How would you go about bringing your spiritual gift to its prime effectiveness and usefulness?
PRACTICE THE GIFT. You either use it or lose it. You either use it or you will never use it well. Nothing replaces experience which comes from exercising and using your gift. Paul told Timothy not to neglect the gift in him. There was a good reason he said this. Use it and use it in a variety of ways; this may take some experimentation. Every passage that lists a gift or gifts tells us to “exercise” it or “use” it. I guess this means that exercising your gift is imperative. Practice, practice and then practice some more.
REPEAT THE GOOD RESULTS OF THE USE OF YOUR GIFT. In the process of using your gift, you will have successes and failures. You can learn from both. You can continue to build on your successes and you can learn from your failures (what not to do or how not to do it). When you are criticized or questioned, you can learn from others if you listen to them. Wise people listen to criticism and learn. Having a spiritual gift does not exempt you from making mistakes. Mistakes, responded to properly, can promote growth. And, repeat your successes.
INVESTIGATE HOW OTHERS USE IT. You can learn from others especially those who have the same gift. Watch them as they use their gift and ask questions. Follow people of all ages, not just people of your own age. Generally speaking, older members (by number of years and maturity in Christ) are good to spend time with and learn from. You can find out who has your gift by using the database of a congregation that uses spiritual gift inventories and catalogues the results. Do some ‘digging’ and learn from others.
MATURITY. As you mature in Christ, you will also mature in the use of your gift. You will become more effective and your opportunities to use the gift will increase. Some of this maturity may come as a result of time, but time alone matures no one. You will need to focus on becoming more and more like Christ.
EDUCATE YOURSELF WITH GOOD RESOURCES ABOUT THE GIFT. Expose yourself to good books, lectureships, events, conferences, DVDs, materials and stories about the use of gifts. Read, and read, then read some more. Spend money, time and energy learning from others who have your exact gift. You can also learn from folks that have gifts other than the one you have. Observe them. Ask them questions. See their counsel.
I hope these have been helpful. If you can think of others, please share them with me and I’ll pass them on to others.