THE LEADER, HIS MENTORS & CALLING
All leaders need other leaders to guide and direct them in all of their ways. It has been my experience, if a leader surrounds them with other leaders who can keep them focused and directed in their calling they will be able to multiply their efforts exponentially. I have had five mentors in my live for many years. These mentors were “hand-picked” for advising me in each of the list areas of life.
Consider the following model of Biblical accountability:
Ministry Mentor – this individual should have experience in the day-to-day operations of ministry activities. They make great “sounding boards” for your ideas and plans. Their experience will help you avoid unnecessary “mistakes.” Plus, when they pray for you, they know what it is like to embrace the challenges of ministry.
Business Mentor – most “ministers” do not like to look at the business side of ministry. The reality is, all ministry activities must function under the ethics and organizational management of business. Business doesn’t mean “making money,” business is the practical elements of managing a structure that involves people, strategic plans and measurement outcomes. Your business mentor will be able to help you effectively manage the administrative side to your ministry.
Personal Mentor – this individual keeps a close eye on your personal life; marriage, family, financial affairs, and personal vulnerabilities. Pray that God gives you a personal mentor that has their “household” in order. This does not mean they are without “sin,” it means that they are faithful in walking after the spirit and active in keep their personal affairs in order.
Leadership Mentor – this is a man of God who has the gift of leadership. They will be quick to lead you and assist you in leading others. I have a dear friend (mentor) that is highly gifted in this area. He plays a major role in my life. His wisdom and insight is more valuable to me than words could ever express. This mentor is easy to find – he usually has a group of people following him.
Friend – is a man who is simply one of your friends. This friend is faithful, loyal and true to you. They are “always there for you” through the “good” and the “bad” times. This type of friend is quick to love on you and support you when you “mess-up.” If you do not have such a friend – pray for one. All men need a friend like this. My friend mentor is my “armor bearer” and we talk almost on a daily basis.
It is my recommendation that you meet with your mentorship group on a weekly basis. I meet with my mentor group every Tuesday morning, same time, day and location. Don’t allow scheduling or vacations to get in the way. Whoever is able to come – comes! Through the years, there have been times that I was there alone having coffee with me, myself and God. Show your mentors that you are committed to be there at all cost. If you are out of town – they meet without you. This will keep a steady consistent pattern going for all of you. In due time, this meeting will become a “top priority” for each of them.
BEING “CALLED” AS A LEADER
Small groups need gifted and called leaders. When a man feels manipulated into “filling the position” of small group leader, he will consistently fail at his responsibilities. This is why it is critical that each leader embraces their calling from God to lead. Leaders who know they are called by God consider it a privilege and honor to lead and be led.
The best leaders are servant leaders. A qualified leader is one who is willing to serve their leaders, as well as serve the people who are in their care. Jesus said He did not come to be served by to serve and give His life as a ransom. Through service, followers become faithful. If you have chosen to be a small group leader, you are choosing to step into a life of giving your life away. Being responsible for people’s lives is a privilege that comes with great requirements. God said, to whom much is given, much is required. Those of us who are leadership know the sacrifice and hardship that comes with the job. If it wasn’t for the power of the Holy Spirit, it would be an impossible task. God not only calls the leader, He empowers them to accomplish all of what He gives them to do.
KNOWING YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). The Holy Spirit is just as much alive today as He was when the New Testament was written. Before we move forward in exploring the dynamics of Knowing Our Spiritual Gifts, we need to accept all the work of God through the Holy Spirit in modern times just as the disciples were called to accept the work of the Holy Spirit over 2000 years ago.
IGNORANCE IS NOT BLISS
Understanding and knowing what God says about Spiritual Gifts is the starting place of our journey. Even though man has many opinions about the topic, God has plenty to say about His gifts to us – after all, He is the giver of these gifts.
Many Christians choose to “stay in the dark” as to the full understanding of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Ignorance is not bliss! If I was to give you a gift and you choose not to open it, you will never have the privilege of using the gift for its intended purpose. The same thing goes for our spiritual gifts, we were given these gifts upon the day of our salvation and God expects us to open the package and use the gift to accomplish His purposes.
A FEW THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
There are four requirements presented in the scriptures that each of us will need to embrace before we can discover the fullness of His gifting in us:
- We must have the Holy Spirit living within us. (Born-again Christian)
- Do not to be afraid of having the Holy Spirit live and operate through us in the capacity He desires to manifest through us.
- We should desire to have the Body of Christ function in the capacity it is intended and designed to operate – being willing to allow God to use us to edify one another.
- We should join god where God is at work, not following our flesh or using God’s gifts to benefit ourselves.
USING YOUR ELDERS FOR UNDERSTANDING
The Lord Jesus reveals to us in 1 Timothy 4:14;”Do no neglect the spiritual gifts within you, which was bestowed upon you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery (church leadership).
It is my desire for each person that goes through this study to experience the fullness of His gifting within them. It is the responsibility of your church leadership to help you discover your gifting. Do not hesitate to contact your pastor to get your questions answered. This study is to start the process of you embracing all that God has for you regarding His spiritual gifts.
DO NOT LOOK DOWN ON YOUR YOUTHFULNESS
Many people do not think they are mature enough to use their gifting or they think that they have not been saved long enough to be used by God fully. Nothing could be further from the truth. Once you have received the Holy Spirit upon salvation, you are qualified to be used by God.
1 Timothy 4:11-16 tells us:
“Prescribe and teach these things. Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gifts within you, which was bestowed upon you; through the prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; preserve in these things; for as you this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”
God wants us to be prescribing and teaching these things. Prescribing meaning, writing them down, and then teaching them to the Body of Christ. We are being called by God to know our gifting. We are not to look down on our youthfulness. He wants us to speak with the power of God, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through us. He allows the fruit of the Holy Spirit to show through our conduct, His love, appropriating the measure of faith He has put within us and walk in the purity of His light while we live. In fact, we are to be examples to those who are Christians, teaching them by example how to walk after the Spirit and operating in the fullness of His gifting within us.
How do we accomplish this? It is accomplished by being devoted to the scriptures. Since the Word of God is alive and sharper than a two-edged sword, by teaching what God’s Word says, we will exhort one another to function in their God given gifts.
God wants us to take pains with these things – take this matter on as a burden. He desires for us to be absorbed in them, soak them up like a sponge. This is how we reveal our progress in our walk with Him to the world around us. When people see God’s gifting flowing through us, they see God!
Lastly, God wants us to pay close attention to our teachings regarding this topic. This topic needs to be handled by God through us. Many churches have been divided over the topic of spiritual gifts. The gifts are for unity, not to bring more division.
DISCOVERING YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS
You have just begun the process of discovering your spiritual gifts. Some of you have known for many years and some may be just “looking into it.” In either case, God knows you are interested in Knowing Your Spiritual Gifts. Here is a list of items to keep in mind as you explore the realities of God’s gifts:
- Be willing to explore what God has for you. Read each of the scriptures stated in this study. Use this booklet as a Bible Study. Pray through each scripture. Learn what the gifs are, how they are used, what characterizes them and how they function within the Body of Christ.
- Don’t lean upon your feelings. Many look to their feelings to label their gift. God will reveal your gift(s) through the presbytery (elders) of your church. The Spirit will bear witness with the process and the location of the gift if it is of God. It is true that when you are functioning in your gift, you will “feel” like you have found your “niche.” When or if you are functioning in a task that is not your gifting, you will “feel like a fish out of water.” You just won’t be able to function in a comfortable and free manner. It is a true statement that God does not strap you with a gift you will not enjoy.
- When functioning in your gifting, you will see the positive results. Since spiritual gifts are designed to benefit the Body of Christ, not yourself, you should see the fruit developed in the lives of the people you are helping. You will not see a positive result if you are using your gift to exalt yourself or by using a gift, you really don’t have.
- Expect confirmation from the Body of Christ. It is a good idea to allow the Body of Christ to be a part of the process of confirming your gifting. God speaks through the Body. People observing us are equally as important as the Spirit’s revelation in our prayer time. That’s because it is the same thing. If you believe you have particular gifts and no one else agrees with you, then you should go to the presbytery (church leadership) for confirmation.
- The Lord is the One to lead you to discovering your gift. Even though God uses the above process, God reveals His gifts in you. Remember that He is the gift Giver and He knows what is in His “gift bag.”
As God reveals more of His supernatural ways, you openly accept His manifestations of the Spirit in a manner that is worthy of His calling. Do not limit God to your human reasoning – let God be God even in your gifting.
- Stephen Phinney