Spiritual Gifts Can Be Powerful Aids in Time Management
Dr. Thom Rainer
I find myself returning to 1 Corinthians 12-14 again and again in my ministry. These and the spiritual gifts passages in Ephesians 4:11-13 and Romans 12:6-8 are critical in our understanding of the proper stewardship of time.
Of all the contributions C. Peter Wagner made in the past, a major one was his discussion of the relationship between church growth and spiritual-gifts discovery.
Concerning time management and spiritual gifts, Wagner says, “While the church is subject to many principles of human organizational management, it is much more than a mere human organization. It is the Body of Christ. It is an organism with Jesus Christ as the Head and every member functioning with one or more spiritual gifts.”
When a church functions according to spiritual gifts, the work of ministry is distributed to every member. No church member, including the leader, has an excessive burden.
Says Wagner, “God does not bring people into the Body of Christ as spectators. He expects them to participate in the life and work of the church just as the various members of our own physical bodies contribute to the well-being of the whole.”
Spiritual gifts discovery has two primary benefits in the area of time management. It frees the church leader to minister according to his giftedness and passions. And it empowers the people of the church to be in ministry which might otherwise fall in the overloaded hands of “hired help.”
Spiritual Gifts Discovery by the Church Leader
As I visit and speak with church leaders, I am amazed at how few know their own spiritual gifts. Meeting the needs of others is next to impossible until we leaders know ourselves.
For example, as a pastor, I discovered counseling was one of my weaknesses. Two prominent gifts I have are administration and evangelism. But the rest of my spiritual gift mix is not conducive to a counseling ministry. This awareness led me to take some steps that greatly increased my personal ministerial efficiency.
First, I realized I had a tendency to place counseling responsibilities on the back burner since my gifts were not in this area. But as a pastor I could not relinquish all counseling responsibilities. So I made special efforts to make myself available and open to my people. I could not give them the impression that I did not care for them or that I did not want to see them.
Second, I was honest with my church members that counseling was not my strength. I always had an open door for them, but in the long-term, others could help them more than I could. And that statement brings me to my final step.
Thirdly, I delegated counseling responsibilities when possible. Two laypersons were trained and equipped to handle a large portion of the counseling load in the church. A staff minister with spiritual gifts more compatible with counseling handled much of this ministry. Finally, I referred some members to Christian psychologists in our area.
The point is simple. I knew my spiritual gifts, and I knew where I was not gifted, so I made plans to enhance my strengths and compensate for my weaknesses.
Spiritual Gifts Discovery by the Church
Little more needs to be said about the importance of spiritual gifts discovery by the people in the church. From a time-management viewpoint, the more people are involved in ministry, the more time a church leader has to do the tasks God has called him to do.
To unleash the church, you must create an awareness of spiritual gifts and a climate for ministry by spiritual gifts, and provide training and equipping so many can best use their gifts for the glory of God.
The above material was copyrighted in 2003 by Church Central Associates. This material should be used for study and research purposes only.