Tag Archives: church growth

Spiritual Gift Definition – what makes a prophet?

‘In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Romans 12v5-8

Today we consider those whose primary spiritual gift is Prophet. Often, these people act as God’s conduits  to the Church. Receiving a word or revelation from God, the person is often burdened with it until such time as they are released to to tell others. Although this may be in a verbal way it can also involve some sort of living metaphor (see Hosea 1). Hallmark of a prophet? Answer – Dedicated to prayer.

NB. please note that a distinction exists between those who exercise a prophetic gift (1 Corinthians 12) and the rare few who have a prophetic role (Ephesians 4:11).

Although the following descriptors may act as a guide, please  consider getting the spiritual gift app or doing the test in the book or ebook to elicit which one of the spiritual gifts is primary to you. Find more information and resources at the primary spiritual gift website.


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Spiritual Gift Definition – what makes a teacher?


‘In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
 Romans 12v5-8.

Although believers possesses a number of spiritual gifts, one is unique and primary to them – the other gifts are useful but also carry a formational benefit.  The following descriptor acts as a guide, please  consider getting the app or doing the test in the book/ebook to elicit which one of the spiritual gifts is primary to you. Today we consider those whose primary spiritual gift is as Teacher.

People with this gift are able to frame complex ideas in ways that make it easy for others to understand. They enjoy reading and discovering new things in the Bible and desire that others find these hidden treasures too. They need no coaxing to prepare sermons or study and will often be frustrated when others miss salient points in scripture that they consider obvious.

Check out the website at primary gift


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Spiritual Gift Definition – what makes a Server?


‘In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
 Romans 12v5-8

Today we consider those whose primary gift is as Server. People with this gift have a willingness to serve. They do not need to be asked twice to help and very often have no desire to be in a position of leadership over others. Whatever is asked of them, they do. Servers are the backbone of the Church and a real blessing to others.

Although the following descriptor acts as a guide, please  consider getting the app or doing the test in the book/ebook to elicit which one of the spiritual gifts is primary to you. Find more information and resources at primary gift


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Failure to Launch 6 – Freewill made me not do it!

In the Bible,  Romans chapter 12 tells us that:

‘In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.’ (v6-8)

For me, two things jump out of this passage: The prerequisite that each person:

The last reason why churches may fail to launch is that sometimes the believer does not utilise the primary gift they have been given. Sometimes this rests with their church leader or friends who do not provide opportunity or encouragement for the person to step out. Other times, it rests with the believer who- although knowing the gift – does not engage it in the context of church because of a range of factors that may include disobedience, fear of failure and timidity.

Now because God’s love results in freewill, the Divine never coerces or forces us into doing anything that we don’t want to do. With this in mind, we see that a primary gift can only be realised in a person as that person desires to identify then use it for the glory of God. Hence, the observation: ‘In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. ‘

Find out more at primary gift.

 


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Failure to Launch 5 – You haven’t got all your body parts!

In 1 Corinthians 12  we read this:

‘Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.  Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.’ (v12-14)

Imagine you woke up to discover your nose, left hand and right elbow were missing. Aside from the difficulty of getting out of bed with a club foot and only one hand to balance with, problems would occur as you breathlessly descend the stairs, inhaling and exhaling through your mouth. Now imagine you exit the house and hop to work, justifying to others that you’re better off without the body parts as it is the most normal thing in the world to not  have them? The people you’d meet would think you strange to say the least.

Now, consider the spiritual gifts that make up the church –  preachers, servers, teachers, prophets, encouragers, apostles, generous givers, leaders, pastors, evangelists and administrators. For a church to operate with any of these gifts missing is for it to hamstring itself in much the same way a person becomes when without their foot, elbow and nose. Yet,  where churches fail to help congregation members realise their primary spiritual gifts, they  risk setting aside useful limbs that would help it function as it should.

If your church needs a spiritual audit why not direct your leader to www.primarygift.co.uk You might even forward this post to him or her. Better still, buy the book, app or ebook, use it to discover your own primary gift then pass it on to your leader. All the best and click here to buy Know your spiritual gifts

 


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Failure to Launch 2 – Why some churches fail to mobilise people’s primary gifts.

Today we consider another reason why churches fail to realise the spiritual potential of their church in their presumption that:

‘everyone knows, understands and uses their spiritual gifts.’

Oh, how I wish this was the case but sadly most people don’t have a clue about their spiritual gifts let alone the one that is primary among them. There are many reasons why this happens but very often it’s because the minister doesn’t understand the subject well enough themselves and

  • avoids teaching on the basic spiritual gifts (pastor, teacher, evangelist, server etc) or
  • opts for teaching solely on  ‘supernatural gifts’  (tongues, prophesy, interpretation, etc).

Of course,  it’s our responsibility to research and discover our spiritual gifts for ourselves. When hungry, we don’t wait  for someone to feed us. Likewise, we shouldn’t wait for a minister to do it. Indeed, it could be the minister’s primary gift is not as a teacher which means  you may have to provide  that particular sermon series.

Last weekend I taught a lovely group of people from a local church about primary and formational gifts  – and a whole load of other stuff. It was great to see their eyes light up as they discovered the different ways God had equipped them as pastors, evangelists, prophets, teachers, preachers, servers etc. A few already knew their gifts though even that had happened  more by chance than intention. If you don’t know your spiritual gift set, consider getting my book or ebook. www.primarygift.co.uk


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Why some churches fail to help people discover spiritual gifts.

There are many reasons why spiritual gifts discernment fails to happen in some churches. In the series starting today we will consider six reasons. The first of these being:

‘a pervading culture of volunteerism.’

It’s no surprise that many church leaders when faced with gaping holes in church minstry areas  often resort to taking matters in their own hands. For some, this might be a plea from the front of church seeking  people to help with youth work, or assist with creche, or be part of a social action or children’s ministry.  Naturally, at the time, it makes perfect sense to ask people to help out where none exist. However, useful as these volunteers are as a temporary fix to an ongoing problem – in that they buy time until the right people can be found –  they are never the complete answer as that will always involves someone who has a God-given passion for the ministry and the accompanying gift that will drive and sustain it in the long term.

What usually happens when servant-hearted people  help out with a spiritual ministry outside of their own passion and calling is that they find themselves ill-equipped for what they are being asked to do. While there is nothing wrong with helping out in the short-term, problems occur when the temporary ends up replacing the long term need to find the person with the gift and passion to lead that ministry.

While volunteerism will always be a short-term fix for churches, the wise minister audits his or her congregation to elicit each person’s passion and the primary spiritual gifts they possess – maybe as teacher or preacher or pastor or evangelist , etc.  Only as leaders move to this type of forward planning will the need for volunteers be replaced  by a congregation who know their God-given passion and equipping that is ready-made for that particular vacant ministry within the church.


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Spiritual gift discernment (6 of 6)

 

 

Last week, we considered the excuse ‘I just make the tea and coffee’ which although it is a valuable act of service, it is limiting if we never develop beyond that. Today, we turn our attention to the last excuse people offer as to why they don’t know or engage with their spiritual gifts. That being

‘We don’t receive much teaching on that sort of thing in our church.’

Now, of all the reasons we have looked at, this is the one I have most sympathy with because  there is clearly a dearth of teaching on spiritual gifts in churches. How do I know this? Well, when I visit churches or meet with christians I simply ask them ‘What’s your primary spiritual gift?’ Sometimes I have to explain what I mean but (generally) in response, they give me one of the six excuses we have just looked at. Seldom do they say – I’m a pastor with a passion for….Or I’m a server engaged in …(lists ministries).

There are many reasons why teaching on spiritual gifts in churches fails to happen  –  and (in the series starting next week) we will look at the various factors. But let me finish today with this thought because much as the minister must take responsibility for what is and isn’t taught in church and why, the onus of learning and responding to spiritual gift discernment and growth, rests with each of us as we are inspired and motivated by God.

With this in mind, we each need to respond to the challenge of identifying our primary spiritual gift and ensuring we each utilise and maximise the time spent operating in our primary gift – in doing so, God’s Kingdom will advance and we will marvel at how energising, fulfilling and satisfactory it is to do the thing we have been called to do.  Find out more at primary gift.


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Why it’s important to know your spiritual gifts? (5 of 6)

 

Having considered how we each have the potential to operate in a range of spiritual gifts of which only one will be uniquely tailored to us building God’s Kingdom here on earth, we come to another excuse as to why people do not engage with spiritual growth – namely:

‘I just make the tea and coffee.’

While it is great that some people provide tea and coffee each week in church, there is something wrong when this becomes the only activity they engage in. Why? Because the remit of one’s primary spiritual gift as server should be so much more than that. To be servant-hearted is to allow oneself to be moulded and directed by God to support other people in their ministries, providing a witness to Christ through sacrificial giving.

Years ago, a well-known minister (who shall remain nameless) was quoted as saying that if he wanted to find the next set of leaders in the church, he would look to see who remained behind at the end of a service to stack/put away the chairs. True, making the tea is a useful  act of service but those who are diligent in this should expect other opportunities to follow that will result in them taking on greater responsibility in the church.

Summarising, if a person makes the tea and coffee in church, this is just the first of many acts of service they will be called on to do as they fulfil your calling to model Christ to people around them. If you are that person, understand that  God is pleased but he has so much more in store for you!

Find out more at primary gift.


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Why it’s important to know your spiritual gifts (4 of 6)

 

Okay, having put to bed the binary understanding of how a person either will or won’t know their spiritual gifts (and woe betide any who attempt to find this out for themselves), we turn our attention to the fourth response that people give for not deving deeper in their understanding because they:

 have all the spiritual gifts.

Now while it is basically true that most believers have the potential to possess a multitude of spiritual gifts, such a statement seems to suggest that the onus is on the believer to use every gift in equal measure which is clearly not the case. Imagine a person who is a teacher one minute, a preacher the next, an administrator after that, an evangelist by tea-time, a generous giver on the way home, a server in the community, a leader of others (etc). In time, the person would tire to the point of exhaustion because he or she is not equipped to operate in such a way for extended periods of time. In the same way that a man could not crawl on his ears or look with his foot.

We see this in 1 Corithians 12 in which the the Church is made up in such a way that different parts of it requires various specialisms. That’s why it notes (v15) that if the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

In short, God’s Kingdom necessitate each of us realise that we have a specialism which is our responsibility to nurture and cultivate – a gift that stands tall among the many spiritual gifts we possess, which when combined with our God-given passion, will achieve great things for God.


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