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In this series of eight articles, we are discussing church growth based on seven essential ingredients for "automatic" church growth. This fourth article summarizes the third quality characteristic.
The church growing by God's natural laws honors its giftedness. Jesus Christ gave gifts to men (Eph. 4:7, 11). These gifts are for the functioning of the body (4:12). These gifts are for the benefit of the body (1 Cor. 12:7). Christians receive spiritual gifts to serve others (1 Pet. 4:10-11).
The church is composed of various members with unique talents and abilities, gifts and interests (1 Cor. 12). These are from God; they can be used in ministries which exalt Christ. The purpose of this article is not to enumerate the gifts (cf. 1 Cor. 12; Rom. 12; 1 Peter 4 for sample lists), but to note that a growing church empowers members for service according to these gifts. The empowerment of members is a biblical concept. The church that depends exclusively upon its preacher(s) and/or church leaders for what gets done is spiritually bankrupt, and is missing a wonderful opportunity for effective ministry in various venues.
Synergy is a principle that says combined efforts can accomplish more than the sum total of the individual efforts considered individually. God's plan for the church is synergistic. When Christians work in concert and combine their efforts, the church is a body which can fully participate in this world to accomplish God's purposes.
In this church, we have a number of ministries that in reality depend upon you for their effectiveness. These ministries are constantly defined and redefined for their connections with the objectives of God. When something we are doing is no longer advancing kingdom things, we ought to take note. The leaders are committed to providing structures and resources for ministry which encourage involvement of the members in God's work. The elders and deacons alone cannot make the church what it must be.
What is your spiritual gift? What are the abilities God has uniquely given you for the betterment of the body of Christ? How aware are you that you are a gifted Christian? Coming weeks will give you an opportunity to answer these questions. When the "Gifting/Gifted" series is announced I hope you'll participate fully. Meanwhile, will you pray about your gifts? Will you affirm in others the gifts you see? Will you listen when others affirm your giftedness? Let's encourage one another.
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