After an outstanding service yesterday morning at Community Church Fixer of Hearts in North Brunswick, NJ; which I have the privilege to lead, I have been thinking all day about a phrase that occurs over and over again in Apostle Paul’s discourse on the Gifts (or Manifestations) of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14.
“But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”1 Corinthians 12:7 NASB (emphasis mine)
“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” 1 Corinthians 12:11 NASB (emphasis mine)
“What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” 1 Corinthians 14:26 NASB (emphasis mine)
What was so special about the service yesterday morning that had me thinking all day long? It was a service where there was participation by about eight or nine other people during the service besides me in communicating all that God wanted to get across to the Body that was assembled. We had Tongues & Interpretation of Tongues, Psalms & Songs of the Lord, Exhortations, Admonitions, An Explanation of a Vision, A Testimony of an Instant Healing and the Sound of a Human Shofar (no actual horn) that pierced and shifted the atmosphere. God used the ‘Multiplicity of Gifting’ that was present in the house to accomplish His purpose.
I want you to pay particular attention to the emphasized two words in each of the verses above: ‘Each One’! Notice Paul was talking about the involvement of the Body in the Ministry and about their Participation in the service or gathering of Believers. So often we have this mindset in the church that the congregation sits back and watches the show as those on the ‘Platform Perform’. That is NOT WHAT GOD INTENDED!
Church is not a Spectator Sport! God does not want His Body to be Pew-sitters…He wants them to be Participators! I am not an authority on the English language…but the last time I checked…Each One meant Everybody present. Our job as Leadership is to Facilitate a flow of the Holy Spirit (much like an orchestra conductor) that allows for Each One to participate according to their gifting, as the Spirit wills, for the common good and edification of the Body.
To make the Church function by divine design according to the New Testament pattern that Paul speaks of in these texts it will require two things:
- People being willing to step out of their comfort zone and not rely on Leadership to do all the ministry realizing that God has uniquely gifted them and desires to use those gifts for the common good of the Body.
- Leadership that recognizes people’s gifts, accepts people’s gifts, develops people’s gifts, empowers people’s gifts, encourages people’s gifts, honors people’s gifts, deploys people’s gifts and celebrates people’s gifts.