Gifts Assessment to engage a women's church group

By: marnieharris
Posted in: Stories

Hello all! 

I recently led an activity at our church women's retreat inspired by Mike Green's Gift Assessment. In a group of 80 women, we asked people to identify the:

  • Gifts of their Hands (things they could do well and wanted to teach others)
  • Gifts of their Heart (things they cared a lot about and wanted to act on or talk about)
  • Gifts of their Head (things they knew a lot about and wanted to learn more about or teach others about

I gave a few examples, but left everything very open ended. The women each had time to reflect on her own gifts, and then they had 10 minutes to pair off and share their gifts with a partner (5 minutes per person). The conversation could have gone on for hours! 

After the 10 minutes, we broke into groups of 10. Each woman introduced her partner to the 10-person group based on identifying her gifts. 

The conversations that followed were incredible. While I had only allocated 30 minutes for the activity, we could have gone on for hours. Women who were strangers at first were uniting over common interests, hobbies, and passions. We had feedback throughout the weekend of groups who had gotten together to continue the conversation and make plans for action once they returned home. Women united over skills in cooking, passions over supporting women suffering from abuse, and love of dance. We discovered a large group of women who were skilled in art and when we returned, connected the women with the church's creative department to give them an outlet to share their talents. We united over common goals and goals that we could support one another in.

At the end of the retreat, a woman who had been inspired by the activity documented everyone's gifts and made plans to put it into a working document that could be shared between the 80+ women who attended the retreat.

The morning, and conversations that ensued, were examples of what happens when assets are identified. The 'activation energy' to initiate momentum lowers when people are able to offer their gifts to enhance their community. As an 'organizer', I was able to stand back and watch as momentum grew, connections were made and relationships were formed.

After all, relationships are key to this work.


Leah Wandera
11/28/18 04:05:16AM @leah-wandera:

Dear Marnieharris,

Thank you for sharing this. It was so inspiring reading through. Our organization is a women led NGO striving for Gender Equality. One of the main issue being ending female genital mutilation. just as you stated, building relationship is very key to this work. You story reminds me of the key words we use to help build relationships that will help initiate end FGM activities, that is Head(what you know about FGM, have heard or experienced) Heart(How you feel about it? your views and emotions towards it) Feet(Your stand. What is your stand and the surrounding)

I would really love to read and learn more form you.

How are the relationships that we created?

01/15/19 08:35:29AM @marnieharris:

Hi Leah,

Thanks for your comment, the Head / Heart / Feet is a really interesting framework that I'd like to use in the future. Thank you for sharing it! 

ABCD Fellows 2017-2018