screen-shot-2013-04-11-at-1104462We are all unique
Each of us has a multiplicity of characteristics that make us unique. Yet so often we aspire to be like others and mould ourselves and our life styles to emulate them. The whole celebrity culture encourages us to do this. The advertisers try to harness this vulnerability. Clearly there are many things that we can learn from one another; Paul himself tells us to imitate him. But we need to be discerning in who and what we imitate, and how and why we do it. If it is just to become acceptable we are doomed to failure – we will not become that person however hard we try!

Diversity of the body
One wonderful thing about God’s glorious church is its diversity! Each church is unique as it is made up of unique people. So it is the leaders’ responsibility to help each individual to bring this uniqueness to the surface, to strengthen their hidden potential and to release it to the benefit of others. A serving church is one in which most of the members are active and participating together in ministry. How does this work?

In I Cor 12 Paul uses the analogy of the body to teach about spiritual gifts. He makes clear that no part of the body is redundant or independent. No part can say to another that ‘I have no need of you’ (1 Cor 12:21).

screen-shot-2013-04-25-at-1023492During the summer of 2012 we had the privilege of the Olympics and Paralympics being held in my home nation. In the Olympics we saw the amazing achievements that are possible as people work hard over many years to realise the maximum potential of every limb and organism. In the Paralympics we saw similar dedication. But the events were held separately as, for the Paralympians, there was some element of their bodies that was either missing or not functioning as intended. Though they too achieved amazing results these athletes demonstrated how the loss of a limb, say, had an effect on the whole body to the extent that they could not compete on equal terms with able-bodied athletes. They demonstrated that ideally they needed every part to be functioning properly and, impressive as the performances were, a substitute for any given part of the body did not fully replace that part in every respect.

Serving Profile
In developing a Serving Profile we will explore how the defining features of who we are can be helped to function to their full extent and contribute to the life of a healthy church. As we do so it will become clear how, in the church, we need each other. No-one can ‘do it all’. The strength of the church lies in large measure in the depth and breadth of the gifting and experience of the members being harnessed to work together.

There are seven components to the Profile:

  • Skills/Talents
  • Spiritual Gifts
  • Calling
  • Hearts Desire
  • Temperament
  • Time
  • Spiritual maturity

We shall look at each of these in turn. However a preliminary overview reveals that some of these components are ‘natural’ (though of course still God-given) while others are conspicuously supernatural. In the natural we are born with certain characteristics and we only have to discern the differences between children in the same family to recognise that such differences are in-built. They may be shaped with upbringing but cannot be fundamentally changed. Similarly, when we are baptised in the Spirit God entrusts us with gifts of his choosing. We can desire to have certain ones but they are received only when, in his sovereignty, God gives them.

In the next blog we shall consider what we mean by ‘serving’.

Bookmark and Share

[Post to Twitter] Tweet This 

Comments are closed.