I will never forget the first sermon given by the pastor we have in our church right now. She got out of the pulpit and walked among the congregation passing out jigsaw puzzle pieces. Everyone got a puzzle piece and she proceeded to deliver a message that all the members of our church have a part to play in the ministry of the church. If we all do our part, the pieces all fit together to form a beautiful puzzle.
Everyone got a puzzle piece…everyone.
I think she was right on target. Everyone in the church does have a role to play and that role is partially determined by the gifts of the Holy Spirit to the people of the church. Ephesians 4:12 says that gifts come to specific people “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”
Pastor Graham* states “No Christian can say, ‘I have no gift’. Every believer has at least one gift from the Holy Spirit.” He goes further saying that “a weakness in today’s churches is the failure to recognize, cultivate, and use the gifts God has given people in the pews” . The reason that eighty percent of the work in church is done by twenty percent of the people is that either people deny their gift(s) [laziness?], leadership fails to ask them to participate, or maybe a profound sense of unworthiness.
At the moment of salvation, a believer receives one of seven motivational gifts**: prophecy, serving, teaching, exhorting, giving, organizing, or mercy. This gift of God’s grace shapes how the believer views life, relates to others, and impacts the Body of Christ. “A motivational gift can be compared to a set of eyeglasses from God, given so that the believer can see people and circumstances through that particular set of ‘lenses’”. God works through the spiritual gifts in the Body of Christ to help the Church grow and remain healthy.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit also equip the Church to express the fullness of God’s love to the world. This category of gift is referred to as manifestation gifts. These spiritual gifts are given to the Church to benefit both believers and unbelievers. These gifts represent the work God does through the life of a believer in a given situation to demonstrate His supernatural power. The nine manifestation gifts are listed in I Corinthians 12:7–11: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, diverse kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues.
At times in church meetings, I get the sense that some church members think the church belongs to them. This is so wrong-headed. The New Testament speaks repeatedly about Christ as the foundation of the church and members are “little building stones built in a holy temple to the Lord” [1 Peter, 2:5]. Graham goes even further: Christ is head of the church universal, head of every congregation of believers, head of every person who has repented of his or her sin and received Jesus Christ as Savior.
Certainly the church is shepherded by a pastor who has gifts of ministry. The problem is that many think the pastor is the only one with spiritual gifts. That is not the case. The motivational, ministry, and manifestation gifts of the Holy Spirit all contribute to the orderliness of God’s design of working in the Church and the world. As instruments of God’s work in the church, we must seek to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and to submit to God [pastors included]. Then when the Holy Spirit works among believers and bestows spiritual gifts, there will be peace and orderliness, not strife and confusion. Graham writes that too many people expect the pastor to have all the gifts and do all the work. Church members become mere spectators. As church members, we have a great responsibility to use our gifts as the pastor uses his or her gifts.
Yes, that means we are to take our puzzle piece and use it, fit it in the big puzzle of our congregation and transform the church according to God’s plan. If we do that, the Holy Spirit will be at work within the church.
From his book The Holy Spirit
From a telephone interview: Pastor Roy King, Bridge of Hope Church and Institute of Basic Life Principles Website