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You don’t get all the Spirit’s gifts. That’s okay!

God knows what he’s doing.

One study identified 13 completely different “clusters of activity” that parish pastors are assigned monthly, each of which could be a separate career: public speaking, financial management, volunteer supervision, pastoral care, etc. You know the list. Nobody could possibly be an expert in every area. You deserve appreciation this month (and every month) for offering your limited giftedness into the Lord’s hands, knowing full well that you can’t be good at everything. Humility is the most essential quality of ministers. God has given you only a small assortment of expertise, one small slice of the pie of his gifts, to keep you dependent upon him. I see four main benefits of having a few strengths in ministry and a good healthy number of weaknesses, areas of your work where you really struggle.

#4. Temptation to comparisons

Pastors have a nasty habit of comparing themselves to the preacher down the street, the expert with a new book out, the viral blogger or this week’s ministry hero. When we come to grips with our ministry weak spots, we begin to understand that the “heroes” have theirs also. Humility is the ability to celebrate another’s success without jealousy, and also to thank God for the special gifts he’s given me, those areas of ministry that come easy and natural and bring me the most joy, even while so many other parts of the call are such hard work.

#3. The body has many parts.

There are certain responsibilities that belong to the pastor alone. Some you are well gifted for; others you do the best you can with what you’ve got. But most of the work in the kingdom is not yours. Mel Steinbronn wrote, “Can the Pastor Do It Alone?” The answer (360 pages later) was “NO!” Humility celebrates the beauty of the body of Christ. It calls the pastor to step out of the way and allow others the joy of serving in their giftedness. The best thing that happens during a pastoral vacancy is when the people rise up and take responsibility. Beautiful.

#2. Growth zones.

Your spiritual gifts enable you to perform some ministry tasks with ease and joy. God allows you to struggle with others so he can teach, train and discipline you. We’re at our best when we don’t get too prideful over ministry success and instead stay dependent on God to slowly mature and equip us.

#1. The Spirit shows up in our inadequacies.

It’s frustrating to realize week after week, “I can’t do this.” It’s downright dangerous to say, “Hey, I CAN do this!” Humility remembers that God is always at work, that the Spirit distributes his gifts perfectly, and that the body of Christ works together pooling their gifts for ministry. Joy comes when we can honestly say, “I can’t, you can’t, but in the power of Jesus, WE can!” At Grace Place Wellness, we appreciate you just as much for the gifts you don’t have as for those you do. Let me know how I can pray for your growth in ministry this week.