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Spiritual Gifts or Curses?

Spiritual gifts is the favorite hot-button issue of any dying church. The logic is: if we're failing, it must be because we haven't identified the spiritual calling of the people in our church. Seems logical, but it isn't.

I'm currently part of a church plant. I thought I had a theology worked out for church planting--and seeing the infinite God in every part of it--but I don't. It's a work in progress. There's no theological system that works out-of-the-box--only Macs do that. (Seems obvious now.) The life of a church will always be a work in progress--out of necessity. The problem is that we've stopped working and assumed that our framework is right. Maybe that's what is killing churches.

In the process of painting and analyzing this theological work, I am realizing that I need to redefine how spiritual gifts should be understood. We don't need those wacky spiritual gift tests, we need people to realize that they're called to spiritual offices. We also need to help them speak up and stop ignoring their calling. This is the scary part: spiritual offices are supposed to drive our churches, but they're not.

It's not really spiritual gifts we need to be finding in people. We need to be looking for people who have been called to church offices. In our next few discussions, I'll talk about what I mean by that. For now, take a look at these passages:

First Corinthians 12:27-31

Ephesians 4:11-16 

Here's the question that drives me: Are spiritual offices really a gift, or are they more like a curse? You're stuck with a curse. It's something you can't avoid. No doubt, God calling us to these offices is a gift, but if you're really called to it, will anyone be able to stop you? Is a spiritual calling, like a curse, something that can't be stopped? It just is, and will be.

I'm going to start journaling this theological journey in progress--right here. Just like I blogged my thoughts (in progress) about other topics (like inspirationtheological controllife philosophies, and prophecy). So raise your glasses to yet another new endeavor to find the infinite God at work in everything. Drop me a comment: tell me how spiritual offices are (or aren't) being incorporated into your church.

Comments

Eph 4:11-12 "And He gave the apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers to equip the saints for the work of the ministry..."

You said, "We don't need those wacky spiritual gift tests, we need people to realize that they're called to spiritual offices."

Are you saying these five roles are spiritual offices? If so, are you saying everyone is called to one of these? Hmmm...

My response: spiritual gifts are important. They are not the "cure all" in our churches though. Just because they are not a "cure all" doesn't mean we need to toss them out altogether. The spiritual gifts assessments can be very helpful for the person who is trying to figure out where they might fit in the body of Christ.

JEQ,

Thanks for your comment. I'll share my view on this in a future post. But first, I would love to hear what the Conversant community thinks.

Does someone else want to chime in? What do you think, do we need spiritual gift tests? Are the roles in Ephesians 4:11-12 spiritual offices? Is everyone called to a spiritual office?

--John

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I believe the term spiritual gifts is tossed around too much. How does one judge whether you have a gift or not. Seems really difficult.

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I think certainly these offices must be filled but perhaps filled with people so gifted.

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The Infinite God is everywhere, are you looking? I am dedicated to finding God in all aspects of life – the Bible, the news, and the arts. Because I find that the most fulfilling journey of all is searching for heaven here on earth.