The second principle for life-giving churches is GIFT-ORIENTED MINISTRY. This means the pastor is getting the right people, in the right place, with the right training and releasing them “for the work of the ministry.” Ephesians 4:12 One of the main responsibilities of church leadership is helping church members identify their gifts and placing them into appropriate ministry. We waste people’s God given talents when we ask them to serve outside their gifts. They become easily discouraged and need more attention from the leader because we are asking them to do something which is not natural for them.
When Christians serve in the area of their gifts, they generally work less in their own strength and more in the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things without becoming exhausted. There is a highly significant relationship between gift-orientation and job assignments. The people working within their gifts are happier and more fulfilled than those working outside their gifts.
Many leaders do not know how to identify their follower’s gifts and how to match their ministry assignments. There can be misunderstanding about this principle. In some countries it is estimated that 80% of all Christians cannot identify their spiritual gifts.
MECHANICAL leaders tend to dictate which ministries lay-persons assume. They start a ministry and then begin looking for volunteers to accomplish it. If they do not find enough volunteers they begin to pressure people into helping by making them feel guilty. Guilt is a negative motivation and people who are motivated to work by guilt eventually quit working and leave the church. This results in negative church growth.
REVIVALIST leaders on the other hand usually only recognize the manifestation gifts of the Holy Spirit and do not believe motivational gifts are important. They do not believe it is spiritual to study and determine natural gifting. But natural gifts are as much a gift from God as spiritual gifts. Every gift of God is important and should be treated with respect.
NATURAL church growth leaders believe there should be harmony between the Motivational Gifts of God the Father and the Manifestation Gifts of God the Holy Spirit. They help people discover their motivational gifts believing they should match their ministry involvement with their natural gifts. They also provide training in the area of their volunteer’s gifts to help them maximize their effectiveness. This creates a win/win situation. Both the church and the lay minister prosper and grow because of this arrangement. This is called synergy where each party is mutually energized because of their relationship.
Farming has shown where only one type of crop is planted soon the soil is depleted of certain nutrients and this causes soil erosion. It is wiser to plant different kinds of plants and so we do not over-work the soil. We should also plant different types of plants which mature at different times. This ensures us that we will always be experiencing a time of harvest. This principle is called REAPING the RIPE. In the same way if we allow people to work within their gifts they do not burn-out in the process. Instead of forcing people to work in our programs we are wiser to help them discover their gifts and provide them opportunities to minister in places matching their giftedness.
This survey showed that bigger churches are not necessarily better churches. In fact, the larger the church becomes the more difficult it is to involve people in ministry.
Many Christians mistake uniformity for unity. Instead of trying to create an environment where everybody becomes a carbon copy of the leader we would do better by creating a spirit of peace which allows for diversity. Teach your people to respect the uniqueness of each individual and allow them to express their worship to God through their gifts.
“Symbiosis” is the intimate living together of two dissimilar organisms in a mutually beneficial relationship. Each of the two organisms benefits from the partnership. An example of this is the cow-bird. Both the cow and the bird profit by their co-operation. The cow is relieved of annoying pests and the bird feeds on the same pests. It is a mutual benefit to both of them.
Reviews for Life-Giving Churches: Lesson 3