Identifying effective aspects of yourself and your own inclinations helps to jumpstart you in creating a Personal Ministry Plan. Consider the following 14 elements when preparing for your Personal Ministry Plan.
- The nature of your calling
- Your spiritual gifts
- Your natural abilities
- Your values, what is important to you
- What makes you cry or where you have had pain
- Your interests, the desires of your heart
- What energizes you
- Affirmations from other people
- What you were doing when you were your happiest
- Where you have had a history of success
- Consistent feedback from others
- Feedback from identification instruments
- Who you want to spend time with
- What God is saying to your heart in your devotions
You may think of other particulars to add as you work with it. The idea is to help you back off of your immediate situation and see yourself from a longer and broader perspective. You are going to identify patterns in your life as you make notes on these areas. When we did this for ourselves, we saw patterns going back into early childhood and continuing through elementary school, high school, college, young adulthood into our prime working years. We saw patterns of leadership, independence, creativity, communication abilities, and being encouragers. We knew that we are very much alike, but saw the reasons why we are alike when we compared the elements of our upbringing, natural abilities, interests, and spiritual gifts.
Use these explanations as an aid through your own chart, Elements of Discerning My Ministry, found at the end of this article:
1) The nature of your calling
The manner in which your calling came will often give direction to your future ministry. For example, someone who was not raised in the Church and meets Christ in adulthood often has a heart for the unsaved and therefore that person's ministry is highly evangelistic. Someone who was saved via the efforts of a movement might have a call to make the church more understandable to people. A person brought to Christ via a 12-step program might desire to see the church more involved with social issues. Reflect back on your calling and discern whether there are clues about where you may want to serve. Did you feel that you received insight from Jesus at the time of your call?
2) Your spiritual gifts
A number of different inventories are available to help you understand your spiritual gifts.3 Your spiritual gifts will be indicators to the focus of your ministry. Spiritual gifts are listed in I Corinthians 12, Romans 12 and Ephesians 4. A quick reference: wisdom, knowledge, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, different kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues, ministry/pastoring, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership, mercy, apostleship, evangelism all for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry and for the edifying the Body of Christ.
3) Your natural abilities
Natural abilities many times are a significant factor in determining ministry. A person who has extraordinary beautiful voice will want to use that talent either in a contributory manner or professionally. A person with high communication and persuasion skills may tend to be evangelistic or a leader by way of motivation. A highly organized person may fit within the financial area of the church or on the strategic planning team. What are you good at doing and really enjoy? What are the natural abilities that have always come easily for you? Make a list and you might be surprised at what the combination of gifts tells you.