Yes, at last, we are on to the second section – gifts of leadership. Here is the material for this section. I will add some posts with comments from the groups as we work our way through this section.
As Christians we are to develop all the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23.)
The gifts of the Spirit are a bit different. They are many and various. None is more important than the others. Every Christian who is willing and open, who desires to receive the gifts, will receive them, but they are not usually only for personal edification, they are for the good of the community. No one has all the gifts because they are gifts, given by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes gifts relate to people’s natural skills, sometimes they do not. Sometimes people receive a gift for a long period, for example when it relates to a role they are being called upon to undertake for God. In other situations the gift is given for a particular moment or situation. In every situation, spiritual gifts are given by the Spirit of God because they are needed to build up the body of Christ in some way.
Types of spiritual gifts
You will remember that we discussed in the introductory section how to categorise gifts. There are many gifts listed in the Bible but the ones listed almost certainly are not all the gifts that the Spirit gives – the way they are listed often looks as if they are examples rather than complete lists. But the Biblical lists allow us to study the types of gifts that the Spirit might give and so help us to recognise them in our lives and in the lives of others. By recognising the movement of the Spirit in our and our friends’ lives we can encourage one another to be open to allowing the gifts to work through us.
This is the categorisation I have chosen to help us look at the various types of gifts. There are plenty of other ways. This is simply to make things manageable for us.
- Gifts of leadership
- Gifts of discernment
- Gifts of healing and wholeness
- Gifts of support
Gifts of leadership
Read through some of the lists of gifts given in the Bible, e.g. read 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, 28-30, Ephesians 4:11, Romans 12:7, 1 Peter 4:10-11
Which of these would you describe as gifts of leadership?
I have picked out these gifts as gifts of leadership, but you may have others. That is fine.
Apostle, leader, pastor, teacher, speaking, prophecy, evangelist
Can you describe what each of these is about?
Which lists do they appear in?
Why have I suggested that they are gifts of leadership?
Read 1 Corinthians 12:27-30
Why does Paul give an order to gifts in this passage?
Do you think it helpful or unhelpful? Why?
Read Ephesians 4:11-12 again.
What is the purpose of the leadership gifts?
Can you think of any people in the Bible (especially the New Testament) where the Spirit has given one of the gifts of leadership?
Discuss these examples and look them up in the Bible.
Have you experienced any of the gifts of leadership at work in people’s lives, either your own or others? (Remember, the gift may be given long-term for undertaking a role, or short-term for a one-off situation.)
How do you know whether it is a gift of the Spirit at work?
Having discussed the leadership gifts do you feel more able to discern when the Spirit is working through someone? Why is this important?
A final question to ponder but not discuss: how do you feel about the gifts of leadership? How have you responded to thinking about them? Might the Holy Spirit be telling you something about your spiritual gifting?
Leadership gifts are not in any way superior to other gifts. It is simply that leaders are leaders. Also, it is clear from Ephesians that these gifts are gifts of serving which are supposed to enable all God’s people to discover and develop their ways of serving so that the body of Christ may be built up. Leadership gifts are nothing to do with pompous people with an over-inflated opinion of themselves! On the contrary, as with all gifts, leadership gifts are best displayed in those who have truly given themselves over to serve Christ and his body, the people of God.
Conclude each session with prayer and private pondering of the final question. Pray for everyone to have the discernment to see the gifts of the Spirit at work in others Christians’ lives and to acknowledge that the Spirit has given them gifts too. Pray for everyone to be open to the movement of the Spirit in their lives and the life of their church.
- The word apostle comes from the Greek word apostolos which means “a messenger, one sent forth with orders.” It refers to one with delegated authority in a foreign land. Apostles were the first leaders of the Church, commissioned by Jesus. There are differences of opinion about whether this role still exists, e.g. the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches hold that properly ordained bishops are the successors to the apostles. The Pentecostal Church uses the term apostle for those it sends out, e.g. on pioneering ministries.
- In the New Testament the office of prophet is to equip the church for the work of service through exhortation, edification and consolation. Prophecy is reporting something that God has brought to your mind. It is not fortune-telling! Often, it is forth-telling, i.e. “telling it like it is” about the present and pointing out the inevitable consequences in the future.
- An evangelist is devoted to preaching the gospel for the purpose of leading people to Christ.
- Pastor derives from the Greek word for shepherd. Pastors lead, guide and set an example for other Christians.
Some examples of the gift of leadership in the New Testament:
evangelist/teacher Philip in Acts 8:26-35?
prophecy Acts 9:10-16 Ananias and Acts 11:27-28 Agabus
leadership Acts 15 passage re Council of Jerusalem discussion & decision-making; Acts 27:27-38 Paul takes charge of the ship!
teaching Acts 18:24 Apollos