Have you ever had someone turn their nose up at a gift you gave them? That would hurt. Imagine how you would feel if someone rejected a gift you died trying to give them! I’m not talking about salvation either.
A believer cannot reject the gift of God’s Spirit. To reject His Spirit is to reject the Lord Himself (Acts 2:38; Romans 8:9-11). I love the gift of God’s wonderful Spirit in my life. The power of the Spirit kept me from drugs, crime, and making tragic decisions in my teen years and early adulthood. Without that Spirit, I do not belong to the Lord at all (see Romans 8).
But I am not writing here about the gift of the Holy Ghost. I assume you understand all that.
Churches, for the most part, are rejecting expensive gifts—yes, even many Spirit-filled churches are making this mistake. You see, Jesus “ascended on high,” after His resurrection, and “gave gifts to people” (Ephesians 4:8). Here are the gifts Jesus gave to the church:
- pastors and teachers.
These are gifts from Jesus—expensive gifts He gave the church.
Does your church accept these gifts or only accept a few? Most churches have a pastor (although what we mean by the term and what the Bible means might not match). Frequently, churches have teachers in various levels and classes. And we might invite in an evangelist every few months or so who may or may not match the biblical meaning of what an evangelist is.
Some churches teach against apostles. Some do not believe in prophets today. Very few use those terms even if they believe in them.
Yet Jesus gave us these full-dimension ministry gifts “with a view to the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12, LITV). So, churches that reject some of the ministry roles Jesus gave us will never be fully built up as His body. The believers in these churches will never be perfected (mature, skilled) for the work of the ministry.
One of the problems is that most churches do not use the gifts they accept correctly. They think the pastor is there to do ministry. Jesus gave a pastor (shepherd) to prepare the flock for doing ministry. Many churches speak of the “ministry team” instead of the “ministry-development team.”
So, I have pointed out two paradigms that need to change.
- We have to accept the gifts Jesus gave—apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher.
- These gifted leaders must then train and equip others to do ministry.
Yes, there is much more to say on this.
Yes, I will.
If you want to start equipping your church to be what Jesus designed, you can start by teaching the DiscipleMaker series. You will be shocked at what you discover the church was really supposed to be in Jesus’s own teachings. (It is a good surprise.)
Did you know that the pastor is not the head of the church? Jesus is! Some people say a woman cannot be a pastor because she cannot be the head. Did you know the bible gives examples of both men and women being apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers? If this is new to you, you need my series on women in ministry!