Okay, so I been bad. No posts for 2 WHOLE MONTHS! My apologies, my very sincere apologies, to all 3 of you who've read the past posts.
I was going to blog about something a while back, but now something completely different came up. This last Wednesday night at our home fellowship, I was teaching about gifts of the Spirit. I read from the 12s--Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12--to show the NT lists of the gifts. 1 Cor., of course, has the "charismatic" gifts while Rom. has the "structural" gifts (my terms). We separate the two lists but Paul puts them all together as one group, the "gifts of the Spirit." And notice that when he writes about the church as the body of Christ, it's in the context of the gifts of the Spirit. He is saying, not that we need each other, but that we need all the gifts operating in the assembly.
Evangelicals, during the Reformation, exalted one gift above all others: the gift of teaching. Pastoral ministry became teaching; the sermon became the main focus of the worship service. When the Pentecostal renewal began, teaching was again just one of many gifts. Now we are once again copying the Evangelicals here. We leave no room for the other gifts to really operate. We stifle prophecy (mostly because we have more pretenders than prophets). We let the pastor do everything, and usually that means teaching. Gifts of mercy and administration are locked away rather than brought to the front. Evangelists are professionals who move from church to church rather than working within one assembly. Other gifts (discerning of spirits, for example) operate only in one-on-one situations rather than for the whole body. But teaching and teachers have become the focus of the church.
The problem is that 60% of leadership is then non-existent. No apostles, prophets, or evangelists; only pastors and teachers. And the vast majority of the gifts of the Spirit go unused and (even worse) unsought. The Average Churchgoer hears a one-person show on Sundays, maybe ties into a small group in the week, and wonders what he/she is there for. To be a clone of the pastor? To provide an audience? Is this the sum of Christianity today? Is it any wonder, when our corporate worship is so uncorporate, that we narrow our day-to-day focus to personal spirituality?
How can we change this? How can we make our leaders know that we hunger for more than their Sunday messages? How can we put teaching in its right place, making room for the rest of the gifts of the Spirit? And how can we put into practice the "charismatic" gifts without falling prey to disorder, false moves of the flesh, and "miracle-ism"? What do you think about this? What answers would you give from Scripture?