This is a study to help you be a Disciple of Jesus Christ

Lesson 4

How the Body Functions

Every believer has been given a ministry to the body of Christ.

Rom 12:6-8 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

In this passage of Scripture, Paul refers to the gifts that each believer has. These gifts differ from the ministry gifts Christ gives to specific people to lead the church. Eph 4:11

  • And then we have the Charismata gifts which the Holy Spirit gives which are found in 1 Cor 12:8-11

The Rom 12:6-8 list of gifts is often referred to as the Motivational Gifts or the Body Gifts. There are seven gifts or expressions of ministry mentioned in this passage.

You will often find that you have been wired or have talents in certain areas that God can use in the ministry.  These gifts will give you a tendency or a desire to minister in a particular way. When you minister in the area of your motivational gift, you will have a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment. These motivational gifts will decide the way we function best in the body of Christ. These gifts are a part of who we are, they are like a hidden passion within our lives steering us towards an area of ministry in which we can function effectively.

Prophecy

This is the God-given ability to bring the mind of God and a message from God for things to come.

It always for the purpose of encouragement, exhortation or edification. This is not the 5-fold gift of the prophet but the gift of prophecy which every believer can operate in. 1 Cor 14:5

It is an operation of the gift of prophecy given to build and edify the church This is a gift that grows sometimes over a period of time and results in being expressed when the appropriate opportunity arises to bless people within church.

Growing in the Prophetic: Wayne Grudem states “ In most cases prophecy is reporting in human words what God brings to mind”. God conveys His thoughts to our mind, which we communicate in contemporary language. It is a mixture of God’s words and man’s words. Some “prophetic words” may be 10 percent God’s words and 90 percent man’s words, while others have a greater revelatory content. Prophecy contains three elements:

Revelation:                  This is the raw divine communication we receive from God.
Interpretation:           This is how we personally interpret what God is trying to say to us.
Application:                This is how we deliver the message God has given to us.

As we learn to grow in the prophetic, the revelation will become clearer, so will our interpretation become clearer and our application will be given in the Spirit God has given us the message. In understanding that prophecy is often a mixture of man and God, it allows room to step out in faith, knowing that we can all grow in the prophetic by exercising of faith, experience, and remaining teachable. Rom 12:6

Serving

This is the God-given desire to serve. It literally means to “wait on tables” but in its operation it includes every form of practical assistance.

Ministry is the demonstration of us showing God’s love by meeting the practical needs of others. This special ability identifies people’s personal needs or practical needs within the church and uses available resources to meet those needs. If you have the gift of serving, you will find joy in helping others in practical ways. 1 Cor 12:28

Those with this gift find a sense of satisfaction when they are involved in serving in the church. This gift is often overlooked, and many cannot accept that their desire and joy in serving is a ministry given to them by God. Yet some many people are blessed as people function in this givt. People gifted in this way are often humble and do not seek prominence or recognition. We must acknowledge their gift and see its importance.

Teaching

This is the ability to clarify truth, communicate information and help others learn. It results in the improved health and maturity of believers as they act on the teaching they receive.

This ministry is not the same as the Fivefold ministry gift of teaching. This gift may not always find expression in the pulpit, for it most often finds its expression in smaller groups such as in a home group, a class, a Sunday school, a youth group or on a one to one situation. If you find joy and fulfilment in helping others understand the word of God, you may have a gift of teaching.

God has called us all in one level or another to teach others in order to fulfil the great commission.  Mat 28:20

Exhortation

This is the ability to encourage, counsel and motivate others. This ministry helps people overcome difficulties and continue progressing in their spiritual life.

Once again, this gift has been overlooked in the Church. Many people with this gift of exhorting and encouraging have not realised that the joy they find in giving encouragement to others is a result of a gift that God has given them. Because this gift acts so naturally, there is a tendency for people to deny it and think they are being foolish when God is prompting them to encourage others.

Someone said that all we have to do to discourage someone is to say nothing, yet just a small word of encouragement causes people to soar. 1 Thes 5:11, Heb 10:25

Giving

This is the ability to contribute to the material resources of the Lord’s work in a generously and cheerfully manner. It may involve contributing to the needs of others less fortunate that we encounter.

Some find it difficult to recognise this as a ministry. Yet we need more people to use this gift in the Church. Notice the Scripture does not refer to these people as wealthy, because they are often people who are not wealthy. The gift is one of giving, not wealth, and does not refer to how much is given. The gift may lead to wealth, but it can be practiced without being wealthy. It can sometimes be expressed as an entrepreneurial ability. 2 Cor 9:6-10

This Scripture shows us that those who have this gift and practice it faithfully may experience wealth so that they can be more effective in giving. The chief guideline is that we give – to get – to give, and not give to get to keep.

The blessings of God comes to those who are sowers, God does not promise he will bless those that give it a go to see if it works, sowing is something that is done consistently and is done by faith in God’s Word. A farmer sows with an expectation of a harvest

Leading

This is the ministry of leadership and administration. It is the ability to motivate people towards the God given vision for the Church and understand the goals necessary for the body to achieve. It also involves the coordinating of people, resources and schedules to achieve God’s purpose. This gift helps the individual to catch the vision and inspire others and enlist them in the achievement of the goals.

It is the ability to devise and execute plans and accomplish goals. The word used in this verse describes a person steering a boat. They have an understanding of where they are heading (which is vision), and the ability to guide the vessel to that goal (which is administration.)

Mercy

This is the ability to feel genuine empathy and compassion for those in need. Those with this gift identify and comfort those in distress. They have the ability to show the compassion of Christ and help relieve the suffering of others.

We can also easily overlook this gift. We need to realise that the “promptings” we receive from God, to show compassion for others, is a God given gift that we will find satisfying when we act upon God’s leading. Mat 9:36-38

Hospitality

1 Pet 4:9-10 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

This is the ability to provide a warm welcome to those in the body of Christ so that they feel welcomed, accepted, and loved. This is also rarely seen as a ministry, but it is a ministry that needs to find expression in the Church. We must not fail to appreciate this ministry that God has given to some.

1 Cor 13:1-3 expresses that if we are serving in any capacity in the church, and if we’re not doing it out of a heart of love it means nothing, we will never make a difference if we have the wrong attitude or wrong motivation when we are serving.

Serving and Servitude: We need to understand that there is a big difference between servility and servant hood, let me explain. In some places they use convict labour to pick all the rubbish alongside the roads and highways. If you ever happen to see them you will notice that they have their bags and their little pokers to pick the rubbish up with, they are usually moving really slowly and not very excited about the task at hand.

Then there are others that as a community project might have adopted a stretch of road or highway in their community and their aim is to keep it looking beautiful, they want their community to look nice and therefore they take great pride in what they do.

Here we have a wonderful example of the difference between servitude and servanthood.

  • Servitude serves out of an obligation, they have an “I have to” mentality
  • Servant hood comes out of a heart of love and obedience to the word of God. They have an “I want to serve God” attitude

Intercession

This is the ability to pray for extended periods of time on a regular basis and to see frequent answers to prayer. This person will experience the urge to pray for people, situations, nations, etc. and the Holy Spirit will anoint them for prayer. The burden may come suddenly and may be intense and emotional.

It may lift once the intercessor has prayed in response to the burden. We need more people to recognise their gift of intercession and we will see many more answers to prayer and mighty miracles.

This is often a lonely ministry and one that may not receive the praise of others, but it is a ministry that will receive praise from God. Col 1:9, 1 Thes 3:9-10

Singing and music

This is the ability to use music as a medium for ministry. It may be as a writer of songs, a leader of worship, a singer or a worship musician. The musician communicates God’s Word, sometimes prophetically, through music or song. David the Psalmist had an evident ministry of music. The ministry of music is vital to today’s Church. 1 Chron 15:16

Music has always been one of the most powerful means of communication. Right throughout the history of the world music has been used in one form or another. Music provides an incredible vehicle for us to express our praise, thanksgiving and adoration to God: with every generation comes a new style and distinct sound. It is our heart at Sound City church that we will be able to always reach out and worship God in a modern, relevant and contemporary way.  God is inspiring a new and distinct sound in the world today; it’s a sound of jubilant, victorious praise and worship.

Music helps to lift us into that place where we can praise and ultimately worship. The instruments are vital because praise is a form of warfare, praise brings victory, and praise is the power of heaven.

Please complete and submit this part of  lesson, we are looking forward to seeing what God has revealed to you in His Word and through this Study.

As disciples we don't always need more information but we need new revelation from God. Is there a certain part of the teaching that you loved, that stood out for you or you felt God was giving you insight into it?
Discipleship is all about learning God says. What was something new that you learnt in this lesson?
Putting God's word into practice is the greatest thing we can do. Was there a lesson, a principle or a promise that you can put into practice in your life?
The greatest part of discipleship is taking what you have learnt and sharing it with someone else. What part of this lesson could you pass on to others?
If there are any questions or queries about this lesson or regarding the school of ministry please feel free to ask.