In recent years, there has been a paradigm shift from building mission minded churches to building physical Cathedrals, buying sophisticated musical equipment, buying exotic cars and what is in vogue now; acquiring of private jets etc. The focus of the contemporary church is no longer on mission for the Lord of the Harvest but on mission for self and personal development. Besides, spiritual gifts are now used for personal aggrandizement instead of using them to build mission minded churches.
Sequel to the above scenario, this year 2019 Church Growth Conference theme is germane and timely. The task of building a mission minded church is a herculean task. But when our spiritual gifts are faithfully engaged in this task, success, fruitfulness, growth and mission minded churches are inevitable.
Therefore, in this discourse, we shall consider the introductory materials by defining some key words in our topic. We shall take a quantum leap from there to unveil the need for and nature of spiritual gifts. The nurture of spiritual gifts shall also be x-rayed.
Furthermore, we shall bring to the fore the Networking of spiritual gifts, the net-result of spiritual gifts shall also be considered. Finally, we shall enumerate some clogs in the wheel of progress in using our spiritual gifts in building a mission minded church. To these vital areas of our discourse, we shall now turn.
Definition of Terms
The following key words shall be defined in our topic. They are: Build, Mission, Church, Faithful, Stewardship, Spiritual Gifts and Mission Minded Church.
Build: To build means to make something especially a building. It is to form or mold. It also means to erect or construct. To build means to increase or strengthen.
Mission is the act of sending, or the state of being sent. It is sending people with a delegated authority to carry out a task. In the Christian context, it is a task on which God send his people to spread the Gospel to the unbelievers in order to make them candidates of His Kingdom.
Russell D. Moore in Holman illustrated Bible Dictionary defines church as an assembly, local bodies of believers or the universal body of all believers that congregate to worship God. According to Vines, the Greek word ekklesia that is used for the word church is a combination of two Greek words. They are “ek”, which means “out”, and “kaleo” which means “called ones”. Thus, the word church means called out ones. People who are called by God out of the world to His marvelous light in order to be a light to the world.
The word faithful means to have faith, to be full of faith; disposed to believe, especially in the declarations and promises of God. It is to be firm in adherence to promises, oaths, contracts, treaties, or other engagements. To be faithful is to be loyal, worthy of confidence and believe and of true fidelity.
Stewardship: Stewardship means the management or care of something, particularly the kind that works. A biblical world view of stewardship can be consciously defined as, “utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation.”
A Spiritual gift is a God-given ability, distributed to individual Christians by the Holy Spirit that allows him/her to work through their lives to help the church execute its mission on earth. Again, another writer opines that spiritual gifts are those endowments of power which enable us to carry out the vital functions of our body/life in Christ as members of His body. These endowments are a supernatural enablement so that supernatural results are produced. The primary Greek word used in the New Testament for spiritual gifts is “Charisma”. It means a gift of grace or grace gift, a free gift. It is related to Charis which means “grace”. Gifts are given by the Holy Spirit.
Mission-Minded Church: A mission minded church is a church that is fulfilling the Great Commission with a “Global Mindset”. It is having a mindset that missions should not be left for those who are missionaries, but that everyone should be involve in some form with mission. A mission minded church is a church that invests in bringing those that are lost and dying spiritually to the saving knowledge of Jesus. They have a heart-beat for missions and they are involved.
Having defined what “mission-minded” is, we shall attempt to list some characteristics of a mission minded church in our contemporary time. The full details of these characteristics shall be found in my book “Spiritual Gifts and a Mission Minded Church”
Characteristics of Mission-Minded Church
They have a Firm Theological Foundation
They a Proper Motivation for Missions
They are committed to Mission Involvement
Developing Exportable Modules Related to Missions Education and Training
They Engage in Short Term Mission Projects
They contribute to the Development of Missionaries
They Develop Relationships with Solid Missions Agencies
They encourage Home-based Mission Emphasis and Training
Doing whatever it takes to get the members involve in mission
Accept a Sister Church
Engage in Making Disciples
Have a Mission-Minded Leader
Have Genuine Love for the Lost and Mission Work
They Live a Holy Life
They Engage in Prayer
They Hear the Voice of God
The Need for Spiritual Gift in The Building Of Mission-Minded Churches
As we unveil the need for spiritual gift, we shall first of all, consider what spiritual a gift is not. Thereafter, we shall x-ray the need for spiritual gift.
What Spiritual Gift is Not
Spiritual gift is not for personal benefit
Spiritual gift is not for selfish gains
Spiritual gift is not to pride with
Spiritual gift is not for unbelievers
Spiritual gift cannot be bought with money
Spiritual gift is not to destroy the church
Spiritual gift is not to divide the church
Spiritual gift is not to punish people
Spiritual gift is not talent
If the aforementioned are not what spiritual gift is all about, what then is spiritual gift and the need or purpose of spiritual gift?
“A Spiritual gift is a God-given ability, distributed to individual Christians by the
Holy Spirit that allows him/her to work through their lives to help the church
execute its mission on earth.”
Again, another writer opines that spiritual gifts are those endowments of power which enable us to carry out the vital functions of our body life in Christ as members of His body. These endowments are a supernatural enablement so that supernatural results are produced. The primary Greek word used in the New Testament for spiritual gifts is “Charisma”. It means a gift of grace or grace gift, a free gift. It is related to Charis which means “grace”. Gifts are given by the Holy Spirit.
The Need for Spiritual Gift
Spiritual gift is for Believers
Spiritual gift is given for our common good (I Cor. 12:7)
Spiritual gift is given to us to supernaturally meet the needs of the church and those around us in our world.
Spiritual gift provides the needed energy that powers the church
Spiritual gift is given to believers to equip them for the work of the ministry
Spiritual gift is given to believers to unite the church of God
Spiritual gift is given to believers to attain maturity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God.
Spiritual gift is given to enhance our perfection in Christ.
Spiritual gift is purposely to edify the body of Christ and glorify God.
The Nature of Spiritual Gift
In this session, we shall list the spiritual gift in different passages of the Bible.
Spiritual Gifts in Romans 12
Exhortation Giving Leadership Mercy
Prophecy Service Teaching
Spiritual Gifts in I Cor. 12
Administration Apostle Discernment Faith Healings
Helps Knowledge Miracles Prophecy Teaching
Tongues Tongues Interpretation Wisdom
Spiritual Gifts in Ephesians 4:11-12
Apostle Evangelist Pastor Prophecy Teaching
Spiritual Gift in I Cor. 13:3 Spiritual Gift in Eph. 3:6-8
Voluntary Poverty Missionary
Spiritual Gift in I Cor. 13:3 Spiritual Gifts in I Cor. 7:7, 8
Spiritual Gifts in I Pet. 4:10-11
Exhortation Prophecy Teaching
Serving Types of Spiritual Gifts
Here, we have the following gifts
Helps – I Cor. 12:28 Hospitality – I Pet. 4:9, 10 Mercy – Rom. 12:8
Service – I Cor. 12:7 Giving – Rom. 12:8
Outreach Types of Spiritual Gifts
Apostle – Ephe. 4:11; I Cor. 12:28 Evangelist – Eph. 4:11 Missionary – Eph. 3:6-8
Tongues – I Cor. 12:10; 14:27-28 Interpretation of Tongues – I Cor. 12:10, 14:27-28
Speaking Types of Gifts
Here, we shall consider the following
Exhortation – Rom. 12;8
Prophecy – Rom. 12:6; I Cor. 12:10; Eph. 4:11
Teaching – Rom. 12:7; I Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11
Intercessory Types of Spiritual Gifts
Within the church, there are people who believe God can move mountains, and do the impossible. These people spur others to trust God for greater things. They have one of the following gifts.
Faith – I Cor. 12:8-10 Healing – I Cor. 12:9, 28, 30 Miracles – I Cor. 12:10, 28
Leading Types of Spiritual Gifts
God by His own grace through the Holy Spirit has gifted some to communicate His word, some to do acts of service, and others to lead them. Here, we shall consider the following leading types of spiritual gifts.
Administration – I Cor. 12:28 Leadership – Rom. 12:8 Pastor – Eph. 4:11
Insightful Types of Spiritual Gifts
In order to keep the body of Christ on track, and also provide insight based on the truth of God’s word, the insightful types of spiritual gifts are absolutely necessary. These gifts are:
Discernment – I Cor. 12:10 Knowledge – I Cor. 12:8 Wisdom – I Cor. 12:8
Here is Apostle Paul’s prayer for the Colossians
“We continually ask God to fill you with Knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:9-10).
From the above prayer of Paul, we have four purposes of these insightful gifts.
To Live a life worthy of the Lord
To please God in every way
To bear fruit in every good work
To grow in the knowledge of God
Voluntary Poverty (I Cor. 13:3) – To purposely live an impoverished lifestyle to serve and aid others with your material resources.
Celibacy (I Cor. 7:7-8) – To voluntarily remain single without regret and with the ability to maintain controlled sexual impulses so as to serve the Lord without distraction.
Martyrdom (I Cor. 13:3) – To give one’s life to suffer or to be put to death for the cause of Christ.
Nurture of Spiritual Gift
Having x-rayed the nature of spiritual gift, we shall now examine how these gifts can be nurtured. The word nurture means:
The act of nourishing or nursing. It is tender care, education, and training.
It is to feed, to nourish
To help, develop and help to grow
Therefore, nurturing of spiritual gift is how to grow and develop our spiritual gift(s). The goal is to sustain the gift(s) and utilize the gift(s) for and to the glory of God. We shall attempt to suggest some ways our gifts can be nurtured for kingdom business.
Feeding on God’s word
Building Intimate Relationship with God
Living a Holy Life
Absolute Obedience to God
Giving God the Glory
Mediating on God’s Word
Allowing the Holy Spirit to Lead you
Using the Gift Always
Networking of Spiritual Gift: In this session, we shall consider how we can work with our spiritual gift to build a mission minded church. Thus, we shall focus on different categories of spiritual gifts in the body of Christ and how they can team up to build a mission minded church that is viable and enviable. Again, here are the categories of gifts (SISOLI)
1. Serving Gifts 2. Speaking Gifts 3. Outreach Gifts
4. Leading Gifts 5. Insight Gifts
We shall examine these categories of gifts briefly.
Serving Types of Gifts – In this category, we have
Giving Help Hospitality Mercy and Service
In order to build a mission-minded church, those who have the above gifts can function by giving their resources – funds and materials to mission endeavours in the church and to the mission field. They can assist people at the church level in various ways by helping them to effectively do their jobs and/or ministries. Whatever help they can render in terms of giving, personal support, hospitality, showing mercy and caring for the needy and destitute in the society. People can give their lands and property for mission work. This category can build a mission minded church with their life, resources (funds and materials) at the church level and at the mission field.
Intercessory Types of Gifts – this category has the following
Faith Healing Miracles
The people in this category can use their gifts to build a mission-minded church by encouraging those who don’t have the gift of faith to have faith in God to do the needful in their lives. Their testimonies of faith in God will encourage others to build their faith in God.
When miracles have taken place at the church level in terms of salvation, deliverance from satanic bondage, people will be encouraged to support mission thrust. Christianity is practical. People want to see the manifestation of God’s power at the church level and in the mission field. When those who have gifts of healing and miracles are interceding daily for the manifestation of these gifts, there will be turn around in mission endeavour of the church.
Speaking Types of Gifts – This category includes
Exhortation Prophecy Teaching
The people with these gifts can build a mission-minded church through communication, through writing, singing, counseling and forth telling of God’s mind to the people. We need sound biblical teaching, genuine prophecy and sound and undiluted preaching. The prophetic trend and ministry we see in contemporary time are more of satanic ministry that has no place for mission. But when we have genuine teaching, preaching, exhortation, prophecy that comes from the Holy Spirit, it will metamorphose the mission thrust of the church and enhance her growth.
Outreach Types of Gifts – in this category, we have the following
Apostle Evangelist Missionary Tongues Interpretation of Tongues
The foundation of building a mission-minded church is here. When there is an evangelist, a missionary, an apostle, then the church is set for mission. Let the apostles and the evangelist go out to preach and plant churches, missionaries will be sent to the mission field. The gifts of tongues will be used in a cross-cultural mission and could also be interpreted by those who have interpretation of tongues. All of these gifts work together to build the body of Christ. If those who have these gifts can faithfully use them, a mission-minded church will be inevitable.
Leading Types of Spiritual Gifts – This category has the following
Administration Leadership Pastor
Building a mission-minded church requires a mission-minded leader, planning, organizing and supervising. Those who have the above gifts fit in here. If there is a good leadership, shepherding and followership, this trio can successfully build a mission minded church.
Insightful Types of Spiritual Gifts – Again, in this category, we have
Discernment Knowledge Wisdom
With the gift of discernment – distinguishing truth from error, knowledge-seeking to know the truth and wisdom-apply the truth in a local church and in the mission endeavour of the church, the desire for mission will be kindled in the local church. The faithful stewardship of our spiritual gifts is vital to generating a mission minded church.
Again, Paul’s prayer for the Colossians is germane here. “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God (Col. 1:9-10). When the spirit of discernment, knowledge and wisdom are in operation, there will be evidence of people living worthy lives, pleasing God, bearing fruit and growing in God’s knowledge. These are characteristics of a mission-minded church.
Net Result Of Spiritual Gift
In this session, we shall bring to bear the end result of faithful stewardship of spiritual gift with regard to building a mission-minded church. When our spiritual gifts are faithfully utilized, the net-results are amazing and inspiring. Let us list some of the benefits that we have when our gifts are faithfully used.
The church will be mission-minded
The kingdom of hell will be depopulated
The kingdom of heaven will be populated
Lives will be transformed
The society will be regenerated and revitalized
Morality will be enhanced
Evil will be reduced
The church will be a place where people encounter God daily
Evangelistic zeal will be rekindled
The leadership of the church and the society will turn a new leaf
Our worship will be glorious
There will be hunger for righteousness
Sin will be drastically reduced
So far in this discourse, we have considered how we can build a mission minded church through faithful stewardship of spiritual gifts. However, there are some clogs in the wheel of progress in using our spiritual gifts faithfully. We shall enumerate some of them here as we conclude:
1. Inability to discover our gifts
2. Lack of Intimate Relationship with God
3. Living in Sin
4. Lack of Genuine Conversion
6. Ignorance of the importance of spiritual gifts
9. Demonic Possession
Our faithful utilization of spiritual gifts in our churches will act as catalyst to church growth and ultimately make our churches to be mission-minded.
By: Rev. Dr. Jonathan Inwighwu