Why Do We Study Spiritual Gifts?
By Dr. Ray Melugin
"Pastors of growing churches, whether they
be large or small, know how to motivate their laypeople,
how to create structures which permit them to be active
and proactive, and how to guide them into meaningful avenues
of Christian service." (C. Peter Wagner, Your Church Can
Grow, "Liberate the Laypeople." p.77)
The "Charismatic Confusion" that prevails
the world over also deamnds that we take a look into the
biblical doctrine of spiritual gifts.
The Hypothesis of the 10%:
Based upon research by Wagner, a church growth expert, "in
the average evangelical church, up to 10% of the members
have been given the gift of eveangelist."
This is admittedly empirical rather than evangelical,
even though there is a somewhat biblical basis for it. When
Jesus left the earth, He left a nuclear group of about 120
committed believers in the First Church of Jerusalem. Of
them, He had carefully selected and trained 10%, the twelve
apostles. This percentage may be suspect, but it may serve
as a working figure.
The Problem of the 9.5%
In the opinion of some, one of the major obstacles to church
grwoth today is that of the 10% to whom God has given the
gift of evangelist, only about 1/2 of 1% are actively using
it. The other 9.5% have the gift but are not using it.
- Some don't know they have it.
- Some don't know that there is any such thing as spiritual
Some may think they have it, but are
not afforded good opportunities or proper encouragement
to use it well.
The Potential of the 90%
Many churches have active evangelistic programs; yet, perhaps
one particular church does not grow over th eyears. What
is the problem? The front door is wide open, but many who
enter it soon find their way out the back door. Not having
the gift of evangelism does not exempt us from witnessing.
(Acts 1:8) Witnessing is not an option. It is the result
of a Spirit-filled life. But just because a member may not
have the gift of evangelism does not exclude him from other
valuable spiritual gifts that are intended to be excercised
in the Body for growth. The nurture of new converts and
the process of folding them into the Body is euqally as
important as their conversion as far as church grwoth is
concerned. This is why every member of the church should
know about spiritual gifts. They should be encouraged to
discover, develop and use the gift or gifts that the Lord
has given them.