10 Ways to Help Your Children Discover (and Nurture) Their Spiritual Gifts

10 Ways to Help Your Children Discover (and Nurture) Their Spiritual Gifts

It had been a tough year in our house. After deciding to homeschool my kids for the year, based on some behavior issues at school, the kids and I were feeling down. After a time with the Lord, I decided to change my perspective on the situation. Since I would be more involved in what they were learning, I chose to find ways to enhance the experience. One of which, was to find out what their spiritual gifts were. I had them take a spiritual gifts inventory. When they were finished, I affirmed the gifts they said the test revealed. It was a special moment between parent and child, as I was able to encourage them to find ways to use those gifts within the weekly church service.

Although it’s not the only way to figure out what spiritual gifts you possess, it is a great way to uncover how God may have gifted you and how you best fit within the church body. Here are 10 ways to discover (and nurture) your children’s spiritual gifts:

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  • 1. Redefine the Gifts

    1. Redefine the Gifts

    One of the reasons why I was able to affirm the gifts in my kids is because I know them well. Having been home during their childhood, I have watched them grow up. Because of this, I have gotten to know their likes, dislikes, and how they function within the church body, therefore, when my son discovered he had the gift of helps, I was easily convinced. My more extroverted daughter had the gift of leadership. Her willingness to volunteer to teach Sunday school class were right in line with what the test revealed. When you understand your children’s personalities, you can easily affirm the test’s validity.

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  • 2. Know the Word

    2. Know the Word

    1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 are just a couple of places where spiritual gifts are listed--but are there other gifts that are mentioned within the text that are not as widely encouraged as others? We all know speaking in tongues and prophesying are highly sought after gifts, but what about gifts like hospitality? Hospitality can be scary because of the work and time it takes to display them, but is hospitality just having friends over for dinner, or is it more than that?

    Help define gifts in a way that they can use them while they’re at school, at work, or at home. Is there a way a kid with the gift of wisdom can dispense good advice to a co-worker’s life situation? Can handing a tissue or patting the back of a crying friend be using the gift of hospitality? Be sure your kids understand the definitions of these gifts fully so they don’t shy away from using them simply because they don’t understand them.

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  • 3. Attend a Local Church

    3. Attend a Local Church

    Being a part of a church, on a regular basis, is so vital to spiritual growth. This is where people get to know you more intimately. In so doing, they can also help affirm gifts, in case you are uncertain when the test reveals a gift and you are unsure if it is actually true. Regular attendance turns mere acquaintances into trustworthy friends who can speak truthfully into their lives and become good sounding boards as to whether or not they have a particular gift.

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  • 4. Be a Mentor

    4. Be a Mentor

    Despite the fact that kids begin to view their peers as more important than their parents, you can still be an important influence in their lives. Yet, simply enforcing the rules of your home will not earn you the opportunity to be a part of their spiritual gift discovery. Take time to mentor your kids. Teach them the word. Pray with them. As they feel more comfortable sharing with you, they will allow you to assist them to discover their gifts. But don’t stop there. Strive not only to be a mentor to your own kids, but also the kids in your church. If kids feel they can talk to you, it will earn you the right to speak into their lives.

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  • 5. Be in Community

    5. Be in Community

    We all long to be a part of something larger then ourselves. A church body helps kids discover their purpose and specific mission as a part of God’s people. It is difficult to find out what your purpose in life is if you don’t put yourself in a position to discover it. Spiritual gift inventories help discover gifts and being within a community that not only supports those gifts, but encourages their usage, is vital to helping plug into that bigger mission in life.

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  • 6. Help Them Keep Good Company

    6. Help Them Keep Good Company

    One of the issues I have with my kids in their teen years is the company they keep. Both kids were falling into the wrong crowds, altering their ability to make good decisions as well as their attitudes about the world around them. The Bible speaks to this when it says,Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) Getting them involved in churches with youth groups helps them identify like-minded people. The more they hang around these people, the more they will acclimate to their way of thinking. If others are on fire for God, more than likely your kids will be too and it will keep them working towards utilizing their gifts, rather than burying them.

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  • 7. Plug them in

    7. Plug them in

    This year for my son’s birthday, I got him a new video game console he has been wanting for a long time. As I wrapped the beautiful package and placed it on the shelf to give him on his big day, I realized the gift is only as good as how often he uses it. It’s the same with spiritual gifts. It is a blessing to know our heavenly Father wires His children with specific gifts, but they are only as good as they are utilized. Knowing you are gifted is one thing; using them is quite another. 

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  • 8. Be an Example

    8. Be an Example

    How can kids know how to use their gifts if they have no examples of people who use them? So often, church becomes a daily routine of merely sitting in a pew, listening to a sermon, and never doing anything with it. But that was not God’s intention when he gave us our gifts. Demonstrate what it looks like to be plugged in to the church body by finding outlets for your gifts. If you do, chances are they will too, and it will contribute to their overall spiritual health and wellbeing.

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  • 9. Be an Experimental Church

    9. Be an Experimental Church

    In the church my husband planted, we strived to be a place for everyone to test out and see if they had a particular gift. Some who believed they had the gift of preaching were encouraged to take the pulpit on a Sunday and try it out. Some discovered they did and have since gone on to assume pastoral positions; others discovered they didn’t. It could be a bit messy and not as smooth of a flow, but the benefits of contributing to a person’s spiritual gift discovery and overall growth was immeasurable. Strive to be a part of a church that seeks to foster gifts, not quench them.

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  • 10. Pick Them up When they Fall

    10. Pick Them up When they Fall

    It can be disheartening when a child uses a gift only to find they don’t have it, after all. Like in life, when a child first learns to walk, they wobble and fall as they learn the skill. Through their tears, you pick them up, wipe the tears away, and encourage them to try again. It is the same with spiritual gifts. If they are discouraged, wipe away their tears and encourage them to try something else. Don’t scold them, but instead encourage them. Building their self-esteem is a part of the learning process.

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  • Put Kids First

    Put Kids First

    Jesus encouraged kids to some spend time with Him. In fact, he challenges us to seek the Kingdom like children.  Jesus didn’t want children to be hindered from approaching Him, because he knew if they were, they might hesitate to come to him as adults. Some of the best church services I have been a part of consisted of children playing on worship team, giving announcements and serving in children’s ministry. This demonstrates to visitors that children are valued, which is a part of Jesus’ heart. Understand that doing so will help the next generation of believers and give them all the opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus as possible.

    Discovering your spiritual gifts can be difficult as adults, let alone children. But being that person whom they can come to as they wobble in their discovery will help them not only walk to the church body, but ultimately run to God.

    Michelle S. Lazurek is an award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife and mother. Winner of the Golden Scroll Children's Book of the Year, the Enduring Light Silver Medal and the Maxwell Award, she is a member of the Christian Author's Network and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She is also an associate literary agent with Wordwise Media Services. For more information, please visit her website at michellelazurek.com.

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