Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Prayer is a Key

We all are very much aware of the importance of prayer in the life of a believer. I have often thought that one of the most challenging aspects of a pastor's ministry to the congregation is helping those in the pews understand the importance of prayer in their personal lives as well as in the life of the congregation and the Church in general. I am convinced that we have no idea just how important prayer really is in the spiritual realm.

Anyway, I saw this offer for a free booklet on "Pivotal Praying" from John Maxwell and the Injoy ministry that looks like a resource every pastor ought to get and read through... for the sake of your own prayer life as well as that of your congregation's.


Friday, December 7, 2007

Spiritual Gifts

One topic that is a recurring one for those in church leadership is that of spiritual gifts and how to help people discover what their gift(s) are and how to put them to best use in the church. After being actively involved in church ministry as a layperson for many years now, as I look back I can count on my one hand (with several fingers unused) the number of times I have heard sermons or had classes of some kind on this topic. And yet it seems vitally important for healthy church ministry that involves pastoral staff as well as laypeople.

The Fleece Library, as many other Bible college/seminary-type institutions, has a good number of print resources on this topic, which can be found through our online catalog http://www.ciu.edu/library by looking up the subject "Gifts, Spiritual." Currently we have a little over 100 items listed, most of them published prior to 2000. Fortunately, this is an ageless topic, so even items published 40 or 50 years ago will still have value.

While talking with a fellow Christian recently I was reminded of the continuing interest among lay people on this topic, and that many are looking to discover their gifts through computer-generated means. I have found several "tests" for discovering one's spiritual gift(s) online. As with anything else "online" some of the tests are better than others, but it is worth knowing about them in case another Christian comes along who is eager to find some help. Take a look at some of these and find the one that comes closest to your own opinion of what you want your parishioners to know and understand about how to be involved in meaningful lay ministry:

http://www.elmertowns.com/spiritual_gifts_test (This one is by Elmer Towns, a CIU alumnus now at Liberty University).

http://www.crossroadschurch.net/ministries/lifechange/PDFs/SpiritualGiftsTest.pdf (This is a PDF file with the answer key included)



So... here's to better educated, better equipped lay people!