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A Gift for Today...continued

Ministry Gifts

The ministry gifts are given by the risen Christ to the church to function within the church to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Eph 4:8 This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men."

Eph 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,

It does not matter if you count these gifts as four or five separate entities; the point is that these ministries are functioning within the church.

These ministry gifts are to equip the church for the work of the ministry. They are not titles or positions or offices to be occupied but functions, both inside and outside the local church and are not to be confused with the government of the church.

Ian Jagelman in his book "The Empowered Church" (16) says:

"Many years ago I interviewed Loren Cunningham, the founder of Youth with a Mission, on the subject of leadership. Loren made a statement I have never forgotten. He said 'A true leader is a leaders of leaders'. In terms of pure logic, the statement makes no sense, because eventually you run out of leaders to be led by leaders to be led by leaders. But the truth of the statement is none the less significant.

Some people who are called leaders have such a strong preaching gift that they easily attract followers. But when you look at their ministry team, you see that there are no strong leaders following them. By definition they are ministers but not leaders.

Another person may not possess a dynamic ministry gift but builds a large church because of other strong leaders, with powerful ministry gifts, find it easy to follow his or her leadership. This person is more than a minister. He or she is a true leader. Let me try and define the difference between ministry and leadership.

is an activity which serves the needs of people. It includes such things as preaching, teaching, counselling, praying, visiting, feeding, and cleaning.

is an activity which directs, influences, or facilitates ministry by others. It includes such things as planning, decision-making, personnel selection and vision setting.

The problem is not only that people confuse ministry with leadership. It is also that many organisational structures within churches exist solely for ministry, providing little scope for leadership."

Again in the book "Identifying and developing Christian Leaders" (17) Ian Jagelman says,

"In 'The Empowered Church', the focus was so much on leadership that some pastors who read it felt I was saying that leadership was more important than ministry. That was never my intention but I retain my conviction that ' ministry builds people but leadership builds churches', and that if we do not have healthy growing churches then our capacity to minister is severely restricted."

Ministry gifts should not and were never meant to be one and the same as the government of the church. The government of the church should be made up of men and women who are leaders, whether they are a gift person or not, and gift people whether they are a leader or not.

In fact, these gift people personify the ministries that the body is equipped, by them, to move in. Any one of the ministerial functions is open to both male and female. There were female prophets, Acts 21:9, Philip's daughters, and female apostles, Romans 16:7, Junia, and I am sure further study would reveal more women involved in the ministry.

In parts of India they believe that the Pastor is:
an Apostle = if he was not sent to the community, what was he doing there?
a Prophet = if he did not speak for God then who did he speak for?
an Evangelist = if he did not tell people the good news then who should?
a Teacher = as the shepherd, sent one, speaker for God, and oracle of the good news he alone is qualified to teach / feed the flock of God.

The outcome of this is a one-man band model in the church.

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