Spiritual gifts are from the Holy Spirit. He gives them to believers for the sake of building up the church in many different ways.
But in Ephesians 4:11-12, Paul gives us a list of spiritual gifts which are used for a very specific purpose. It says,
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.
The 5 gifts listed here are specifically for the purpose of equipping believers. In the following verses, Paul continues to explain that we are to be equipped so that the church, the one body, can become mature growing and building itself up.
It follows, then, that if these gifts are specifically meant to help the church grow and build itself up, then these are the gifts which are needed to plant and establish churches.
At The Borough, we are passionate about planting churches. And we want to help you understand whether or not the Holy Spirit has given you the spiritual gifts necessary to be able to do it.
We’re not saying you need all 5 gifts individually, but you should have at least 2 or 3 of these (especially since a lot overlaps between them). And a church planting team should have all 5 gifts represented collectively.We are passionate about planting churches. #churchplanting Click To Tweet
So here’s a breakdown of the 5 gifts from above:
The Spiritual Gift of Apostleship
Within Christian circles, there’s great controversy. Some say that there is some sort of Apostolic succession – this means that the Apostles had some kind of power which is literally passed on to others. Others say that’s bologna.
Others say that if you have the gift of Apostleship, that you have to be able to do wonders and miracles. Again, others say that’s bologna.
I’m not here to make a stand on either point.
But what we know for sure is that there the gift of Apostleship definitely contains certain aspects which are vital to the planting and establishing of churches.
Generally speaking, people who have this gift are people who can lead. They can gather people, unite them in a common cause, and produce a certain result – namely, the planting of healthy churches.
Apostleship is really a group of gifts (or even just talents, depending on how you look at it) within this gift set. It includes leadership, organization, administration, charisma, creativity, innovation, perseverance, and the ability to mobilize people.
These are the type of people who are also able to start a business or a non-profit, lead a cause, start a network.
So in planting churches, you need apostle-type people to be able to forge ahead with the compelling vision of the Great Commission. They can lead and form churches, and train others to become leaders as well.
The Spiritual Gift of Prophecy
The gift of prophecy is also an extremely controversial gift, as far as gifts go.
In the English language, the word prophecy usually has future-telling implication in it.
But if you actually read the book of the Prophets from the Old Testament, you’ll find that, though there was an element of fore-telling, the majority of the content was something else.
The prophets in the Old Testament applied God’s Word (which was already partially completed at that time, because they had the Torah, or the first five books of the Bible) to the people’s current context.
So prophecy is really less about fore-telling, and more about forth-telling. Prophets forth-tell God’s Word into our context today. They apply Scriptural principles by speaking into complex issues we face as our people.
These will be your book-writers, your keynote speakers, your scholars. This gift set includes a high propensity for intelligence, observation, discernment, wisdom, articulation, and communication.
Unfortunately today, we use these types of people incorrectly as our pastors of churches, when their role should be more specifically focused on study of Scripture and culture. And their conclusions should be used in the context of a team of church planters who can apply the Scriptures directly to the situations they face in their work.Apply #Scriptural principles by speaking into complex issues we face as our people. Click To Tweet
The Spiritual Gift of Evangelism
Fortunately, this gift is a little more straight forward. The gift of Evangelism is the ability to share the gospel with people.
If you’ve ever tried to share the gospel with someone, you know that it is absolutely a special talent. It only comes naturally to some, even though we are all called to do it.
Evangelists have the ability to relate to people very easily and very quickly on a very personal level. They can gauge someone’s reactions, and in a split-second know exactly what to say that will help a person see the truth of the Gospel.
You’ll often find these people in highly charismatic roles – such as public speaking, sales, small group leaders, large group leaders, and networking.
Obviously, these people are needed on a church planting team to just share the gospel and make new disciples.
The Spiritual Gift of Pastoring and Teaching
Pastoring is the ability to help move someone toward maturity through encouragement, admonishment, rebuke, and correction. (I should probably be clear that the word here, as it is used in Ephesians 4:11, does not mean the same thing that we commonly mean when we refer to the office of Pastor at a church.)
Teaching is the ability to explain God’s Word in a way that people understand.
Some people want to get really technical and say that these two gifts should fit into one category (as I am doing in this article), and others say it needs to be two separately. The Greek seems to suggest that it is one category, but I’m not willing to bet my salvation on it. If you say two categories, I say fine.
Either way, both gifts need to be represented on a church planting team.
It’s needed because with all the organization done by apostles, the discernment done by prophets, and evangelism done by evangelists, the new believers will need someone who can reach them as infants in their faith.
They need someone who can explain the elementary principles of Christ in a way which relates to their lives and allows them to understand what God asks of them.
Pastors and Shepherds provide that very thing, as they are gifted with compassion, understanding, patience, articulation, and mentoring.
Also published on Medium.