The response to Sunday's sermon and to Ephesians 4 says a lot! Perhaps it was just because I got to mingle with Families at the picnic, or perhaps it is that the sermon stirred something, for whatever the case, it seems that God was connecting with us on many levels. Chapter 4 indicates that 5 gifts have been given to the church. Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds and Teachers. (APEST)
Verse 1 talks about the "calling" each of us has, and then verse 7 mentions the "measure" of grace that each of us is given.
Perhaps for too long, we have limited these five gifts to the church. Many in the church immediately "check out" when thinking of APEST because we see them as SOLELY leadership or "governmental" positions in the church. The passage doesn't indicate that, we have read it that way simply because of beliefs through the years that these are "leadership" gifts.
What if, however, every believer in the church was in and of themselves a "gift to the church". Who you are, your "calling" or "vocation" being one of these five? What if you were called/gifted/graced by Jesus to be an Apostolic influence on your church? What if God has always wanted YOU to be a PROPHETIC voice and influence in the church? What about EVANGELIST, PASTOR ... TEACHER?
I mentioned Sunday that there are two resources I have found very helpful in this area. One is a book by Alan Hirsch and Tim Catchim called "The Permanent Revolution", and another is the research and teaching of Jack Groblewski, a leader and pastor with the Grace Network.
I remember saying during our service on Sunday,
If you don't activate your gift, the church may never be able to grow up and mature as God intends us to grow.
As elders, and administrative team, we are currently praying about and discerning how we can continue to help each member of New Life discover and ACTIVATE their God-given place in the church. Please pray with us for God's plans to be established, and for each member to live out our "God-gift" of who we are in our church life together.
YES, we DO want to be a maturing church full of maturing christians. And, YES, we do want to see all of the five-fold gifts activated, in our homes, in the church and in our community and nation ... for God's glory.
We look forward to the days ahead!