Our church is doing a bit of a thing on 1 Corinthians at the moment. We're up to chapter 12 and the exposition about spiritual gifts and it fell to me on Thursday night to lead the young adults bible study on this topic.
We had questions about what spiritual gifts were, and what it meant to be one body with many parts. Then we came to some practical questions for our week-to-week church life. We were asked to think about how to encourage people in our congregation to use their spiritual gifts for the good of all.
"How can we do this?" I posed the question to the group.
I don't know what answers I was expecting, but I was surprised to notice that all of the conversation after this centred around feeling a sense of belonging to the people in the congregation rather than gifts and how to use them.
Perhaps using our gifts arises more naturally out of being in healthy relationships. Perhaps when we focus on the gift, we are being a little bit strained or forced.
Perhaps we should be concentrating on growing community and relationships and from there encouraging each individual - already loved and valued by the group - to share their strengths and gifts with everyone.