Spiritual Giftedness is possibly one of the least appreciated and thus one of the least heeded teachings of the New Testament church function. In recent time there has been a resurgence of people seeking to discover their giftedness. However, seeking to individually discover and exercise giftedness as a personal pursuit is not at all what the New Testament speaks about. In fact, this “Lone Ranger” approach is condemned in scripture when it happened in Corinth in 1 Cor 14 because it missed the point. Spiritual giftedness is not about the personal satisfaction of having “done my part” or even “satisfying my Christian responsibilities of service.” Rather, it is about accomplishing the purpose for which Christ created His body.
There are several non-miraculous gifts mentioned in Romans 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12: Leadership, service, showing mercy, giving, exhortation, evangelism, pastoring & teaching, administration, and a non-miraculous form of prophecy (If you’re are unsure about non-miraculous prophecy, shoot me an e-mail about it & I’ll tell you more).
A great analogy to get how these gifts can be used together in harmony has only come along a few thousand years after the N.T. in the form of a road trip. The way the New Testament speaks of these gifts working together in order to accomplish our purpose as a church is a little bit like what it takes to make it to your destination on a road trip.
Leadership - this is the GPS device (or road map), it sets direction for all to follow; points us down the path of following Christ and bringing others to follow Him. Everyone should know that a GPS without a correct destination plugged in, or without constant contact with the satellites is useless. So it is with leadership that does not stay connected to Christ, the head. AS soon as leadership starts going wherever it wants, the GPS horror stories begin. Leadership is essential for the church, but these leaders are not dictators, but more like a GPS that can be reprogrammed, courses are never in absolute control and can be corrected as needed. Thus leaders are themselves directed by the instruction of Christ and instruction and guidance of shepherds and evangelists.
Administration - is like the driver of the car. I say this because this person guides every knob, control, petal, etc. This gift organizes every other part of the trip following the direction of the leader. Effective administration ensures that each one does their own job, without having to worry about picking up the slack of other jobs, which enables each one to do their own job more effectively. If a church lacks administration, it will lack organization and will often have many people working hard, but often the most important things will forever be slipping through the cracks. For example, someone gifted in evangelism might be out doing an act of service or showing mercy while contacts who need to be engaged slip out unnoticed. The administrator can organize to make sure mercy showers and servers are on target with that need so that the evangelist can focus on those contacts who need to be evangelized.
Servants - are all the pistons, engine block, pedals, knobs, tires, gas tank, and most pieces of hardware of the vehicle. Bottom line, if you don’t have these, you don't have a car (or a church). These are those who will accomplish each and every detail along the way to make sure the car drives and can even move forward. There are many diversified areas where hands-on service is needed, and thus there are many in the body gifted in this way. Everything from preparing the Lord’s supper to cooking meals, cleaning the building, and any other behind the scenes action.
Mercy showers - is the brake pedal, needed to pick those up who fall or stumble along the way. They say, “man overboard, put on the brakes and lets get this guy up!” If I had to choose a car part for this, it would be a mechanic that rides in your back seat, and who carefully monitors each part to focus on those that need maintenance.
Givers - these are the gas in the tank, through their liberality, these provide the necessary resources to arrive at our destination. We all have a calling to give, but these are mature in the grace of God and gifted to provide extra resources for the Kingdom. They are essential!
Pastors & Teachers - this is the car manual/ driver’s ed coach/mechanic! Except a little different because they are needed along the way to provide continued training and knowledge of how each one can use their gift in following Christ. So, this coach is an experienced driver, who has been there and back, and is in the car to coach all the others so they can maximize their gifts to reach the goal. Their experience and closeness to the Lord means they can diagnose and repair many car problems with the Lord’s toolbox.
Exhortation - this is the radio station (or the Energy drink). It encourages you, keeps the spirit’s up & fans them into flame! It makes sure nobody is sleeping on the job, & keeps us going strong. A good example here is someone who shares encouragement thru words in writing notes, making visits, sharing messages, etc. This person gets to know others and is concerned with how to spur them on in their Christian walk.
Evangelism - this person convinces others to jump in the car as we head toward our destination. He has a close relationship with the car manufacturer and knows its optimal performance. He thus can help direct others into use their giftedness, getting people on board and plugged-in in such a way that newcomers become active participants.
Prophecy - this is the warning lights on the dash, that tell us if something is going wrong, if part of the car is out of line with the production manual. They are easy to ignore, especially by the admins and leaders if they think the journey is going well, but to ignore those who say, “the scripture points us toward another way…” are making a huge blunder.
Having a body that works perfectly is different from having a car that runs perfectly, however. A car must have perfection from the mechanics, but the body can run even with imperfect people! Because the body of Christ is a self-healing, self-correcting body. When someone falls into sin and need restoration, or experiences hurt or discouragement and needs healing or encouragement the body is equipped for that, and it doesn’t get off track of break down.
The ministry car only breaks down in a failure of the following:
Otherwise, as long as members are walking in the light and offering themselves to the body for service, this car will flat out run! God sure does know what He is doing with His designs doesn’t He?