I recently took part in an ordination service and in preparing what on say on that occasion and reflecting on it since it has caused me, to marvel at the multifaceted gifting that God has granted to his Church. On that occasion just looking around the congregation one saw such a diversity of gifts. All of which God has granted to his Church for the edification of believers and for the extension of kingdom in mission.
The Commission: All those of us who are called to preach have been called to faithfully proclaim the word of God. The Apostle Paul in his second letter to Timothy spells out clearly the call that God has placed on our lives.
2 Timothy 4
1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
As we look at this passage we can see clearly that the pastoral ministry requires all those who occupy to be faithful to the Word of God. We are to be prepared att all times to teach and preach the Word of God. We should notice here the practical link of ministry to living the Christian life, for Paul false teaching stopped people from living the God glorifying lives that God intended. At this point we need to be very careful that we do not turn God’s call into some legalistic view of ministry that all must fit. There has been a tendency to imitate certain leaders and make their style of ministry the standard by which we measure ministry. It is important to stress that we all have the same call, the same responsibility to God in Christ. We all need the same Holy Spirit to empower us and guide us but it is Christ who we should be imitating, his commission will have practical out workings in various cultures and church situations.
The Diversity of Gifts: When one begins to look at the variety of people God calls to ministry, we see an amazing picture of God’s creativity and his graciousness. When one looks at the history of the Church one sees such a diversity of people all preaching the same gospel. One could compare for instance two giants of British Evangelicalism from the twentieth century, Martyn Lloyd- Jones and John Stott their preaching styles were very different, they had different emphasizes yet they proclaimed the same gospel. Some people would align themselves with Lloyd-Jones and his reliance on the Puritans, others would align themselves with John Stott and his more Anglican style of ministry. I heard both of these giants preach and I am thankful to God for them both.
There is a greater diversity of gifting than this one can see for instance that some people can use the media to creatively communicate the gospel. Other people along side their pastoral call have a call to compose songs for the edification of the body of Christ. Surely we should celebrate such diversity rather than to try to create clones of our heroes. We need the diversity of gifting even in one church, it is interesting to see how different styles can work together to the glory of God. Sometime people give the impression that to be different is bad but the Scripture affirms that God has called a diversity of people to proclaim the gospel, the diverse gifting is the Lord’s gift to his church let us praise God for it.