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.

  1. Some don't know they have it.
  2. Some don't know that there is any such thing as spiritual gifts.
  3. 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.


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