Spiritual Gifts and Community Service
By Berit Kjos – July 2004
“The Church of the 21st Century is reforming itself into a multi-faceted service operation.” Bob Buford, founder of Leadership Network and founding president of the Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management.
“More and more social needs are being met by these private organizations rather than large government bureaucracies…. Peter Drucker has called this private sector of social services the fastest growing segment of economies around the world.”
“[Rick] Warren says, ‘I read everything Peter Drucker writes…. Long before words like ’empowerment’ became popular, Peter was telling us that the secret of achieving results is to focus on your strengths, and the strengths of those you work with, rather than focusing on weaknesses.”“Community Connections“
“[God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'” 2 Corinthians 12:9
“God has a unique role for you to play in his family,” writes Pastor Warren. “This is called your ‘ministry,’ and God has gifted you for this assignment: ‘A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.‘ [1 Co 12:7-8, NLT] Your local fellowship is the place God designed for you to discover, develop and use your gifts.” [4, page 134]
Yes, that’s partly true. God calls each of us to specific roles in the Church. In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul wrote,
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant…There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge…. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
Yet, His work through us isn’t limited to “the local fellowship.” God will use the gifts He gives us wherever He sends us. He will equip us for any assignment He gives us — when we hear and follow Him. “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” [1 Thessalonians 5:24] While your service to Him may start at our local church, His true Church reaches around the world. Pastor Warren points that out in a later section of His book.
Today’s popular church surveys and “continual assessments” are misleading tools for discovering our spiritual gifts and place of ministry. Yet they — along with peer opinions and personal “experimentation” — are among the tools new members of Saddleback Church are encouraged to use to “discover,” record, and develop their spiritual gifts and potential for service. Though God doesn’t command us to “discover” our gifts, the man-made rules of the new church-growth hierarchy do. Continue reading