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Use Your Spiritual Gifts to Help Your Church Grow

  • Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
  • 2005 7 Jul
  • COMMENTS
Use Your Spiritual Gifts to Help Your Church Grow

If you're a Christian, God has given you at least one spiritual gift. And those gifts aren't just for your own benefit; their purpose is to bless entire Body of Christ. When you discover your spiritual gift(s) and use them in your local church, you'll see amazing growth take place for everyone in your congregation.

 

Here's how you can use your spiritual gifts to help your church grow:

 

Understand what truly constitutes a spiritual gift. Know that your spiritual gift (or combination of gifts) determines your purpose in Christ's Body. Spiritual gifts are special attributes given by the Holy Spirit to every member of the Body of Christ, according to God's grace, for use within the context of the Body. A spiritual gift is not a natural talent (everyone has natural talents, but only believers have spiritual gifts), a fruit of the Spirit (all Christians should develop the same fruit, whereas only certain Christians receive particular spiritual gifts), or a role (Christians should be ready to fill any role in case of an emergency or temporary need, but that doesn't necessarily mean the role makes use of their unique strengths). Ask God to help you discern true spiritual gifts from counterfeit ones that come from the evil side of the spiritual realm.

 

Recognize that many people have a mix of spiritual gifts. Realize that you may likely have more than one spiritual gift. Know that God expects you to use all the gifts He has given you as you serve Him.

 

Be thankful rather than proud. Humbly be grateful to God for giving you whatever spiritual gift(s) He has. Don't think of yourself more highly than you ought, but also realize that you are a valuable person whom God wants to use. Seek to glorify God and bless other people whenever you use your spiritual gifts.

 

Don't abuse the gifts. Never use a spiritual gift to acquire personal power, gain wealth, take revenge, or exploit fellow believers. Don't exalt any particular type of gift over another; realize that in God's eyes, all are equally valuable. Don't project a gift you have onto another person to whom God may not have given that specific gift. Give other people the freedom to exercise their own unique gifts.

 

Discover your unique gifts. Remember that there are four prerequisites to discovering your gifts: You have to be a Christian, you have to believe in spiritual gifts, you have to be willing to do the work necessary to use your spiritual gifts, and you have to pray for God's guidance. Explore the possibilities by studying what the Bible says about spiritual gifts, learning your church's position on spiritual gifts and how to use them in ministry, read what Christian authors have to say on the subject, talk to people who are already using their spiritual gifts, and discuss with friends and family what you think your gifts might be. Then experiment with as many gifts as you can by looking for needs in your church and trying to meet them.

Through the process, take note of what gifts you seem to have - and those you seem not to have. Examine your feelings to see if the work you're trying out excites you or not (ministry that makes use of one of your spiritual gifts should excite you). Evaluate your effectiveness by seeing if your church gets positive results from your work. Know that when true gifts are in operation, whatever is supposed to happen through them will happen. Look for confirmation from other people in your congregation that you have (or don't have) particular spiritual gifts.

 

Help your church maximize the potential of its members' spiritual gifts. Encourage church leaders to develop a philosophy of ministry that details how members' spiritual gifts should be used in ministry. Initiate programs to help people put their gifts to use in specific ways within your church. Use members efficiently. Don't chain people's energies in activities for which they are not gifted. Instead, concentrate on people's strengths in order to give the Holy Spirit free reign. Have the pastor preach sermons on spiritual gifts and teach about the topic often. Provide opportunities for laypeople to study spiritual gifts in Bible studies, small groups, and Sunday School classes. Set goals for people to discover their spiritual gifts, expecting that emotionally mature adults should be able to discover their gifts within about four months to one year after becoming Christians. Hold people accountable to each other for discovering their gifts and using them. Make an emphasis on spiritual gifts part of your congregation's permanent lifestyle.

 

Understand the different types of spiritual gifts:

  • The gift of celibacy is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to remain single and enjoy it and not suffer undue sexual temptation.

  • The gift of martyrdom is a special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to undergo suffering for the faith even to death while consistently displaying a joyous and victorious attitude that brings glory to God.

  • The gift of hospitality is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to provide an open house and warm welcome for those in need of food and lodging.

  • The gift of intercession is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to pray for extended periods of time on a regular basis and see frequent and specific answers to their prayers to a degree much greater than that which is expected of the average Christian.

  • The gift of leading worship is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to accurately discern the heart of God for a particular public worship service, to draw others into an intimate experience of God during the worship time and to allow the Holy Spirit to change directions and emphases as the service progresses.

  • The gift of giving is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to contribute their material resources to the work of the Lord liberally and cheerfully, above and beyond the tithes and offerings expected of all believers.

  • The gift of voluntary poverty is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to renounce material comfort and luxury and adopt a personal lifestyle equivalent to those living at the poverty level in a given society in order to serve God more effectively.

  • The gift of discernment is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to know with assurance whether certain behaviors purported to be of God are in reality divine, human, or satanic.

  • The gift of deliverance is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to cast out demons and evil spirits.

  • The gift of teaching is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to communicate information relevant to the health and ministry of the Body and its members in such a way that others will learn.

  • The gift of pastor is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ (both clergy and laypeople) to assume a long-term personal responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers.

  • The gift of exhortation is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to minister words of comfort, consolation, encouragement, and counsel to other members of the Body n such a way that they feel helped and healed.

  • The gift of administration is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to understand clearly the immediate and long-range goals of a particular unit of the Body and to devise and execute effective plans for the accomplishment of those goals.

  • The gift of faith is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to discern with extraordinary confidence the will and purposes of God for the future of His work.

  • The gift of leadership is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to set goals in accordance with God's purpose for the future and to communicate these goals to others in such a way that they voluntarily and harmoniously work together to accomplish those goals for the glory of God.

  • The gift of evangelist is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to share the gospel with unbelievers in such a way that men and women become Jesus' disciples and responsible members of the Body of Christ.

  • The gift of missionary is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to minister whatever other spiritual gifts they have in a second culture.

  • The gift of apostle is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to assume and to exercise divinely imparted authority in order to establish the foundational government of an assigned sphere of ministry within the church. An apostle hears from the Holy Spirit and sets things in order accordingly for the church's health, growth, maturity, and outreach.

  • The gift of knowledge is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to discover, accumulate, analyze, and clarify information and ideas that are pertinent to the growth and well-being of the Body.

  • The gift of wisdom is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to know the mind of the Holy Spirit in such a way as to receive insight into how given knowledge may best be applied to specific needs arising in the Body of Christ.

  • The gift of mercy is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to feel genuine empathy and compassion for individuals, both Christian and non-Christian, who suffer distressing physical, mental, or emotional problems, and to translate that compassion into cheerfully done deeds that reflect Christ's love and alleviate the suffering.

  • The gift of helps is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to invest the talents they have in the life and ministry of other members of the Body, thus enabling those others to increase the effectiveness of their own spiritual gifts.

  • The gift of service is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to identify the unmet needs involved in a task related to God's work, and to make use of available resources to meet those needs and help accomplish the desired goals.

  • The gift of prophecy is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to receive and communicate an immediate message of God to His people through a divinely anointed utterance.

  • The gift of tongues is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ (1) to speak to God in a language they have never learned and/or (2) to receive and communicate an immediate message from God to His people through a divinely anointed utterance in a language they have never learned.

  • The gift of interpretation of tongues is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to make known in the vernacular the message of one who speaks in tongues.

  • The gift of miracles is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to serve as human intermediaries through whom it pleases God to perform powerful acts that are perceived by observers to have altered the ordinary course of nature.

  • The gift of healing is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to serve as human intermediaries through whom it pleases God to cure illness and restore health apart from the use of natural means.

 


Adapted from Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow, copyright 2005, 1994, and 1979 by C. Peter Wagner.  Published by Regal Books, from Gospel Light, Ventura, Ca., 1-800-4-GOSPEL, www.regalbooks.com.   

 

C. Peter Wagner is widely recognized as a leading authority in the fields of church growth, prayer, and spiritual warfare. Wagner is cofounder of the World Prayer Center and is chancellor of the Wagner Institute in Colorado Springs, Co. He is the author or editor of more than 50 books, including Churchquake!, Changing Church and Acts of the Holy Spirit.