All the Spirit’s gifts are wonderful; all are marked by a certain spontaneity; but none is meant to be weird. They are incalculable, not incomprehensible. And, what is more important, they are corporate… And in the light of this I shall invite you to consider what the church as a whole needs to learn, or recover, from the pentecostal movement for the sake of its mission to all the world.
What role should the gifts of the spirit play in mission?
If mission is ultimately the activity of the Holy Spirit, then it makes sense the the spiritual gifts described by Paul are given with the purpose of enabling God’s Mission. For many of us, we are more aware of some of these Gifts of the Spirit than others, depending on our theological background.
For some we are least comfortable with the gifts which could be categorised ‘supernatural’, holding the view that God is well and truly present in the ordinary without the need for overly spiritual gifts. For others, gifts of healing and prophecy might well be at the core of our missional activity, whilst the more ordinary gifts are less important or even viewed with suspicion (Do administrative structures and too much intellectual bible study prevent us from operating in and living by faith alone?)
What is interesting about Taylor, is that he doesn’t think this distinction between the ordinary and extraordinary is necessary. For him, what matters is that they are used to draw us all together, rather than to separate some apart as individuals, and that all are used to serve the Mission of God to the world.
Some questions to ponder:
- Which of the spiritual gifts listed in the New Testament are you more or less comfortable with?
- How much have you thought about the role that the gifts of the spirit play in your approach to mission?
- What ways can you use the things you’ve been gifted with to draw people together in community, rather than to set you apart as an ‘expert’?