Our spiritual gifts are to be used to minister to others in the name of Christ. The amazing thing about giving away our gifts is that both givers and receivers are blessed. The old saying what goes around comes around is true. Over the next couple weeks, we’ll share some true-life stories that may trigger an idea or two for your women’s ministry.
The Gift of Hospitality
A church in the western United States designed a dinner event to intentionally reach the unchurched in their community. In the beginning, two or three church couples planned to get together for dinner. Each shared in the preparation—from cleaning the house to preparing and serving the food. This way the work of hospitality was shared.
Hospitality is difficult today with the schedules we have to keep, but what a great idea! Planning an event with others is always more fun. As time passed, each couple began inviting unchurched neighborhood friends or coworkers to the special dinner. The conversation flowed easily among the couples. Later in the year, they planned another dinner event. This time, the couples exchanged responsibilities and again invited their unchurched friends. By now, they knew each other’s interests, and sharing about their relationships to Christ became easier.
Later in the year the church hosted a banquet, featuring quality entertainment and a special guest speaker. Once again, the unreached friends were invited as special guests. At the end of the message, an appeal was given to anyone who might be interested in finding out more about a relationship to Christ. In the first year of this event, 80 people came to know Christ. That, my friends, is kingdom living—sharing the gift of hospitality to share the Gift.
The Gift of Listening with the Heart
One dedicated pastor’s wife makes her way to meet the neighbors each time her family moves into a new community. After introducing herself, she offers their children a Saturday morning play time with her children. She tells her neighbors she will tell the children Bible stories, help them do crafts, and play games with them. She shares her gift of love for children to impact God’s kingdom.
When I heard this woman’s story, I was stunned. My children are grown, but when they were little I often invited their friends over to play. To be honest, I never thought of it as a time to share Bible stories!
Think of the impact this kind of ministry could make in today’s world with so many mothers working outside the home. Think of single mothers and fathers who need this gift. By exercising this ministry on a regular basis, women might develop neighborhood ministries. How wonderful for the children of single moms or dads who don’t have time for such wonderful Saturday morning or after-school activities to experience God’s love through a neighbor! It seems to me this kind of caring, nurturing gift could make the kingdom of God look more inviting.
I am convinced that if we would refine our gift of listening—listening with our hearts—we would have opportunity to share Christ more often. Each of us should look at the people in today’s world. We’d see tired faces, stooped shoulders, tears, anger, and loneliness. But some of us have the spiritual gift of listening. We could change the kingdom of God with listening hearts.
Next week we’ll share more ideas for helping women in your ministry find creative ways to use their spiritual gifts to make an impact in their communities!
This article is adapted from a chapter written by Esther Burroughs and found in Women Reaching Women: Beginning and Building a Growing Women’s Ministry compiled by Chris Adams.