By Joel Comiskey
Are you convinced that the cell group is the best place to discover and use spiritual gifts? If so, you need to take your belief to the next level and help the cell members discover their spiritual gifts. Here are a few tips:
- Get the cell members to read the Biblical gift passages from the stand point of the early house churches. Remind them that the early believers discovered and used their spiritual gifts in this context.
- Assign them a book or free internet article on the spiritual gifts. Members won’t think about their own spiritual gifts if they don’t understand what spiritual gifts are. There are various experts and outstanding books about spiritual gifts (e.g., Wagner, Schwarz, Bugbee, etc.). I’ve wrtten two books on this topic: The Spirit-Filled Small Group: Leading Your Group to Experience the Spiritual Gifts and Discover. My books are unique in that they teach spiritual gift discovery from the context of the cell group.
- Observe what members volunteer to do in the group. Does Janie offer to bring refreshments and even stay around to clean up afterwards? Does Todd volunteer his car when someone is moving? Most likely Janie and Todd have the gifts of helps and service (Schwarz discovered that 81% of the time the same person has both gifts).Your job is to point out what you see. Go to the person and tell him or her what you have observed.
- Inquire about what brings them joy. Most of the time, spiritual gift use is accompanied by desire, passion, and joy. Yes, there are the rare exceptions (e.g., Jeremiah’s gift of prophesy which was a burden), but the rule is that people find pleasure in exercising their spiritual gifts. I agree with Greg Ogden in The New Reformation, “The central clue to discovering our spiritual gifts is to get in touch with the spheres of service that produce a flow of inner joy, excitement and energy.”
- Find opportunities for people to use their spiritual gifts within the cell context and later in the celebration. Have you noticed that Mary has the gift of evangelism? Give her opportunities to plan the next cell outreach. Does Joe have the gift of mercy? Ask him to call a sick member or accompany you while visiting someone in the hospital.
I challenge you this next week to practice at least one of these five points. In the next month, try to practice all five of them.