Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Helping Students Discover and Develop their Spiritual Gifts

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
--Romans 12:6-8

What would life be like for a person who, from birth, was perfectly able to walk but didn’t know it until adulthood, and therefore never made any effort during childhood to learn to walk? Obviously, it would be very difficult for such a person to achieve his or her full potential in life.

The example is extreme and improbable. Yet it’s a simple, effective illustration of what happens to Christians who are delayed in discovering their spiritual gifts or in learning how to apply their God-given abilities in a spiritual context.

Nothing that God does is without purpose. So any special ability that God has given us has an intended use within the Body of Christ. But the adult Christian who lacks adequate understanding or development of his or her spiritual gifts is hindered in the fulfillment of God's purpose for his or her life, just as the physical potential is hindered of the hypothetical adult who is just beginning to learn to walk.

While home and church life provide important environments in which young people can begin to explore and develop their spiritual gifts, the Christian school experience provides additional opportunities for them to consider how their God-given abilities could be applied for God’s purposes.

In a Christian school, everything from biology courses to basketball games takes place in a spiritual context. Experiences in school can also be opportunities to discover potential gifts for:

  • Teaching, through classroom discussions and written assignments
  • Leadership, through serving as a team captain
  • Praise and worship, through courses or extracurricular activities in music or performing arts
These are just a few of many possible examples. Secular educational environments also provide students with the opportunity to explore natural skills that may point to their spiritual gifts, but the openly spiritual context of the Christian school environment can accelerate discovery of their spiritual application. This, in turn, can give students, as they move on from school and into adulthood, a stronger sense of God’s purpose for their lives and of how they will fulfill it.

No comments:

Post a Comment