Wednesday, January 20, 2016

1 Corinthians 12:12-31 Gifts Define our Ministry Calling

KEY TEXT: 1 Cor 12:27-28 All of you together are Christ's body, and each of you is a part of it. Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church: first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages. (NLT)

KEY THOT: We are given different roles according to our spiritual gifts. We should therefore serve, not based on practical considerations (like convenience or time requirement) but based on giftedness. In 1 Cor. 12:27-28, Paul lists the ministry roles of different people according to their gifts: the apostles are church-planters; the prophets are God’s church encouragers; the teachers are church-equippers; the miracle-workers are church growers; the healers are church restorers; the helpers are church servers; the leaders are church-overseers; the tongue-speakers are church edifiers. 

Our spiritual gifts define our ministry calling, not our professional vocations. Just because we are school teachers does not automatically mean we have the gift of bible teaching; or just because we are CEOs of company does not automatically qualify us to become overseers of the church. Similarly, just because we are entrepreneurs does not automatically make us suitable as church-planters. Or just because we are professional singers and musicians does not automatically make us suitable as worship-leaders. It is our spiritual gifts, not secular vocations, that define our ministries.

Similarly, theological education does not automatically qualify a church staff to be in the teaching or preaching ministry—the gifts must define our ministry calling. While our professional or vocational training can enhance the use of our gifts, our professional or vocational training does not define our ministry calling; it is the spiritual gift given by God that defines our calling into a particular ministry role.

When we mismatch a person's gift with his ministry, we create ministry dissonance and burn-out, because that person is not serving under the anointing of the Spirit, but serving by the wisdom and energy of his or her natural skills and capacities. Jesus himself said, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh (natural talents and skills) is of no avail" (John 6:63). So, if a church is to grow from strength to strength (quality & quantity), it must be consciously placing only spiritually gifted people in their corresponding ministries, and not based on political or ecclesiastical considerations. 

Spiritual mentors have a special responsibility to help their mentees discover their spiritual gifts and to encourage them to take on the appropriate ministry responsibilities: ministry placement cannot be left to chance in an IDC (Intentional Disciple-making Church). 

Father, show us our spiritual gifts so that we may fulfill our calling in the Body of Christ to make it grow. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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