Christian MinistryQUESTION: Christian ministry - Where do I fit?ANSWER:
One of the most frequently asked questions from maturing believers in Christ is about Christian ministry. Where, we wonder, do we fit in the body of Christ?
New believers are often content to join a church, sing the songs, participate in Bible study, and generally soak up God's glory. Sooner or later, however, the songs, sermons, and Bible study bring us to the realization that we are built by God to be part of a community of believers. This means each of us is called to perform some service for others - but how do we decide which one?
God, as usual, is way ahead of us. Into each person He has placed unique gifts, talents, and interests that will fill a niche in the body of Christ. These gifts go beyond things like playing the piano or being able to bench-press 300 pounds. They include spiritual gifts endowed by the Holy Spirit - gifts like teaching, wisdom, discernment, evangelism, and faith.
The Apostle Paul describes some of these gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10: "To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues."
Sometimes we know if we have these gifts. Those with the gift of teaching, for example, will find they are good at imparting knowledge to others and that they enjoy it immensely! Others may need a little help deciding which of the dozens of things they do and enjoy should be used for God's kingdom.
In this age of information, there are literally hundreds of Internet sites that offer "Spiritual Gifts Assessment." (I found more than 3,000 by typing in that exact phrase on a search engine) These questionnaires help answer the basic question: What are my spiritual gifts?
Many of these sites will link your strongest gifts with a list of suitable Christian ministries - teaching with leading a Bible study, discernment with joining a church governing board, compassion with hospice care. By linking our spiritual gifts with ministries, we can avoid the frustration and "burnout" that sometimes occur when, out of the goodness of our hearts, we take on ministries we just aren't cut out to do.
It is important when considering spiritual gifts to recognize that God calls us into
things, not out of them.
Some people may try to use their lack of a particular gift as an excuse to avoid Christian ministry. An example would be to refuse to help a sick person because you don't have the gift of healing, or to avoid witnessing for Christ because you are not an evangelist.
We need to remember that God doesn't always call those who are equipped to do His work. He often equips the called.
It can be truly inspiring to answer God's call to do something you believe is beyond your abilities, and find yourself sailing through it on the power of His wings!
Once we begin working in a Christian ministry, our spiritual muscles grow stronger and lessons from our actions reinforce our Bible study and prayer life. Next thing we know, we are reaching out to bring others into Christian ministry as well.