Tuesday, 2 October 2012

All Saints Word - Gift Oriented Ministry

Gift-orientated ministry. Valuing the ministry of all people and the variety of gifts in the body of Christ. Helping people identify their God-given gifts, skills and abilities and encouraging each person to use them in the overall mission and ministry of the church. #2/8 Qualities of Healthy Growing Churches

What is this Quality?
Maybe you grew up with favouritism? People always think someone else is the favourite! A brother that never cried? A sister that knew her tables without thinking? A colleague who went to the same school as the boss? Churches can have “favourite” ministries too. Things that we just have to have to be a lively church: preaching, children & youth work, healing, music, social outreach, evangelism etc. So we set up a plan and look for people to serve these ministries. But we can miss out those who have different gifts. We can have people working in areas in which they are not gifted. It makes people tired and ineffective. Gift oriented ministry is where the church has people with gifts using their gifts in the ministry in which that gift is most useful.

How is it shown in Jesus?
Jesus said to the disciples, at the ascension, “Wait!”. Wait till the Spirit is given – that great gift which was to empower and enable them to serve in mission. Jesus calls Nathaniel a “true Israelite in whom there is no guile”. He calls Peter “the Rock” - and he was sometimes rocky. He let Martha do the housework and Mary do the listening. He told a parable about people using their “talent” that is so incisive that it has become the word for a gift. He chose fishermen to fish for men. He did not say that anyone could do anything. He chose. He appointed. He sent. 3. 12. 72.
How is it shown in the N.T. Church?
Peter used his gift of impulsive faith in healing the lame man at the temple. Philip uses his gift of getting alongside people as he approached the Ethiopian. Paul uses his gift of confrontation and plain teaching at the early councils on the gentiles. Barnabas uses his gift of encouragement to keep Mark on side. Peter, Paul, Apollos – all used their gifts in harmony.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.” (1 Pet. 4:10)
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us”. (Romans 12:4-6a) they are even listed Romans 12: exhortation, giving, leadership, mercy, prophecy, service, teaching
1 Corinthians 12: administration, apostle, discernment, faith, healing, helps, knowledge, miracles, prophecy, teaching, tongues, tongues interpretation, wisdom
Ephesians 4: apostle, evangelism, pastor, prophecy, teaching
Also: celibacy, hospitality, martyrdom, missionary, voluntary poverty
Before we start on music, art, dance, technology, accountancy, gardening...
How is it shown in our Church and in me?MLT have different gifts. We have hopefully appropriate “bubbles” in which we seek to empower other people to use their gifts. So we realised that leadership in our church often means using words or music – and we have many gifted people which is great. Thank you. But what about the pastoral people? What about the artists? Maybe we have not allowed them to function as freely. So we have the new group. Try it. Do we resist the temptation to say “this is important, it needs doing even if you are not gifted, come and help”. That's not gift oriented ministry. “This is important. We don't have anyone with those gifts. Let's wait” is.

How can we grow?
  1. Know what your gifts are. Try it and see. No life sentences.
  2. Use the gifts that you have eagerly. Don't wait to be begged. Offer yourself. Risk rejection.
  3. Look out for others and help them to develop their gifts.

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