How do you discover hidden talent in your church?

A funny thing happened the other evening at our mens group…

Let me preface this with the fact that our church has about 65 – 75 people coming on sunday morning so that you know that this is not a large church.

My dad, who is the pastor, and I were discussing doing a makeover on our drum kit. We were talking about getting new cymbals and heads and maybe throwing a shield on it and mic’ing it. We will be moving into a new building soon and want to get the best sound possible. Currently our drummer is also our pastor and while he is a professional drummer it isn’t always an ideal situation.

As we were discussing it one of the guys in our small group pipes up and says.

“I can probably get you some zildjian cymbals for really cheap.”

My dad and I whipped around. WHAT!

It was now time to drill this guy. How does he even know about drums at all? Why had he never told us that?

He proceeded to tell us that he would be happy to setup the kit for us and that he used to be a drum tech.

He worked with bands like alice & chains, Tool, and the black crowes among others.

Of course our jaws hit the floor.

Are you kidding. Why have you not..? huh?

He told us ways of making drums sound better that even we had never heard before. He told us you can put cotton balls in the bass drum instead of using a pillow so you can add and subtract to get the best sound and more.

We then went to get some coffee where this man also told us he played drums. I don’t know if he is good or not, but he just may be.

When we asked him why in the 4-5 months of being in the church, connecting with people, and coming to a mens meeting of about 7-8 guys had he not brought this up he answered.

“I was waiting for God to bring it up and for Him to open the door”


I have to tell you I ride the fence with that reply. I love the faith aspect of it, but I also think there are people who have so much to offer and instead of laying everything out on the table they are waiting for God to present a situation.

Praise God this man opened up and he will have the opportunity to be used in the kingdom, but he is just one our people.

Remember we are a church of about 70 or so people and were in desperate need of a drummer. This man, who I really have grown to enjoy in our mens meetings, was completely untapped.

I can’t imagine how much more prevalent this situation is with the larger churches.

So how do we get people who are commited to the church to lay everything on the table, and let us know thier hidden talents?

How do we best utilize people if we don’t even know what they are skilled to do?

We have done the questionnaires and they have yielded little to know fruit.

This man was praying God would present the situation for him to open up about it. I think that is very admirable.

My question though is…maybe we are the situation. Maybe God is waiting for us leaders to get people to lay it on the table.

So how do we do it? Any thoughts? tried and true methods?






12 responses to “How do you discover hidden talent in your church?”

  1. kimbontrager Avatar

    ha! what a great surprise! I can understand your puzzlement over this situation. You’re asking a question that we’ve struggled with as well. We’ve done the questionnaire thing too, but it seems that method doesn’t actually bring out the kinds of talent we really are looking for, if that makes any sense without sounding judgmental. Maybe it IS ok that this guy’s talent & experience came out when it did, because maybe he wasn’t ready to respond to the question before now.

    In any case, I hope he’s a great addition to your team!

    kimbontragers last blog post..Worship Reflections 01.18.09

  2. Monte Horton Avatar

    We are very intentional about it. As part of the membership process, we take people through a class in which they talk about their passion and giftings. Through that experience they talk about and list areas of service they are interested in. We then give that info to the ministry directors, who in turn drill into the interest and create opportunities for service in their area for those who are interested. We also give regular attenders an opportunity every week to let us know about an area of service they would like to explore through a connection card. Our church has two services right now so we basically expect everybody to come an hour and then serve an hour. For the worship team, we rotate every position and those folks are expected to be in worship with their family at least once a month, serve in a non-music related area once a month and then serve on the platform team at most twice a month. Once people realize they aren’t going to have to do the same thing every week, you’d be surprised how willing they are to get involved. We started from a church of 120 5 years ago. We are now a church that averages almost 3000 weekly with 60 – 65% new believers.

  3. Travis Avatar

    Great thoughts man. Question though. How do you balance that with NOT opening the floodgates. For instance, we need another male tenor or two, how do we ASK without opening it up to everyone that wants to sing. Regardless of ability. It can be tough to do things like this without hurting feelings.

    Also, maybe if more people would pray like your drum tech, more “seemingly random” conversations like this would take place.

    Can’t go wrong to start with prayer.

    Traviss last blog post..Constructing Christmas Intro

  4. Joel Klampert Avatar

    @Kim – oh yeah this was perfect timing and def. God

    @Monte – great thoughts and some of which we are starting to implement.. others…great stuff.. That is so cool to hear about your church. Praise God

    @Travis – yeah you do ride a fine line there. I dont know the answer to that, but I agree prayer is key. I think feelings may get hurt sometimes, but I also think everybody deserves a chance to get plugged in somewhere to serve.

  5. kenny Avatar

    it’s an important question for churches to ask. in my experience, the church that doesn’t ask this question often enough ends up burning out the faithful volunteers that they already have. double-edged sword though, as you found… if the person isn’t ready to share his/her talent with the church, you’ll never discover it or be able to utilize it to its full potential.

  6. Steve"The Czar" Patton Avatar

    Uuuuhhh, I love how you just casually mentioned YOU HAVE A NEW BUILDING. Where, when?

    Steve”The Czar” Pattons last blog post..What’s your legacy going to be?

  7. Jason Avatar

    I totally feel what you’re saying right now man. Our praise team is in an similar situation. We need people to speak up and help out. There is also something that I feel very strongly about, and that’s God’s timing vs our timing. There is always a reason for everything. What we want may not be in God’s timing at the moment.

    Here is something else to think about. Those who have a desire to lead and grab a hold of it with both hands and say I want to lead, end up needing to serve more. But those who serve ultimately are those who are ASKED to lead.

    Jasons last blog post..Worship 1-25-09

  8. Gabe Taviano Avatar

    What a sweet story, Joel! I think it’s neat that he was waiting on God, but I also question how many people aren’t letting the Spirit tap them on the shoulder (playing deaf).

    In our church (plant that is 200+), I just implemented an online volunteer form. People can go there and see the service openings in all areas of the church. They’re not pressured to react in person, but we definitely remind them it is there. Seems to be working the 3 weeks it has been up. Thanks for sharing!

    Gabe Tavianos last blog post..Captain Me Planet

  9. Adam Avatar

    who is this mystery man??? 😀

  10. suzanne Avatar

    i think it comes down to relationship with people. if we take the time to form a relationship with others we will discover these things. i think you and i are prob on the same page with that one.

  11. Benjamin Tennant (Northeast Austin Vineyard) Avatar

    What a great story! Right now I am going to pray that it happens to me. God, who in my church used to play for 80’s rock bands?

    Seriously, though, this is an important question. More than anything, I think it does come down to relationship. A band filled with capable musicians who God hasn’t meant to lead worship is not a good thing.

    On the other hand, we must provide a place for god-gifted musicians and artist to discover how God may have them use their talents. Who knows who God is tapping on the shoulder?

  12. Drum Kits with Cymbals Avatar

    You have a great blog here and it is Nice to read some well written posts that have some relevancy…keep up the good work 😉

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