Gifts of the Holy Spirit Part 3
The Ministry Gifts
This is the final list of gifts of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. Unlike the Motivational Gifts which everyone has hard-wired into their personalities, and the Manifestation Gifts which can be appropriated as needed by any believer as the situation is needed, the Ministry Gifts relate to a smaller group of people.
In Ephesians 4:11-16 we read this:
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
In this list of gifts, it is the people themselves who are the gift to the church- apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Their love for the church is so great that they themselves become the gifts to the church.
The purpose of these gifts is that the people of Christ are equipped and the Body of Christ becomes mature and united in the faith.
Not every leader appointed in the church is necessarily appointed by the Holy Spirit. Often, because church organisations are structured according to the wisdom of men rather than the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, people are appointed to leadership roles because of their talents or personality rather than the calling of the Holy Spirit.
Every ministry has its strengths and weaknesses because we are all human. We need all of these ministry gifts to complement one another and to balance out the weaknesses.
Apostles are starting to re-emerge in the church after centuries of obscurity, being overshadowed by appointed positions. The role of the apostle is to protect the unity of the church through:
relational oversight- that is an authority based on a fatherly love rather than institutional power
protection of true doctrine
unity with other apostles
Prophets or prophecy occur in all the lists of gifts of the Spirit. The prophet is someone recognised by the church as hearing God in a unique and accurate way. Their role is to bring to the church the specific word of God for the current situation. They help to ensure that churches, and particularly leaders, remain faithful to the heart of the gospel.
Prophets are also needed to work with apostles to both affirm their authority and also to hold them accountable when they stray from their God-appointed role.
Prophets have been described as the people who relate to the heart of God, as people who empathise with God's deep desires for His people.
Evangelists have the gift of bringing people into a relationship with Jesus and integrating them into the church. Ideally, the evangelists need to be rooted in a local congregation, being sent out by the church to bring in new members. While all believers have this responsibility, the ministry gift evangelist has a special anointing for the task and also seeks to encourage others in the task.
A pastor has their heart for the individual within the church. They have the ability, and the responsibility, to care for individuals within the church. They also have the responsibility of building up the church through preaching the word, teaching and training.
Because the title “Pastor” has become a generic term for people who have oversight of a local congregation there is sometimes the danger of assuming that everyone called “Pastor” has the ministry gift of pastor.
Teachers have the ability to take the truths of Scripture and teach them in a way that is understandable to people. They are the trainers, the educators, the explainers, in the local church. Their ministry is vital for the church to be able to understand the nature of God, their calling, the power of the Holy Spirit etc. Their temptation can be to reduce everything to dry facts and lose the passion and excitement of following God.
These are the Ministry Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Every church should be able to identify the people who provide these ministries in their midst. Sometimes they will be people in recognised positions, others might have no formal position. We need to pray for these people so that the Holy Spirit will continue to lead them and enable them to equip the church for its mission.