Barna released a study on Americans and spiritual gifts over the weekend that was downright shocking. 68% of Americans who say they are Christians do not know about spiritual gifts... and the ones that do seem to focus on a few public ones that are the safest (teacher, service, faith).
Friends, I am not surprised by this report. The American church has become like WalMart or Costco for the most part. Huge warehouses for worship with a very low cost of membership. They add small group ministry to "compliment" what is not found in the warehouse experience (relationships) but it's a sociological solution, not an answer to a theological mandate.
In the warehouse, teaching will always be the top gift because the guy behind the pulpit practices it (some are really gifted in it and others simply know how to wear a designer suit and blow sunshine up their you-know-what to make them feel warm inside). And "service" will always be next... the warehouse needs a lot of volunteers to greet, work with kids, get the cars parked straight, clean up the facility, work the expresso machines, etc.
I guess you can clearly read my disgust in this sad state of the American church and the lack of spiritual gifts among members!
Spiritual gifts were given to us as believers to edify or build up one another. If you're not living in true biblical community, it's incredibly difficult to learn your gifts and use them powerfully. At the most, you'll attempt to use some of the easier gifts because they're comfortable.
I've been greatly impacted by a six-week small group curriculum piece I edited last year for Dr. Paul Ford. It moves a small group into an understanding of how God wants to use them powerfully in each other's lives with the use of a very unique assessment tool that a person does not take himself, but gives to others for observational feedback on gifting. Wow. What a difference it makes to have others encourage you in the gifts they see you operating in with power vs. the ones you want to maintain because you're comfortable!
I want to encourage you to read Barna's article on spiritual gifts AND DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT IN YOUR SMALL GROUPS so Barna's report is completely opposite from what is going on among your small group members.
The full article is located here: The Barna Report on Spiritual Gifts
If this article doesn't light a fire under you, I need to check your pulse to see if you are still alive.