* Scroll down for spiritual gifts poll *
Since our discussion started on “Local Ordination” I’ve been thinking about gift discernment. One of my favorite “Church Books” is The Equipping Church. The executive summary is that gift discernment is an essential part of how we help people fit into our congregations and find their personal ministry, be it in our congregations or out in the larger world.. Through this process we help people live meaningful, challenging and rewarding lives.
Many of our congregations are not intentional about this. I personally like to integrate it into our small group ministries. As for the ordination question, how we go about this strikes me as critical issue.
I see many people starting to move along the “Become a Parish Minister” track because they want to serve our faith more than part time and would ideally like serving to be their livelihood.
Right now the default path is too much like the game Candyland where each turn you move forward with there only being one valid, valued and respected path — to parish ministry and ordination.
And like Candyland, many wonderful and horrible things can happen along the way….
Whoops! You got a mediocre score from the MFC, go back two spaces to “study Theology.”
You’re called to be a part time Youth Minister, go directly to seminary, accumulate debt and say goodbye to your UU dreams.
Shouldn’t there be many more wonderful ministry destinations? Maybe our lack of those destinations is one reason we’re in decline. If people can’t use their gifts to the fullest, they go elsewhere. And our congregations suffer. Any of you understaffed? Having trouble finding volunteers?
What are your Spiritual Gifts?
Below is a quick poll listing many time-honored spiritual gifts. These are compiled from several Christian online gift inventories. I’ve pulled out the gifts of celibacy, speaking in tongues and others that seem less relevant for UUs.
Gifts discernment within our system?
I’d love to learn more about how gifts discernment is integrated into admission to UU seminaries, the UUA’s fellowshipping process, and ordination by our congregations. I know there is a psych evaluation, but is there gifts discernment?