Shaun Mawson is excited about something he believes God wants for his church:
I began to think of what the church would look like if every Christian started to develop and use his or her gift to its full potential.
Now I know there are many people within the church right now that are well and truly operating in their gifts, but I believe that number is way below what is acceptable and God’s expectation.
Six valid questions
As I started to open up this reality of days gone by in the church, questions started to come:
- How many of us are actually aware of what our gift or gifts are?
- How many of us know what our gifting is?
- How many of us know our gifting but have shelved it for one reason or another?
- How many of us don’t believe in the gifts at all?
- Most importantly – what happens in a church where no one or too few are moving in their gifts? Nothing!
These questions are not only valid, but are also what the leadership of today’s church needs to be asking.
Why is it that in my ten years or so in church ministry the subject of spiritual gifts seems to be one that is mentioned in passing only and not followed through with encouragement and development?
We all talk the talk of unity and love, all power, all authority and so on, but few of us actually walk the walk, we make excuses as to why things don’t happen in Christ’s church as they did in the Bible, and if they do happen we behave like God has just turned up for the first time in history!
Today’s undermined church
These gifts should be at work within the body, not just on occasional Sundays, but on any day that ends in a Y and in any place we walk with the Spirit of God.
The world sees the church more and more as a place of irrelevance, a place for the defeated and weak and for those that don’t believe in evolution (as one person said to me recently). Sadly there are more and more people within the church that are starting to have similar views, slowly creeping in undermining the core beliefs of the body of Christ.
As I see it, now is the time for a reversal in these trends, a time to show the world that the body of Christ is a place of relevance, a place of victory, power and revolution, where not the unexpected happens but where the expected happens, where all dare to believe in the true living word of God, where we proclaim the grace of God not just with our words but with the actions of faith!
What do we think when we see a new gift developing and being used in the body of Christ?
- Are we thinking ‘I wish that was me receiving that gift’?
- Are we jealous and thinking only of ourselves?
- Or are we thinking ‘hurry up and open that gift will you’?
- Are we impatient?
- Or do we love to see new gifts developing; do we vocalise our encouragement and play our part in seeing God work in someone else’s life, delighting that this will ultimately build up the church and glorify God?
A relevant message from the head to the body!
Nearly eight years ago I was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) which is an autoimmune disease that attacks the nervous system, shorting out the signals between my brain and certain body parts that it tries to send them to.
In short, my head knows what it wants the body to do, but my body doesn’t always receive the signal correctly, causing dysfunctional movements (My body still responds, but not always as it should).
I praise God that this doesn’t stop me from functioning in the church – in fact I’m currently instrumental in planting a new campus for my own local church.
But it got me thinking about Jesus as the head of the church. He sends a message to his body, gifted with all sorts of abilities to further the kingdom of God, but not all have opened their gifts. (The body may be functioning, but not to its full capacity).
Please hear my heart – I don’t claim to have all the answers or be the sole recipient of this revelation, but I do have an excitement and expectation in my spirit that I cannot contain. I believe it is time for God’s church to rise up and become the unified body it is called to be!
Eagerly desiring the greater gifts, while being satisfied and blessed to have received the gifts that God has given us by grace, let’s all make the church relevant today.
Shaun Mawson fellowships at Waterfront Christian Church, Geelong. Link: smawson1 AT gmail.com
Shaun – it is good to read your submission about encouraging folk to use their God-given gifts and talents. That exhortation is always needed, and you are contributing towards doing that by writing and having your convictions published this way.