After basic training, all Army recruits spend the next 2-3 months in AIT – Advanced Individual Training. It is imperative, in the complex mission of the military, for each individual to become an expert in a specialized field.
Even in the civilian world, it is necessary for individuals to acquire specific skills in order to facilitate the complex operation of this industrialized, electronic age in which we live.
It is no different in the church; each believer has been given individual talents that must be discovered and perfected if the church is to be “all that she can be”.
Many times, the military or our civilian community will encourage us to do what interests us the most. This is very practical for the well being of individuals and the military or civilian community as a whole. We work harder and more enthusiastically when we have a voice in choosing our life’s work. The community as a whole benefits when individuals are fulfilled in their careers. The same is true in church life; leaders should be very diligent in identifying and encouraging the individual ministries of its members.
Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 contain most of the Spiritual Gifts available to church members. If a church is wise, it will spend its resources generously and often to help individuals discover their gifts and then put them into action. A church where the bulk of the ministry is carried on by professional ministers will eventual die from the lack of enthusiasm of its leaders and members. It is not enough to help the church members to discover their gifts; facilitation of the operation of these gifts must be practiced diligently and regularly.
Sadly, this is contrary to the religious spirit of the day, where deadly collusion is often in force between complacent church members and complicit leaders who maintain their positions of leadership by giving in to the spoken or silent demands of the laity.
Ideally, pastors and teachers are to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. In actuality, this is rarely accomplished. Since the beginning of the church, God’s people have resisted entering in to cooperation with the Spirit and voice of God.
There is nothing new under the sun; we need revival today, just as desperately as any generation has ever needed it.
Lord, send your Holy Spirit; by your mercy and grace give us hearts eager to hear your voice and obey. Amen.
~ Brad Heilhecker