Recently I was having a conversation with a new acquaintance whom I will call Judy, a godly woman who was telling me about her husband's ministry. His organization's goal is to train not only pastors but to cast a vision for "every-member ministry."
That sounded really good, and reminded me of a conversation I had a week earlier in Michigan with a man who explained over lunch about the seven (or maybe it was 12) gifts God has given to His people for equipping the church. I asked the man what his particular gift was, and he did not hesitate, saying it was "counseling." He said his son David's is "teaching."
I liked that. I thought it was a very healthy emphasis that man's church has, to make everyone in the congregation consider what his or her special endowment might be from the Lord. My own congregation preaches on Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 every blue moon, but not with the degree of intentionality and focus of that man's church.
So I started to share the Michigan man's insights about the list of giftings with Judy. Her countenance dropped. She said "I'm familiar with that teaching," and mentioned the name Benny Hinn in a disparaging tone. I tried to do damage control, to convey how personally encouraged I am by the reminder of Spiritual gifts for all believers, wresting church work from the exclusive domain of the sacerdotal class.
But it was no use. The woman didn't hear a word I said after I uttered the phrase "gifts of the Spirit." It reminded her of something she had heard Benny Hinn say, so she would not countenance any merit in it. I marveled at how we get bogged down in shibboleths and don't hear each other.
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