Christians who never discover, develop and use the gifts God has given them to serve Him are missing out on an aspect of the Christian life that helps them better understand their purpose in life and in God’s Kingdom. Using those gifts to serve God can also make one’s Christian walk richer and fuller.
Sadly, the vast majority of Christians still have no idea what gifts God has given them. We need to break the cycle by helping kids and teens discover, develop and use their gifts. Starting your kids with the knowledge of their gifts will help them do those good deeds God has planned for them during their lives.
The problem is most churches start by trying to help people find the gift they may have on the list in Corinthians. The process gets quickly muddled as we struggle to define those gifts and determine which of them God may still give today.
For several years now, Teach One Reach One Ministries has tried to make this easier for everyone involved. Our premise is that just as God gave artisans special gifts in Exodus 31 to build the Tabernacle, He gives people today concrete gifts they can use to serve Him.
These more concrete gifts are easier for people to discover and develop. They are easier for people to find ways to use them in doing good deeds God may have planned for them to do in advance. Those gifts in Corinthians should then become more apparent as we use the more concrete gifts to serve God.
There are some things you can do to help your kids discover their gifts from God.
- Take a survey. We have developed two separate free gift discovery tools for you to use. One is for children, while the other is for teens and adults. Both ask questions to help reveal potential areas of giftedness.
- Follow their natural interests. Kids are interested in a lot of different things over time. Unfortunately, many parents don’t allow kids to fully explore their interests. After the family invests a lot of money on the first interest the child expresses, parents often force the child to “follow through” and stick with the activity long after the child has lost interest. It is natural for kids to have shifting interests. It is the way older children and teens explore their world, just like babies crawled and touched things. Invest the minimum amount of money in a new interest for a time until you are sure it’s a match. Set up participation so your child doesn’t let down others if they lose interest and move on to something else. Allowing your kids to follow their interests as they change can more quickly lead them to find what God wants them to do. Sometimes things learned in pursuing temporary interests are useful later in the ultimate gift.
- Encourage experimenting. Cheap kits, YouTube class videos, library books, free or low cost trial classes, family church friends and others can give your kids beginning experiences in an area to see if it indeed might be an area of giftedness. It’s important to remember there may be some things your kids love to do, but are never really good at doing and that’s okay. With continued practice, God may still be able to use that gift in some way. If not, that gift may be part of how your child practices a Sabbath type rest during his or her life.
- Take advantage of opportunities. Sometimes God uses experiences and other people to help us discover our gifts from Him. Service projects, mission trips, children’s and teen ministry classes and activities are some possible places for your kids to have experiences or meet people who can give them clues as to their possible gifts from God. This ministry has its roots in my teen years listening to missionaries and helping a young mom teach a children’s Bible class.
- Don’t give up until you have helped your child identify at least one of their gifts from God. It seems like some kids know almost from birth they are gifted in a particular area. Others may struggle for years (even with the tips above) to finally find their gift. Don’t give up. Consider more out of the box gifts like organizational skills, conflict resolution skills and others. They may not be as obvious as artistic talent, but God can use those gifts as well.
Taking the time and energy to help your kids discover, develop and use their gifts to serve God will help them have a better understanding of their role in life as a Christian and as part of the church. It is that added piece to their spiritual foundation that will help them become faithful, productive Christians. It is a very precious gift you can give your children.