I shared this with Brian yesterday, and it has absolutely nothing to do with my connection at West Ridge. It’s just a general observation from the conversation that I’ve witnessed online in recent years. Here’s the gist of it…
People with spiritual gifts like mine aren’t welcomed in your church.
My spiritual gifts include leadership and administration and discernment. That’s how God has wired me. As a result of that mix of gifts, I think in terms of systems and strategies. I have the ability to walk into a chaotic situation and offer clarity and encourage simplicity. I can’t explain it, but God allows me to see the future in some situations and develop plans and next steps that help bring a vision to fruition.
Here’s the rub, though. Since my spiritual gifts don’t include teaching or prayer or shepherding, I don’t look or smell like the typical “Spirit-filled” pastor. When I start talking strategy and planning, people automatically assume that my counsel is being driven by my own strength and not God’s power.
I admit there are days when, like every Christ-follower, I try to take control of my life rather than embracing God’s control. I’m far from perfect. But I also know that the strengths that make me unique are God’s design for my life. I assume God wants me to use those gifts in the church. You’d be amazed, though, at how much my gifts are disdained within “Spirit-filled” churches.
Engaging the counsel of others won’t limit the Holy Spirit. Planning for the future shouldn’t constrict the power of the Holy Spirit. Learning from the experiences of other leaders and ministries doesn’t constrain the Holy Spirit. Bringing order and systems and strategic approaches certainly don’t stop the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowers people like me to do all those things.
It’s crazy. In the business world, people like me are rewarded handsomely for helping to expand the business. When people use those same gifts to help expand the impact of the church, though, they’re doing something wrong.
Are people who have these gifts supposed to get jobs in the marketplace where their strengths are welcomed? Is there room for them in your church?