Devotional Thoughts, Guest Post

Am I Gifted for Ministry?

This excerpt by Dave Doran comes from Gospel Meditations for the Church (Day 15: “Gifts for His Glory”).

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:
whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God;
whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—
in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.
To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
(1 Peter 4:10-11)

The church is the body of Jesus Christ, designed and prepared to accomplish His mission here on earth. All believers are not only born of the Spirit but also given gifts for service on behalf of Jesus Christ. Gift-based ministry is a critical component of healthy church life. Other passages contribute to our understanding of gift-based ministry in the church, but the text above from 1 Peter opens the door to at least four tremendous benefits.

Gift-based ministry changes the emphasis from programs to people.

“Serve one another.” The New Testament model for ministry is not the well-packaged, store-bought approach so common in our day. The church was not controlled by neat organizational structures, precisely defined time slots, and carefully crafted curricula. New Testament ministry was simple (vs. complex): Spirit-born and Spirit-gifted people ministering to each other.

Gift-based ministry distributes the work of ministry among the members of the church body.

“As each has received a gift, use it.” All believers have been equipped by God for service (see 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11; Romans 12:6). Ministry is not reserved for the professionals! The Head of the church has given gifts to each member of His body. Those gifts are graciously given as a stewardship responsibility, so every believer should desire to be a good steward of that grace. We must not receive that grace in vain! The unbiblical pattern of limiting ministry to a few specialists actually encourages believers to be poor stewards of God’s grace.

Gift-based ministry enables the work to be infused with divine power since it is based on divine resources.

“Whoever serves [should serve]…by the strength that God supplies.” Ministry that flows out of the Spirit’s work in a believer’s life will be energized and effective through the Spirit’s power. A spiritual gift is not like a magic charm that works just because we possess it. It can be neglected (1 Timothy 4:14) and may need to be stirred up (2 Timothy 1:6). We must also exercise gifts with clear, deliberate dependence on God so His strength can work through us.

Gift-based ministry makes the church more responsive to the work of Jesus Christ to glorify his Father.

“Use [your gift] to serve one another…in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” Notice that even though it is the believers who are exercising their gifts, Peter says it is Jesus Christ who is glorifying His Father. That’s because Jesus is working through gifted believers to accomplish the work. He gave the gifts. He empowers the gifts.

If ministries are started, sustained, and staffed by believers who are consciously and carefully serving in the way Christ gifted them to serve, then we can have greater confidence that the church is doing God’s will. Churches too often run ahead of the Lord with their own plans, resulting in a continual struggle to find workers to keep their programs running.

If, however, the Lord wants something done in the church, He will supply the workers that are needed. After all, He knows more about and is more concerned with the Father’s glory than we are!

Let the gospel gift of the Spirit’s work in your life control your ministry within the congregation so that God is glorified through Jesus Christ!

Explore the whole book!

Motivated by a deep love for Christ’s church—flawed as it is on this side of heaven—Chris Anderson, Joe Tyrpak, and Dave Doran bring you 31 devotional lessons that focus on the nature, mission, and corporate life of the local church.