“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
I think back to the many times I have heard this passage read in worship, often during the commissioning of mission workers or Christian educators.
“To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing, to another working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discernment, to another various kinds of tongues, to another interpretation of tongues.”
Best Icebreaker: Have everyone take out a sheet of paper. Give the instructions, “Best you can, rip it into a circle.” Then say, “Each of you is your circle. You have gifts. You have strengths that I do not have, or the person next to you may not have. Write down one or two of your greatest strengths…those gifts which you possess that may enrich our time together.”
Then, if it is a large room of people working in small groups, I simply ask the group to slide their circles into the middle of the table so all can see.
Say, “All of these are activated by one of the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.”
It is a wonderful way to start. When I have done this, often participants almost immediately feel a sense of community – of working together toward a common goal. I certainly did! I felt invigorated, as if I was surrounded by many gifts, especially if it is a gathering that has been asked to share openly and freely, taking a covenant to respect diversity and awareness of gifts. It is a wonderful way to value the expertise already in the room, build an attitude of collegiality immediately, and deflate any sense of “teacher – student” in the room.
Sometimes I have groups post all the circles on the window of the classroom, and periodically would draw from people’s strengths. Or if names had been included on the circles, sometimes in the middle of a presentation, someone would get up an add a strength to another person’s circle – some spiritual gift they noticed about the person then and there.
I wonder if we shouldn’t do this at board meetings.
This passage strikes at the heart of who we are as the body of Christ – a covenanted community with a diversity of gifts – and in that diversity we find our unity, our strength, and our power.