Earlier this year, I started to get super excited. I heard that this October, we were going to have an Esther Ministry Gifting Day!
“Esther Ministry was founded to equip, empower and release people into their calling” – Rowena Cross (www.estherministry.org.uk)
Now, this sounded like an awesome day! Discovering what our gifts are? Learning how we can use them for God? Sounds fab to me! But then I found out some terrible news… It was being run as a women’s day…
Although I was very disappointed not to be able to go, I rushed off straight away to tell my friend Gertrude and tell her what a cool day this could be! She was super excited to be invited and had a wonderful day. So, I asked her to write a little bit about what she did during the day!
So, the day began at 9am with tea, coffee and biscuits (they had custard creams, it was great!) and lots of opportunity to chat. It was lovely to be able to meet new people as well as spend time with people I hadn’t had chance to have a good conversation with for a while.
We then moved into the church for our first session, a bit of an introduction to Rowena, the founder of Esther Ministry, and to what we we’re going to do today. We also had a look at some of the myths surrounding gifts, such as the idea that “only the best Christians get gifts” as well as exploring some of the lies we believe about ourselves, maybe that “I’m not good enough” or that “I’m too broken to have gifts” or that “I’m not good at anything”. One activity we did during the session was to write down three lies that we believe about ourselves on a piece of paper before taking this up and placing it in a bucket, at the foot of a cross, giving it over to God. Rowena then set fire to these lies, highlighting the fact that whilst this action won’t usually simply stop us believing these lies, hopefully this will enable us to put aside these lies, allowing us to be released into truly discovering our gifts. My favourite quote from this session was, “God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called”.
After a short break with plenty more custard creams, we began looking at what the Bible says about gifts and how we use them. We looked at three different passages of the Bible. Firstly, Romans 12:1-2, looking at how “offering our bodies as a living sacrifice” is “true and proper worship”, so using our gifts and skills is in fact a way of worshipping God.
We then continued in Romans, to Romans 12:4-8, where we learn that each of us belongs to the body of God, each with a different function. This is one of my personal favourite bible passages, that I know Jenny used in her baptism talk. Looking at the different gifts we each have and the need to use these gifts fully and enthusiastically.
Finally, we looked at 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. This passage focuses on the importance of diversity within the body, that each of us has a different role that is important for the whole body and equally important as every other part. Not all of us have the same gifts, we can’t expect to be amazing at absolutely everything, but we do have a gift that is hugely important.
A very tasty ploughman’s lunch then gave us a great opportunity to relax, share our thoughts on the day so far and get to know one another better. We then got started for the afternoon, excited to start finding out about our own gifts. The gifting exercise we completed was a series of statements, each to be rated between 0-5 based on how much it applies to us. Our answers to these questions were then added up, giving us a score out of 20 for each of 12 different gifts. We then took the 2, 3 or 4 highest scoring gifts and explored these further.
In another blog, I hope to explore the different gifts and how we can use them in more detail so I won’t go into that now. But, possibly my favourite and the most useful part of the whole day was the final section where we looked at how much we currently use our gifts as well as how we could use them more – looking at actions we could take, both on long term and short-term basis’. This was a really helpful way of exploring how we can use our gifts, not just in the obvious ways, but in different ways that fit together with our passions and the things we want to achieve.
I took away several different ideas for things I would like to focus more upon and ways that I can develop my gifts and be able to use them even more fully. I thought this was a really fantastic day, spent with an awesome bunch of women that has really helped me to see what my gifts are, how I already use them in different ways and what actions I can take to use them even more! Hopefully the men will be able to have a gifting day soon to allow Arnold to experience the same greatly enjoyable experience that we had!