Union…yes!

“66% of you have the spiritual gift of ‘helps‘.”

I once heard a church consultant confidently state this statistic. The consultant said it with the kind of certainty that convinced quite a few people in the room that he was telling us something that any four-year old would know. Well, any four-year old who worked for the dude’s church growth firm, that is.

To this day, the smugness of that comment still echoes in my head. It sounded like he was telling us that most of the people in every church were nothing more than worker bees, and the rest of us (who didn’t have the gift of helps, since we were ‘leaders’) were tasked with the job of giving them the blue colllar grunt work to do so we could devote ourselves to Leading. Capital L, because we were the management.

Oh, he didn’t quite put it that way, but this was the implication. And where on earth he got this absurd statistic is beyond me. It’s sure not in Scripture, and I’m not sure you can apply metrics to something we’re supposed to be giving away (to God and to others) anyway.

Every time Jesus talked about the kingdom of God (such as here, here, and here, just to name a few), He painted a picture of a completely different kind of culture. I know we know those words, but I hear too much of the of us defer to the kind of language that should be reserved for labor union organizers to describe the way the church must work. It is violent and hurtful, and turns people into commodities instead of the dearly-loved children God calls us.

Our gifts don’t belong to us (and that includes ‘helps’). They belong to our brothers and sisters:
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7).

Is that how you’ve seen spiritual gifts exercised in your church, small group or among your Christian friends?
And another question: Do 2/3 of the Christians you know have the gift of helps?
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About Michelle Van Loon
  • Eric Nygren

    I’m not sure how scientific the numbers are, but it seems to me that 2/3 of the Christians we know aren’t convinced they even have a spiritual gift. Most are still hung up on what it means to be “spiritual” (cf. 1 Corinthians)

    What a task it is just to paint a more accurate picture of gifting from the Scriptures, then help people to not only identify how they “fit” into the body, but then how to empower them to exercise their part.

  • Michelle Van Loon

    Hey Eric -
    I’ve known quite a few people who’ve emphasized the “my” in “my spiritual gifts” – another way of saying that they really didn’t understand that those gifts were meant to be given back to the body as worship.

    My shorthand way of assessing a possible gift in someone is to ask them what bothers them about their church. (The answer often reveals their passions, or demonstrates the place they can best serve.) The question isn’t foolproof of course – if someone complains about the parking lot, I’m not sure this corollates to one of those lists of gifts found in Scripture.

    The challenge for most leaders is in releasing people into ministry!


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