Series: Lutheran Hour Ministries Resources #6
Published by IVP on May 10, 2022
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Theology
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You have gifts! And you are a gift to the world around you. Because every human is fearfully and wonderfully made, each one of us has something to offer to the world. But we have not always identified or developed our gifts well, nor deployed them effectively. Don Everts explores the gifts God has given every person and what new research reveals about the difference those gifts can make for us, our churches, and our communities. Churches have unfortunately focused mostly on spiritual gifts and vocations within the church. But we don't always recognize the wide range of abilities, skills, and aptitudes that all of us have, whether civic, artistic, or entrepreneurial. We each have God-given gifts and are called by God to use them in our vocations in the world. Discover how our gifts are a blessing to others and pave the way for reconnecting with our surrounding communities.
This concise book shares practical advice for how Christians can better understand their gifts and use them to bless others. Don Everts encourages Christians to avoid an overly narrow focus on spiritual gifts, and to also consider other aptitudes, talents, and skills. He challenges churches to foster a broad understanding of talents in their community, instead of only focusing on gifts that benefit the church, and he beautifully summarizes some of Martin Luther’s teachings about vocation and the value of everyday, ordinary work. Everts encourages his readers to value a wide range of different gifts, seeing themselves and others as creations of God that have gifts to bring to the world.
One of the unique elements of Discover Your Gifts: Celebrating How God Made You and Everyone You Know is its connection to Barna research. Everts explains twelve categories of gifts, and he includes data from survey results where people shared their thoughts about gifting. For example, this includes statistics about people’s current knowledge of their gifts, interest in further developing their gifts, and ideas about what their talents are for. Sometimes, I felt that there were too many charts and graphs interrupting the flow of the book, but the research data gives additional context beyond Everts’s anecdotal experience and can help church leaders develop plans for fostering gift evaluations and mentoring relationships in their communities.
Everts shares both data and vivid personal stories to support his claims, and his writing can encourage Christians to revisit their understanding of personal talents and better engage with their churches to create an environment where everyone can grow, share their gifts, and take part in what God is doing inside and outside of the church. Everts directs some of his thoughts to church leaders and others to church members, and this book can be beneficial for a wide audience. It would also be an excellent choice for a church book club, especially if readers take the free online gift assessment together and discuss their thoughts and findings throughout the reading process.