Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Valiant Sixteen - Part 10

Naming Gifts
“I really didn’t feel like I was capable of being a traveling companion until Deborah recognized a gift in me and asked me to be her elder. I was shocked at first.  It was amazing to have a gift named, to have a Friend see something in me, and then for me to recognize it in myself and want to step more fully into it.”  Emily S, Durham Monthly Meeting (Piedmont Friends Fellowship and North Carolina Yearly Meeting Conservative).
To really nurture and support ministry in our meetings, we need to know each other.  If we have deep relationships with each other, we will be able to see and name gifts in another that he may not see himself.  Christina R, from Atlanta Friends Meeting, and Faith K, who grew up in Shiloh Chapel Evangelical Friends Church, spoke of how it can be difficult for the meeting to see those who have grown up in the meeting as adults.*    

Julian B, from Central Philadelphia Meeting, suggested that meetings try to see people of all ages, including children, as ministers and “potential sources of God’s light and God’s wisdom.”  He also encouraged Friends to look at the things they are passionate about as leadings.

Emily S, from Durham Monthly Meeting, recommended that meetings provide young people with “a spiritual language that they can draw on to articulate their beliefs.”  Meetings can help people discern their callings by developing a shared vocabulary and defining terms such as leadings, callings, elder, minister, and spiritual gifts.  

Engaging in conversations about how God is calling each of us to be faithful in using our gifts will set the stage for encouraging young Friends to discern what those gifts are and how they are being called to use them.  And as Friends, we know that God gives these gifts for the benefit of the entire community, not just the individual.  With that in mind, encouraging each person to use his gifts also builds up the life of the meeting and the Religious Society of Friends as a whole.

*Faith also noted that the same thing happened to Jesus and asked, “Why should we be different?”

[From the research paper I wrote for the School of the Spirit on the spiritual nurture of young Friends traveling in the ministry.]

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