The basis for UYT is the parable in the bible which describes: like a man going on journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. (Matthew 25:14-16) Two of the servants received gifts used their gifts properly with reproduction, whereas the third servant buried it in the ground and kept it as it was (unproductive) until the master came. From the exposition, it could be understood that the talent is a gift given with a purpose.
Talent includes both physical and mental competencies (knowledge, understanding, learned or acquired abilities/skills or attitude, etc…) besides spiritual gifts: developed. It could be understood as ability/potential already there in human beings and in nature, and also built up through interaction and practice (material resources around us, material resources within our access, mental resources, time, etc…)
“Use Your Talents” is to use what is entrusted to us, so that our families, our congregations and our communities could benefit from it. In this way, we could fulfil God’s commandment to ‘Love Your Neighbour’. Use Your Talents is especially about how the congregations could work to fulfil this commandment. It is about how the congregations could fulfil their holistic ministries, how they could work to make the living conditions better for their own members, for the congregation and for the rest of the community.
Use Your Talents started as development ‘intervention approach’ started in Malagasy Lutheran Church (Fiangonana Loterana Malagasy). From 2002 to 2005, a manner of working based on experiences from congregations and their development committees laid the foundation for what gradually became a movement and an approach to development work within a church setting. To see its applicability to the contexts of other churches, ‘Use Your Talents Knowledge Development Project’ was designed and launched since, 2013. At initial phase of the project, four churches (Malagasy Lutheran Church, Zimbabwe Methodist Church, Free Pentecostal Fellowship of Kenya (FPFK) and The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) showed their interests and started working together with their Norwegian partner, Norwegian Mission Society (NMS). Since then, the net-work movement continued in including other churches from West Africa and Asia.
The essence of UYTs is to start at congregation and go in to the community using what we have here and now. The goal of UYTs is first and for most to fulfill Gods commandment to ‘love your neighbor’. UYTs is about how congregations can work to fulfill this commandment. It is about how congregations fulfill their holistic ministries, how they work to make living conditions better for their own members and, for the congregation and the rest of the community.