I'm going to reveal the critical "big picture" that no one seems to have written about when it comes to spiritual gifts.
In fact, so many people have responded to this email as really giving them a powerful and deeper understanding of the spiritual gifts.
As a result, they also have a better understanding of how to fit within their own church and build stronger relationships instead of feeling isolated and separate.
At least for me, once I got the picture of this "Circle of Life," the Why behind gifts became so much clearer. Once you get that, it becomes much easier for you to plug yourself into that why and see yourself as part of the big picture.
As in all important things, it is only by understanding the big picture can be feel motivated and encouraged.
Here's the summary: there is a reason for these five particular gifts in the growth of the church.
Let's look at the cycle of a local church by gift. While the gifts were intended for the uppercase Church, the body of Christ at large, the local church is a good picture.
So: how does a church begin?
First, someone needs to actually go and start the church.
They need to seek out a new territory to expand God's Kingdom. Then they need to take the initiative with almost no resources to get the church started.
Enter the apostle.
Once people are being reached, those people need to hear God's truth.
Without God's truth, just going out and gathering people doesn't do much, even if it's in God's name.
His truth of judgment, our sin, and his power and purpose all need to be declared to bring people to repent of their sin and turn back towards God.
Enter the prophet -- who are dedicated to living and speaking God's truth.
But if the declaration of God's truth and power were all, many people would feel helpless and fearful.
What they need is the Good News of salvation and freedom through grace.
If a church simply stopped at God's law, many people would feel a heavy burden.
Enter the evangelist -- who reveals the freedom from the Gospel's good news.
So now that new people have been reached, they have been convicted of sin, and received the saving message of the Gospel -- now what?
Well, those people need to deepen their knowledge of Jesus. They need to continue to mature as Christians. They need to understand God's Word and how it applies in all parts of their life.
Enter the teacher -- who loves God's word and helps people understand and apply.
So...as people learn more about God's word, they will hit challenges. Following is hard. Doubt creeps in. Bad things happen which can shake our faith.
People need someone who can comfort them so they can continue the cycle of growth and maturity.
Enter the shepherd -- who loves on people and cares for their soul
As the people learn more from the teacher and feel love from the shepherd, they continue to be exposed to the call to be missional from the apostle, the convicting reminders of our sin from the prophet, and the radical good news from the evangelist.
In this healthy environment, guess what happens?
A few of them realize they are apostles, prophets, or evangelists -- and they end up striking out in new territory.
The Circle of Life continues!
Do you see how interconnected all five of the Five Fold are?
Do you see how each of the five plays a critical role in God's purpose?
Now that you have the whole picture, where do you see yourself playing?
As this cycle was described to you, where do you feel even just the slightest inclination to dive right in?
It's alright if you don't think you're good or not sure. That's not what is important.
What's important is: do you see how all parts of this work together?
Here's my question for this lesson:
How will you share this insight with others in your church?
Personally, I think the easiest way is to share them this devotional!