Let Us Know What You Think

Recently, my wife and I were enjoying table fellowship with one of our spiritual shepherds and his wife. While we were enjoying our dessert, we talked about a variety of things. One topic sort of stumped us. Perhaps this is because there is no definitive answer to the point we were pondering. Iā€™m just not sure. I do have my ideas, but would really like to know what my blogging friends think.

In view of a couple of passages like Romans 12:1-8 and 1 Peter 4:7-11, we were discussing the use of our gifts in service to God. One of us commented that it seems like many of us are reluctant to use our gifts to bless others and build up the body. We shared a few thoughts as to why this is the case. Nothing seemed definitive, though. So, I decided to request the assistance of the members of the Spiritual Oasis cyber-family. Here are three questions for you to ponder. Please let us know what you think.

– Is it common in your faith-community for members to be reluctant to utilize their giftedness to bless others and build up the body?

– If it is not the case, why do you believe it is not?

– If it is, what do you think can be done to remedy this malady?

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
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29 Responses to Let Us Know What You Think

  1. revolution says:

    I would say that reluctance in our community of Revolution is NOT common, reluctance in our community church-wide is also not very common but more common than in Revolution.

    I believe it’s not for a couple of reasons – 1. we are encouraged to use our gifts from the pulpit and in small groups and prayer groups. We’re in the charismatic tradition so it’s expected that everyone has gifts and will use them. It’s discussed and taught on often and there is great freedom for use. 2. I think Revolution doesn’t struggle with this because we are a small, intimate community that has a foundation of very strong relationships. We also work hard to draw it out of people and we are intentional about identifying gifts and allowing them to flourish.

    I think keeping numbers low actually helps tremendously with this. I also think that creating a community outside of Sunday mornings is also key.

  2. Kathy says:

    Ho boy! Move over temerous angels, here comes the one that fears not to tread. Help me LORD!

    – Is it common in your faith-community for members to be reluctant to utilize their giftedness to bless others and build up the body?

    One scenario I’ve noticed:
    It’s my experience in all types of organizations, with few exceptions be they secular or sacred [sic] – the 20%-80% rule rules. šŸ˜‰
    80% believe they know what needs to be done, but doesn’t. AND, 20% thinks they know what needs to be done and does. A vocal minority in the 80% have a well trained wagging index finger, but rarely offer constructive solutions to problems they see in what the 20% are attempting to do.
    As a result, many very gifted people are intimidated. The concern over heavy criticism, negative input will cause some to pull in their wings rather than spread their wings in ministry.

    With your permission, I’d like to answer your third question secondly.

    – If it is, what do you think can be done to remedy this malady?
    The naysayers and critics will always be there. But their negative influence can be quieted a bit by: prayer and more prayer.

    by: open recognition and promotion of ministries from the pulpit and by the leadership, asking for prayers from the congregation, instituting a prayer ministry especially aimed at praying for these individual ministries and gifted members. Also public testimonies from those aided by these ministries/ministers, thereby giving those using their gifts open protection by the church’s leaders.

    by: church-wide teaching and classes re. ‘love your brothers’ – ‘they will know you are mine by your love for one another’ – ‘if you don’t love your brother that you can see, how can you say you love God, whom you cannot see,’ et al.

    by: and only in the most extreme cases, sometimes Elders and preachers have no choice but to call the most negative, complaining ones into a closed meetings for prayer time and investigation into why the complainer is so unhappy, looking for growth not indictment.

    – If it is not the case, why do you believe it is not?
    In three of the last four congregations I’ve been a member there was success with gifted members actively using their gifts. All three had the same leadership manner: an encouraging, supportive, rather than a micromanagement style. As an example, when first I mentioned to the leadership in one church about a ministry to single parented families the response was one of, “good news, yes – bad news, you get to do it just tell us what you need from us.”

    But the basis of all this has been absolute seeking of guidance from the Holy Spirit, congregational encouragement to the gifted, recognition of their ministries, and prayer, prayer and more prayer for those that stepped out in their ministries.

    I’m not sure if that is what you’re talking about, Bill. But I’m sure many are fearful of failure, of not really being that gifted, of the above mentioned critics, other by whether their commitments to family and work leave them time to really use their gifts.

    I’d probably start by asking what are the road blocks in any given congregation to individual members feeling free to use their gifts and go from there.

    Praying.

    Kathy

  3. bill says:

    Glad you stopped by, Makeesha!

    Revolution Sounds so vibrant and alive. With respect to your comment, I think you give great insight into this discusson when you say: “we are intentional about identifying gifts and allowing thm to flourish.” This is excellent!

    Hope you have a great day tomorrow.

    Blessings,
    -bill

  4. bill says:

    Wow, Kathy! What a tremendous response. I’ll be pouring over this for a few days now, I’m sure. You are such a blessing!! Thank you so much!!! -bill

  5. Kathy says:

    Bill dear,

    I look to the gentleness of the Makeeshas to soften the cutting edges of my personality. I truly try to develop that gentle, quiet spirit we are encouraged to seek, but I still seem to be obsidian sharp sometimes.

    Makessha wrote gentle encouragement and active seeking of the gifted ones, while I foot stomped. Will I never learn?? šŸ˜¦

  6. I certainly didn’t read any foot-stomping in your comment…maybe a much-needed-exhortation to do some boot skootin’ as we get up off of our duffs and go to work, but that’s what I really like about you, Kathy…you don’t beat around the bush! šŸ™‚

    Blessings,
    -bill

  7. Kathy says:

    “boot skootin”??? LOL

    But then, I’ve never been known for reticence in speaking my “mind” [sic]. šŸ™‚ šŸ˜‰ šŸ™‚

  8. Erin says:

    I think that Christians are definitely reluctant to share their gifts. The main reason is often because we don’t take the time to study the bible and what it says about spiritual gifts so we don’t understand our own gifting and how to use it. I think it’s important for each of us to reflect on what spiritual gifts God has given us and how they can be used to bless others. I know that I don’t reflect or pray about my spiritual gifts often enough….you’ve inspired me!

  9. kdavis777 says:

    Bill, I think that we (“we” means my heritage of growing up in the conservative church of Christ) have been tremendously reluctant to even think about spiritual gifts that exist apart from a “worship” setting. Even there we have limited the spiritual gifts to things that happen in the pulpit, i.e. preaching, Lord’s supper, and the such like. To me spiritual gifts run deeper than that, but we have to learn more about that.

    At Creekside the use of spiritual gifts is encouraged. I will have to admit, however, that some don’t use their gifts. I think that our people were given a flawed view of grace from past teachers and preachers. I mean this in the sense that some, not many, of our people use the freedom of grace as an excuse to do their own thing and miss out on really serving the Lord through their gifts. I think it is getting better, but we continue to work on it.

    Another thought I had about this was the fact that life is so cluttered with business that don’t matter in the overall scheme of life, but we just won’t let go of it. This, in turn, takes much of the energy it takes to discover spiritual gifts away from us.

    I hope this adds to the discussion.

  10. Niki Nowell says:

    My intitial response would be that yes, in the churches we have worked with in the past, people were reluctant to utilize their gifts to uplift the body. One in particular was a somewhat unhealthy church and the members were too often pushed into positions of service that they were not gifted in because the spot needed to be filled. For example, I was the YM wife teaching class with my husband, leading a Girl’s Bible Study, and also part of the Stephen Ministry. I also had my hands full wrangling a toddler, yet I was told since I had a child in Bible classes I needed to take my turn teaching that age group. ?!?! I told the lady in charge that that was not my gift – that I did much better with older children which is why I was a big part of the youth ministry. She treated me like I was wimping out instead of saying something wonderful like, “Oh you are right Niki…thank you so much for giving your time to the 60+teens in our congregation…don’t worry about the little ones, they’ll be taken care of.” Extreme example, but true. So often we see a need and rush into getting it met without taking a minute to see if there is someone who is perfectly suited (read gifted) to meet that need.

    I have a few thoughts on all of this stuff.

    1. I think there is fear that if you are gifted in an area and volunteer to help with that area, the project/class/program whatever becomes your responsibility.
    2. Sometimes when you are gifted in an area it becomes your sole resposibility, and even if you LOVE what you are doing, you burn out if you get no breaks and little thanks from it for years.
    3. Certain gifts are discouraged in certain denominations if you are a woman…which I am.
    4. We get so caught up in our own lives that we forget to be proactive in meeting needs of those outside of our immediate family. Gifted or not.
    5. Often people will not volunteer to use or exhibit their gifts because they fear others might think they are “showing off” or think they are better than others. We forget that our gifts glorify God.
    6. I agree with the 80%/20% thing mentioned above.

    In our current faith community, I see people using their gifts more than churches we’ve been a part of in the past. I think the reason for that is the expectations are different, noone is guilted into serving where they are NOT gifted, and we are encouraged by the leadership that we ALL have gifts to use and should not let the opportunity to use them for others and building up the body pass us by. It’s not commanded…it’s encouraged.

  11. kristine says:

    Mustard Seed problems…kiss. keep it simple silly.
    That’s all it ever really is.

  12. In our Jesus community, we have several people who use their spiritual gifts. They do a good job and I praise them for it. But then there are those who will not because the elder comment is, “That is a great idea, you be in charge , plan it and get your help.” We used to have ministry groups that went pretty well, except it took forever for the deacon in charge to get any progects. The only one that was real active was the visitor ministry. People got tired of doing it.
    Then there are people like me who could allow people to minister with gifts such as coming over and helping me. But I am too proud, so they ask and I say I am fine. I am stopping them from being able to use their spiritual gifts. So it goes both ways. One needs to allow themselves to be ministered to, and the others have to want to. We had a ministry gifts assessment years ago. It just always seems to be dragged out and people start leaving the groups. Maybe small groups could work on a project once a month and find a need and use all the talents togther?

  13. kristine says:

    gracious oasis. hugs…and lots of them…you have to make them laugh.

  14. Dee Andrews says:

    Is it common in your faith-community for members to be reluctant to utilize their giftedness to bless others and build up the body?

    I think members in the past two fellowships I was in over the past 11 or 12 years felt very open about utitlizing their spiritual gifts to the benefit of all, both inside and outside “the body.” Where we’ve landed now, I don’t find that as evident, but then I’ve not been here yet for very long and it takes a while to take a measure of a group in whatever setting, faith-community or otherwise. So I cannot yet speak with full authority concerning this present fellowship.

    If it is not the case (for members to be reluctant to use their spiritual gifts), why do you believe it is not?

    I don’t know that I can add an further insights into those excellent ones already given as to all of the questions you ask, Bill. The last two faith-communities I was part of had several things in common, I think, so I can comment on those. They were both relatively “young” groups in a number of ways. They both had younger leaders (shepherds), ministers and members who had lived a lot of different places and who were forward/progressive thinking. Both faith-communities were relatively mobile in nature, which I think added to their diversity of thinking and ways of serving God.

    Both groups were willing as groups to try and to experience new and different ways of doing things, not just going along with how things “had always been done” or thinking in “the old ways” alone. Some traditions were still very much in evidence, but a lot of new ones were being created, including trying to include each and every member in ways best suited to each of their personalities.

    I found these groups to be very real, relavent and vibrant. They were willing to morph and change as circumstances and members came and went and changed.

    The fellowship I’m now part of, on the other hand, has been more of a static, old-line, traditional work that is not nearly as open to change in any form, from ways of thinking to traditions to encouraging members to seek out and use their God given abilities and talents – their spiritual “gifts.” That is what I have observed and experienced so far over the past six months.

    If it is (the case for members to be reluctant to use their spiritual gifts), what do you think can be done to remedy this malady?

    First, we must all become aware that we each have been given certain spiritual gifts. And I don’t think it’s necessarily (or even at all) a matter of not “knowing the Bible” or what the Word says. It’s a matter of becoming aware and being made to be aware of the Word’s application to us personally, as individual members of the body. That is a different matter than not knowing in prinicipal or theory what the Bible says. It is a matter of someone with enough insight to recognize what the Bible MEANS to us each as individuals and then teaching us a better way. It’s a matter of spiritual education and becoming MATURE in the Word.

    This can and will happen in more churches I think when more mature people in these things spend more time with those less spiritually educated and informed as to how to apply the lessons they may have read and studied over and over and over for years without understanding the application to their own lives.

    That’s how I see it for the most part. A lot of other factors can enter into each individual group and life and dynamic, but I mainly see it as a matter of education and enlightenment. That is something I’ve been seriously thinking about trying to engage myself in right here in Picayune beginning in Bible classes I’m in and perhaps all of the ladies of the congregation (whoever I can reach through holding short “seminars” and/or ladies’ days and/or ladies’ Bible classes). I want to try to generate a different and new way of thinking among these women by showing them that they, as an individual Christian woman in whatever setting they are in in their life, can share and encourage and lift up others by their works, whatever they are called “TO BE.”

    I don’t know how else to create changes here but to start by showing and sharing “a more excellent way” with others around me one on one. I’m also trying to encourage the elders here as much as possible to hire a minister who can and will help to lead this congregation forward to new and better ways. (Y’all please pray for the church here, it’s leaders – and me – in these things as they are critical to whether this church survives in the end or not. Seriously.)

    Those of us who know better need to do everything in our power to help those behind us come along. To teach. To edify. To encourage. To be positive. To not expect cookie cutter results or to promote cookie cutter ideals. (I was pretty much raised in that mode, never fit the mold and it doesn’t work. I was miserable all the way around in all I tried to do for the Lord.)

    I hope I’ve said at least one thing or two that has been helpful to you here, Bill. Let us know your thoughts and y’alls plans for change and encouragement of the body of saints to better utilize their spiritual gifts.

  15. Bill says:

    Hello to all who’ve commented thus far. I’m just checking in here after a busy day and won’t take the time to make follow-up comments tonight. I do want you to know, however, that your comments are deeply appreciated. I’ll be poring over them during the next few days. There are still a couple of folks that I’m hoping will weigh in on this topic. I do know how busy everyone is, though.

    Grace and peace to you all,
    -bill

  16. Greg England says:

    In our spiritual heritage (as has been pointed out), there had to be some teaching and permission granting to even acknowlege there are spiritual gifts today! At Long Beach, we’ve taught and encouraged the use of giftedness and now even build our ministries around people’s giftedness … yet, there are still far too many people who do not express their gifts or are very reluctant to do so. Why? For the most part, they seem to think it would be somewhat pompous or arrogant to “brag” (though that would not be the case) about their gift.
    I think, too, there has been a ton of wrong teaching about giftedness. We tend to teach the gifts and then have people take inventories to determine their gift. Usually this tends to only surface people’s interests (IMHO) rather than giftedness. In Scripture, I find God gifting people for a specific ministry or task and often the gift had little, if anything, to do with a person’s interest. Some of them even came kicking and protesting (can we all say “Moses”?).
    But we’re trying very intentionally to build ministry (being a freeway church with almost no one living in the community in which our facility is located) around giftedness.

  17. kreyes says:

    Wow! Our pastor just spoke on I Peter 4:7-11 today!!! We are currently in a process he calls the greenhouse project: we want to be a church that is a greenhouse – encouraging, nurturing and feeding the congregation so that their gifts may grow and become mature to serve the world at large – however the Lord has designed them to serve.

    We don’t want to be a ‘warehouse’ church – with a bring room full of ‘ministries’ stacked on shelves, gathering dust and not doing much of anything else….

    I think people are reluctant for a variety of reasons: fear, lack of self-knowledge, personality, lack of desire….a kingdom principle states that to serve involves some sort of sacrifice. This is difficult to do and/or encourage in a culture whose people are so BUSY with other activities.

    For me personally, I entered a season in which I actively went and sought to serve, yet God also met me half-way…..as though just my willingness was all He needed to place me in a spot where He knew my gifts would be used to the fullest and I would get that feeling of joy in serving despite the extra effort it takes me. I can say that the spot was definitely NOT the one I had my eye on – but has fulfilled me in ways I could never have dreamed on my own! We serve such a loving God – who MADE us – who KNOWS us – each gift and talent…….I believe we just need to meet Him half-way with a heart that desires…..and a church environment that welcomes, nourishes, encourages and feeds those desires….!

    peace+
    kreyes

  18. preacherman says:

    I believe that as the church of Christ as a whole has been reluctant to use their gifts to build up the body of Christ. Imagine how many fewer splits their would be and fights and fusses if Christians look out for others and used their gifts and talents to edify the church. Imagine if the energy towards disagreements was used towards gifts to build up the body of Christ. I think one way I personally have help my congregation is teach and preach on how everyone has gifts and talents that they can use to build up the body. Preaching on the church as a family, community and unity has help our church in so many ways.
    I believe we in the past have taught that just the men have had talent, just that those who are up front during worship is special, elders, teachers. Each person has a talent. Man, women, child. God uses each and everyone of us to make a difference for the kingdom.
    Imagine what the kingdom would be like if each person came to church with the attitude of I am going to encourage two people today. I am going to leave doing something for two people this week to make their week better. I am going to look for doors of opportunity.

  19. Charlie says:

    Bill – What great questions. Your heart for seeing the citizens of the kingdom use their gifts to work for the kingis inspiring —

    Youe questions –

    Reluctance? I believe the 80-20 rule is apparent sothis may be more just a practical reality of how God made humans. I’m not sure reluctance is the right word. Unable may be better – some are unable because they do not know what their gifts are, some are unable because they are discouraged because they have been lead to believe everyone should be able to do (almost) everything (especially this is true in evangelism – we fail to see that all gifts used properly are are both edifying & evangelistic in nature — and we guilt and discourage people who aren’t gifted directly in engaging others in spiritual conversations and Bible study ). People realize quickly that they can’t do everything and often in frustration they spin their wheels and do nothing, some are unable because they have been “put down” and discouraged when they tried –so they like turtlespull in their head. Some are unablebecause they are unwilling, some because they haven’t been equipped, some because they haven’t been “empowered” — so manyreasons.

    What to do? Well I can’t think of anything missed in the prior answers other than to say it isn’t “one size” fits all — Leaders need to get get in the “kneesunder the table” eencounters with those folks to discover waht is holding them back and then they need to “plug” that person in to the right type of “equipping” that removes the obstacles. When that has been done and thereis still unwillingness to stp up — we need to have that “heart-to-heart” that says “If you refuse to do the works that you were created in Jesus to do (Eph. 2:10) — you might want to ask why you actually believe that you have been saved by faith — because your faith — which will work (see James) isn’t apparent. At thatpoint we have to keep praying and teaching but I wouldsuggest that leaders should then place their focus and energy on those that are convicted and are engaging — and leave the rest to God’s spirit to see if the “unwilling” might somehow someway become convicted of the need to “get out of the pews and into the streets”

    God Bless
    Charlie

    p.s. With your permission — I’m copying this stuff into one of my files so I can develop a “position”paper to guide our leadership here on how we might “intentionally” address this problem.

  20. Angie says:

    Shame on me for staying away from the Oasis for so long! Bill, you really know how to get us going!

    I’ll answer this with a confession:

    I’m a tease. No, that’s not my gift… šŸ™‚ I tease the church with my gifts. I always leave them wanting more. I want so badly to just dive in, but individualism and selfishness wins out too often. Sadly, this allows people to fall through some very big cracks.

    Can you imagine what it would be like if we all decided to just live it?! Closer to heaven…

    May God get all the glory for everything we do and fill in the gaps for everything we don’t…

    You’re a good man, Bill…
    Ang

  21. Mag says:

    Great conversation! Spiritual gifts inventories done in discipleship classes help people see how God has gifted them, and is “SHAPING” then for service. Purpose Driven Life does:
    S: spiritual gifts
    H: heart
    A: attitude/aptitude
    P: personality
    E: experience

    He explains how all these allow people will similar giftings to look and act differently.

    Taking gifts tests when I was 34-15, 25, and 30s, I see how primary gifting stay “on top”, but application shifts so much so that burn out is less likely.

    Learning “balance”–how to keep good spiritual health helps me fight burn out.

    Learning “relationships” helps me trust people with certain gifts…know their heart, and know when to defer some problems to them (they are “specialized”).

    Less focus on “my gift”…and more focus on responsive obedience…listening to God, obeying, hearing his voice, learning his truth: these make me well equipped for any situation, no matter whether I “know what my gift is” or not.

    I love the verse that says “And God’s grace abounds to you so that at all times, having all that you need, you may abound in every good work.”

    Most of the fatigue, laziness, and griping in the body has, in my opinion, more to do with ineffective disciples in general than with a problem with spirtual gifts. There is a problem with “spirituality” and body life as a whole when complainers dominate the landscape.

    Often, complaining has dominated churches I’ve been part of when the leader has not adequated “dreamed” and “visioned” for the body. With a lack of vision…people become bored and talk too much in general!

    Our pastor keeps our tasks so big that everyone is needed from the young to the older…there is an important and crucial place for everyone. Complaining still happens, but because God’s work is being done, it doesn’t dominate the landscape.

    I miss “smaller” small groups. I agree with statements above as to the critical importance of learning in those settings. Without those I would show no personal initiative to go lay hands on the sick or needy. Because I’ve been ministered to often in that way in the past (though having three young kids keeps me out of those groups as much now), I am more inclined to meet needs myself.

    Nurtured people learn to nurture. Isn’t that what gifts are about? Feeding sheep?

    Great thoughts,
    Mag

  22. Mag says:

    sorry for the typos…quite under the weather lately!

    blessings–

  23. Niki Nowell says:

    I’ve been thinking about this all weekend and came back to add another thought only to read that a few others had the same thought. I think there are a lot of people who don’t think they have a special giftedness and therefore don’t believe they have anything to offer. I also wanted to add that I’m still not sure the best route to go about changing all of this. I think it depends on the faith community in question and how they operate. BUT, I do think we need to start young with the message that EVERYONE is gifted and that our gifts are not for us, but to serve others. The message needs to be steady from infancy to death. It’s a given that we are to use our gifts to build up the body of Christ, but I also think sometimes it’s our gifts and serving THE WORLD that God uses to draw some people to Himself.

    Great discussion!

  24. Nick Secula says:

    I believe there is reluctance to use giftedness but why that is the case may prove a bit more complicated then to say A and B cause C. There are many factors that go into it but a lack of knowledge and lack of persoanl evolvement I would think are two of the more dominant pieces of the puzzle.

    Of course we may be able to pick out those who are charged not only with the past reality, (of a lack in display and acceptance of this giftedness) but more imporant those responsible to be at the ground level of the solution if we read through Ephesians 4:11ff.

    I haven’t gotten a chance to read through all the comments here but will certainly do so I’m sure there is a lot of good thoughts.

  25. Royce Ogle says:

    I have been in at least 5 or 6 seminars, or series of messages about the discovery and use of spiritual gifts. In fact, I have taught on the subject myself. To this day I have not seen any of those seminars or studies noticably change anyone’s ministy.

    Whoever first taught that one needs to know what his or her spiritual gifts are in order to make use of them did not get that idea from the Bible. Had someone asked one of the Christians in the months after Pentecost, “What are your spiritual gifts?”, he would likely have looked at you like you were nuts. We must take into account that folks were using their spiritual gifts years before the writings of Paul and Peter were penned.

    I contend that all of those who are surrendered to Christ and are walking in the Spirit will use their giftedness even if they never know what their gifts are. The secret to usefullness in the work of the Lord is not knowing but doing. And, I seriously doubt that some lazy bones Christian who is not Christ centered is going to discover what his or her gifts are anyway.

    It is very easy to get the cart before the horse. Surrender your heart and life to the Lord for His use and those gifts will flourish in service to Him.

    Grace and Peace,
    Royce Ogle

  26. Bill,
    In my church, we are just beginning to move in the gifts again. From what I’ve heard (I’ve only been there 3 months), there has been a long drought as far as gifts.
    In my personal experience, people are reluctant to move in the Spirit due to pride (fear of being mocked), and doubt as to the Spirit actually desiring to use them. This can be overcome by learning how the Spirit moves, why the Spirit moves, and when the Spirit moves.
    In my own case, I am the quiet type, so it took the Spirit awhile to get me to obey. Yet, once I knew it was actually the Holy Spirit, I had no problem with obeying. Now, I am intimate with the Holy Spirit. I know His voice. I know when He wants me to do or say something, and I do it without hesitation. Once, others see someone else bold enough to do it, then it becomes contagious. God then moves freely, without hesitation because there is liberty.

  27. Donna says:

    I wonder if we do not have a wrong sense of humility. We think that to express what our strengths are is somehow being prideful, like we really can control what we are gifted with. When we understand that our strengths are Gifts we will feel a responsibility to use them.

    However, we must develop a heart for being Christ to the world before we care….I am afraid too many of our number selfishly do not care….

    Am I being too harsh?

  28. Bill says:

    What a blessing it is that so many have stopped by to comment on this topic. Thank you so much! Lord willing, I’ll be posting some follow-up thoughts in the next couple of days. -bill

  29. Nan says:

    Wow Bill, what interesting questions. I agree with many of the already comments made. I can add a few personal ones though. When God is pushing me to do something, my mind says no, but my heart and spirit usually follows what he wants me to do. I am a layspeaker. Although I don’t volunteer to preach I am still asked to do so once in a while. This past Sunday I preached the early service at another church. Since I don’t have a lot of confidence I wasn’t especially pleased with how it went. But I received so many compliments I know I did well. At the later service at my home church a lady stood up and said she had heard how well I did. Others who had been there shouted out also. So in this instance it is a confidence problem.

    I started a women’s group at our church. Taught the teen Sunday school class for a few years, and God has called me to do other things as well. But the confidence is just not there. And believe me I have prayed and prayed over it.

    Our church is a small teaching church and we have lost many members through death, etc., in the last 8 years. It seems that it is always the same ones who make the commitment to what needs to be done, especially for special occasions or services. I don’t see any changes coming any time soon.

    There is also a problem with change. When new people come and express any kind of change or ideas they are pretty much ignored. Honestly, I don’t see our church growing and eventually it may die a silent death.

    Nan

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