What gifts has God given you, given to your church, right now, to bless it, grow it in unity and maturity and knowledge of Jesus? More specifically, who are those gifts?
Once you have them, how do you encourage a prophet to go for it? How do we spot evangelists if they prefer to be outside church meetings? Should students teach when others are so much more experienced? These are some of the questions that have come up as we’ve discussed the ‘five-fold giftings' with student workers from Glasgow to Cambridge over the last few months.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul says God has given gifts to his church - gifts to help her mature, help others to serve and bring unity. These gifts are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. We discussed who we already have, how we can best help them flourish and who we need more of. Every location wanted more evangelists - those passionate about sharing the message of Jesus with others. Some asked God for prophets or wisdom on how to encourage them in their gifting. Others need apostles - pioneers who will imagine and do the new thing, pushing the boundaries of what church looks like today.
How easy is it to forget that students can be these gifts to the church? They are to be cherished, encouraged and released to help us mature, serve and unite. Its been so exciting to see student workers move from ‘this is my vision’ to ‘what are the visions of my students - who are they and what do they want to see happen?’.
If you’re a student reading this, do you know that we, the church, need you? We need your insight, ideas, passion, calling, in our family - you are an important piece in the jigsaw of your church, not a temporary add-on.
If you’re a leader in a church can you see the gifts God has given you in the students who belong to your community? How are you identifying, supporting, encouraging and releasing them to fulfil their potential. Do you see how badly we need these gifts if we are to grow in the knowledge of Jesus and mature as churches?
I can’t wait to see what happens as student workers encourage students to discover and grow in their giftings and to see the blessing that is to the church as they do so. I am excited to see them mature as the more experienced mentor them even as they, by their gifting, help the church to mature. I want to see the fruit of these apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers as they realise that they are gifts to the church and that the church both needs them and is backing them as they help shape the church of today and tomorrow.
Who are the student apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers that have been given to your church? How can you find, support, encourage and learn from them? How can you create opportunities for them to practice, lead and learn in their gifting?