The leader should ask him/herself and the group, “How is the group?” and “Where is God leading us next?” The leader should have a regular time of meeting with an accountability partner such as a pastor or point person who provides support, occasional observation of the group in action, and private feedback to the leader. The Leader should be committed to identifying and developing the gifts of others in the group (see above), including the gift of leadership.
These gifts emerge as group life grows, and should be recognized by the Leader with affirmation and authorization for the person to use his or her gift for the good of the group.