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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)

TITLE: The Ministry of Helps
By Sherry A. Jackman


Spiritual gifts come in all types of people. Some of the best gifts can be lurking in people who suffer from emotional distress, causing more “learned” pastors and other church leaders to think there is no special depth or discernment underneath the stress and pain. God builds each one of us. He put us together and allowed whatever circumstances we endured to come our way. He is the one in control. It’s up to each of us to learn what our spiritual gifts are and to use them to bring honor and glory to Him.

A lot of spiritual gifts are real obvious—music ministry: i.e. pianist, singer, choir director; Sunday School Teacher, Pastor (has to have spiritual gifts to be in this position) and the unsung hero of them all—the Ministry of Helps. This is the person who knows how to do something while everyone else is standing around trying to figure it out. Or, they at least can see that the bungee cord on the ground needs to be picked up and do so. They don’t have to know how to put the whole tarp over the vehicle to keep the rain out. They do need to be aware of what goes on around them.

The Helper or Ministry of Helps person is vital in any religious organization. This person has the ability to get things done. They know how to be involved behind the scenes and are not bothered by applause, neither seeking nor rejecting it. If it comes, fine; if not, they go on doing what their hands can find to do. Such a person is busy typing the church bulletin, newsletter, sending out get well cards, thank you cards for visiting our church, or even watering the plants in the foyer. It is an organized pastoral staff who can detect this gifting in someone and put it to good use.

Such was the case in the inner-city church I attended in the 1990s. Being between jobs and having a heart for ministry gave me the opportunity to be the first church secretary. I set up the pastor’s files, typed numerous letters, entered visitor information in a membership computer program and purchased office supplies. Later on when I got a full-time job at a law office someone else took over the office work of the church.

A year or so later I was again out of work; and, since idle hands don’t make for spiritual people, was put to work cleaning the church. It was a privilege to be in a position of trust to have the church key, alarm code and come and go when I needed to in order to complete the mundane tasks of cleaning church bathrooms, offices, sanctuary, and other less esteemed places. After that, a thrift shop was planned; and again idle hands were put to work, sorting clothing, laundering it in machines in the church basement and getting it ready for sale.

Once the thrift shop was ready to be open for business, a special anointing ceremony was held with the Pastor and Director of the thrift shop and other interested members. We prayed carefully for God to heal hurting hearts and minister to anyone who came through these doors, asking for a special quickening of the Holy Spirit when people came across the threshold. This was noted by people coming in, who commented that they “truly felt the presence of God the minute they came in the door.” Thrift shop staff members were also open to praying with them if the need arose.

It was again an opportunity for this individual to serve the Lord and the people of the inner-city by working as a clerk and cashier in the thrift shop. Thrift shop staff members were encouraged to use all their talents, and it was a joy to take an old dress form (or clothes dummy) and transform it into a department store mannequin. This was a time to utilize fashion savvy and make a creative ensemble from odds and ends in the store. It’s amazing what you can do with so little.

God is that way. He takes the little talents that we surrender to Him, for service and multiplies them. We might not think so at firs;, but, as we continue to serve Him diligently, more opportunities abound for reaching out to others.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/30/07
Nice exposition on a little-sung gift.

Consider opening with the example of your helping out in your church--people are more likely to read personal stories, and then you can draw the application once you've "hooked" them.
Joanne Sher 12/02/07
I love your voice, and the comfortable language here. I felt like I was right next to you chatting. Enjoyed this very much.