What if the Church is leaving a great resource largely untapped? What if the key to church growth and reaching the world for Christ is right in front of our nose? The potential to radically impact the world for Christ is unrealized because applicable principles regarding spiritual gifts are not being taught.
Sullivan County, New York, is an area that is home to 75,000 people. Many of these are farmers and live below the national poverty level. This county is located just seventy-five miles west of the largest city in the United States, a city with more than 61,000 millionaires. While the citizens of Sullivan County have lived in the shadows of the “Big Apple,” circumstances may be about to change. The citizens of this area may be sitting on the proverbial “gold mine.” In this instance, it is not a precious metal, but valuable natural gas. “You’re talking about overnight millionaires in this county,” resident Bill Hofaker reported to WCBS-TV. This rare find could increase the national reserve of natural gas by twenty percent.
Every local church in the world is sitting upon a largely untapped “gold mine.” Yet, lost people die every few minutes to face an eternity in hell, missionaries are not getting much-needed resources, and congregations are declining because few have begun “to dig.” “God’s marvelous Church has become culturally irrelevant and even distant from its prime purpose of knowing Him, growing in Him, and worshipping Him by making disciples! Most of the statistics tell us that nearly 50% of Americans have no church home. In the 1980s, membership in the church had dropped almost 10%; then, in the 1990s, it worsened by another 12% drop—some denominations reporting a 40% drop in their membership.” (Krejcir, The Schaeffer Institute)
The effectiveness of the Church today is suffocating because the members thereof are ignorant or indifferent regarding their spiritual gifts. According to a 2009 Barna Research report, “Between those who do not know their gift (15%), those who say they don’t have one (28%) and those who claimed gifts that are not biblical (20%), nearly two-thirds of the self-identified Christian population who claim to have heard about spiritual gifts have not been able to accurately apply whatever they have heard or what the Bible teaches on the subject to their lives.” This is true from the pulpit to the pew. The local church must rediscover the treasure of God-given spiritual gifts.
In this series, we will look at the critical need to rediscover spiritual gifts and their purpose in the Church. Post to follow include:
1. What are spiritual gifts?
2. What is the purpose of spiritual gifts?
3. Who has spiritual gifts?
4. Insights from 1 Corinthians 12.
5. Insights from Romans 12
6. Insights from Ephesians 4
7. A Quick Guide to Gift Discovery
8. How to teach on Spiritual Gifts
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