Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Church Governance (16)

Paul is talking about gifts, so he does not call them ministries. A gift is not a role, even if it is something that someone in a role can use.

Nor are these spiritual gifts. The word used for gift in Eph 4 (
doma) is not the same as the word used for spiritual gifts (xarismata) used in 1 Cor 12. Spiritual gifts are the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian, which goes beyond what they can naturally do. In Ephesians 4, Paul is not talking about gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to people when they need some extra power.

Gifts can only come from two sources. They can be given by the Holy Spirit as he wills, or they can be innate within a person's character and personality. The spiritual gifts are the former, the ascension gifts are the latter.

The ascension gifts are people. Paul is talking about people who are given as gifts to the church. These people are the gifts. The different personalities of the elders of a church combine together to strengthen it. This suggests that these gifts are innate personality traits with which people are born.

  • Some people are born seeing things in black and white (prophetic). If this is ability is developed they can become prophetic. If their gifting is not developed appropriately, they can become grumpy old men.

  • Some people are born with this urge to push the boundaries and break new ground. They love staring new things, but once the project is up and running, they quickly get bored and start looking for a new challenge. Many of these people become entrepreneurs. A few of these people become apostles in the church.

  • Some are born with a compassionate heart and an ability to care for people. When they see strife, they try to bring peace. When they see people hurting, they naturally reach out to touch them. A person with this gifting can become a very effective pastor-teacher.

  • Some people are born with the gift of relating to new people in all situations. They are animated when they are with new people. They love to have a crowd gathering around them. Many of these people get into sales and marketing or mass media. When these people come to faith in Jesus they are natural evangelists.

Life experience and the work of the Spirit may extenuate these giftings, but it is hard to see how this can happen, if the gifting is not already there. These personality types have to be anointed by the Spirit and shaped by him to manifest his fruit, but it is hard to move into a relevant role, if you do not have the appropriate personality.

The ascension gifts are not spiritual powers that are given to people (like the gifts in 1 Cor 12). The ascension gifts are the people that God gives to each church. Each church needs all each of these types of people to grow to maturity.

The church is not just for a certain type of person. The commitment to love allows totally different types of people to belong to the same body and work together for its good.

Apostles like to start new things and go new places. They are not so good at dealing with people problems. If people change quickly and get going, they are fine. However, apostles get frustrated with people who need a lot of time to get back on track, because they are already wanting to move on to the next new thing. That is why they need to be working with pastors, who love this people stuff.

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