Diversity of Gifts (Ministries)
Very recently, three different Christian men spoke to me passionately about their views on ministry (all within seven days of each other). None of these men were from my church. And I don’t know any one of them well. However, I do believe all three love the Lord. I also believe God was using their passion to teach me an important lesson.
The first was telling me about his church. He loves his church and believes they are doing it right. ‘Our church is all about missions. That’s what it is all about, training and sending missionaries. That is what we focus on. That is what we do.’
Wow, what a great ‘mission’ for a church. But I found myself thinking, ‘Is that really what it is all about? As important as missions work is, isn’t there more a church is supposed to do?’
Five days later, another man started talking to me about ‘finding my prayer language.’ He told me that I would never experience true power and reach my potential as a witness for Christ until I, ‘receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues.’
I appreciated his enthusiasm, and I am quite sure he wasn’t intending to hurt me, but honestly, what I heard was that I am inferior to him because I haven’t ever spoken in tongues.
The next evening I ran into an acquaintance and we started talking about Christ and church. He started telling about his church. He was very emphatic that, ‘It’s all about making disciples! That is what our church does. We aren’t about money. We make disciples!’
Discipleship is a passion of mine and I certainly believe it is very important. But imagine a church that does nothing but makes disciples (students/learners). Where do the ‘doers’ come from? I didn’t have the opportunity to ask him what his definition of, ‘making disciples’ was. But again, I was thinking, ‘Is the church just about one thing or the other? Missions? Speaking in tongues? Making disciples?’
Sure it is about being an effective witness for Christ: Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12; John 13:35
Sure it is about missions and making disciples: Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; Mark 3:13-15
If I am honest, I have to admit that for several days I felt all three of these men were going to extremes. Then, thankfully, through prayer and patience, God spoke to me and let me know that I was being judgmental.
1 Corinthians 12:18 says: But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
So who am I to say that God will not assemble a local body of believers to focus specifically on missions, or discipleship, or whatever He wants to accomplish.
And regarding tongues, who am I to say that God will not richly bless a believer and empower them by the gift of tongues, or prophecy, or teaching, or any spiritual gift He chooses.
1 Corinthians 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
But beyond the lesson of not judging what God may be doing in another church, I was tremendously blessed to recognize the diversity of ministries in the church I belong to. We support missions, we make disciples and we are an effective witness for Christ.
Reach out in the community to meet needs – James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Use the various ministry of the church to edify (build up) the church body – Ephesians 4:11-12 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Minister to the poor – Psalm 41:1 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.
And much, much more…
Be very careful of judging what God is doing in another church. The fact that you are uncomfortable with it is probably why God didn’t put your there. And be sure to be thankful to God for placing you in a church according to His desire to use your gifts and abilities.
Father, I confess being judgmental. But I thank You for revealing this to me and helping me understand just a little bit more about You. I thank You so much for my church and how You work in different ways in each church. Draw me closer to You every single day. Use me according to Your will. Praise to Your holy name. In Christ name I lift my prayer and praise. Amen.