Equipping the Saints

Posted: November 17, 2008 by cthoward in Ministry Question
Tags: , , , , ,

Practically, how can we help the members of the Lord’s body where we’re serving to discover & employ their own spiritual giftedness?  (Emphasis on discovery)  I am just wondering what you guys are all trying and what’s working and what’s not.  (question from Brian King)

  1. Johnny B says:

    I do not know how many of you get updates on Bryan Shelley. So I wanted to pass this update along that I received from Debby today.

    “Well, just a note to let you know Bryan ’s chemo has been canceled for this week. He woke up this morning with a large swollen infection on the left side of his face. We suspect it’s an infected tooth but won’t know until next week. They put him on antibiotics and will schedule an oncologist appt next Monday. Everything goes through his oncologist so she has to authorize even dental treatments. And there’s the issue over the blood thinner if he has any dental surgery.

    Also over the weekend I took Steph, our daughter, to the ER with 104 temp. She has strep throat so if you smell bleach, it’s our house. It’s very dangerous for Bryan to be exposed to the strep virus. Oh my, bad timing for both of them.

    So please keep us in your prayers and I’ll let you know as we rearrange the schedules. We are anxious to have the CT scan to see any progress. I hope it will go on as scheduled for Dec 3rd. Hopefully this bump in the road will have minor affects on his treatment.

    I took Bryan into the Cancer Center this morning since the swelling in his face hasn’t gone down and spread to his lip and around his eye. They did blood work (he feels like a pin cushion these days) and the oncologist wanted to see him. She suspects it to be an abscessed tooth and did suggest him seeing a dentist. She also increased his antibiotics. There is a possibility the meds for his bones are affecting his teeth.

    He’s gone to see our good friend Dr Peffley, the dentist that does the mission work down in Panama every year. A very good man. Dr. Peffley referred him to a dental surgeon and said there’s a tooth that needs to be extracted or the infection will keep coming back. Any treatment is complex due to the meds Bryan is taking. Most important, the blood thinners. Dr Parveez, the oncologist, explained he will be prone to infection so this is expected. He just feels so sick and wants so badly to feel normal. They moved all his appointments out a week, including the CT scan to Dec 10th.

    So he’ll have chemo treatments the week of Thanksgiving. Can you believe that’s next week???? A good time to pause and praise God, rest and spend precious time with family. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and will take time to reflect on the many blessings from above, including each new day of life to enjoy. Please continue to keep us in your daily prayers. We’ve enjoyed so much hearing from you all and receiving all the wonderful and loving cards and calls. I thank God for each one of you! God bless you and your families.”


  2. npulpit says:

    Thanks a bunch Johnny for the update on Bryan. I think I echo the feelings of everyone who reads that we continue to bathe our brother in prayer. Jesus shows us the persistence we need in prayer over these matters, not to cause God to cave to our demands, but rather to demonstrate our great concern we have for them and identify with our God in his concern over them. He is mindful of each of us and it is comforting to know he hears us.

  3. npulpit says:

    In response to the question posted: I have been wondering the same thing lately because I have been teaching a new converts class. We want these new brothers to feel comfortable in their new garments of righteousness and to recognize they are contributing members of the body.

    I feel a lot of the ingnorance in our brothers and sisters can be corrected simply by teaching. In my class, I laid out several of the spiritual gifts (from Eph 4.11 and Rom 12.6b-8) as a means to say, “Here are few of the spiritual gifts God blesses his church with; what do you see that identifies you.” I think that is where a lot of it comes from is desire. Do you have a desire to teach? encourage? serve? If you do, do it.

    But most gifts will have to be cultivated. Not every new Christian can get in the classroom and teach. So point them in the right direction of good study material. Give them opportunities to speak (like a Wed. devo) and help mature and fan into flame their gift. Some of it will also be trial and error. Not everyone is a song leader but it may take having them lead singing to figure this out.

    I try as much as possible to put the burden on the disciple to find their gift. I don’t want to be the guy who says “We need a body here; do it.” Rather, if they are truly in an area, they will enjoy it and do it heartily for the Lord. They find fulfillment in do it. So I encourage them to use what they already to figure our what God has further given.

  4. Johnny B says:

    If this were to be class of new Christians, then I’d try to prepare them for the immediate struggles that they will face. Likely there will be attack from our enemy with marital strife or with other non-believing family members, or flesh attack that will suddenly rear it’s head once the newness of everything has worn down.

    I’d give them a good strong dose of Jesus. Get in the gospels and preach Jesus to them and his saving grace and power over the flesh and the struggles of this world. Topics might include faith, hope and love, and fellowship as true brothers and sisters would share and fight together when under attack. When the heat is on, they need to be so “in love with Jesus” that they will know where to turn. A lesson on prayer would be helpful–the kind of prayer that will pull you through a storm of life. Some of David’s prayers in the Psalms would illustrate this. Roots that grow deep in Jesus is what they need. Roots, baby, roots!

    We have a lifetime to teach doctrine. Let the Bible highlight a life of deep conviction and love affair with our Lord Jesus.

  5. Brian King says:

    Appreciate the comment Johnny, and I 100% agree with you about preaching & teaching Jesus, especially to new converts. We can never learn too much about our Lord & His love for us. Nor can we be too encouraged by His life of Godliness & complete devotion to the will of God and our responsibility to follow in His footsteps…

    So I suppose I should offer a little bit of clarification concerning my original question. I wasn’t asking, par say, about new converts. I was talking really thinking about about how to help those who have been in Christ, and feel secure in the love of Christ, but have simply not been educated to the fact that they are indeed gifted by God with a work to do in His body.

    Although I must say, I was reading Jim McGuiggan’s updated & enlarged commentary on Romans last night, and he has some really awesome insight on this question in his comments on Romans 12:1-2. I highly recommend the read to you all if you haven’t read it already, and if you have, go look at it again, boy it’s helpful.

    Still, any other insight is of course also greatly appreciated.

  6. Johnny B says:

    Will read that again Brian. Thanks.

    I would like to add, old or new, long time or first time…we have to make sure that they are not just knowing about Jesus but are meeting HIM!

    Look at 2 Cor 4. Paul is talking about a ministry of mercy (given to those otherwise unworthy by God), and that it is a ministry of the heart. Once God gets into our heart (like we love our brides or our babies)it will spur us forward and we will begin searching how to serve. Until then, it feels like obligation or duty, or even another thing to add to the already full dayplanner.

    If we get them to love Jesus the way that we do…then they will be beating down your door (or overflowing your e-mail) looking for ways to serve, and even begin to come up with ministries that they want to implement.

  7. David says:

    If you’re looking for a future topic, how about blaspheming the Holy Spirit. It’s so serious Jesus said those who do so, it will NOT be forgiven (Luke 12:10).

    Perhaps a discussion of what blaspheming the Spirit IS and what it ISN’T could be helpful.


  8. David says:

    If you’re looking for a future topic, how about blaspheming the Holy Spirit. It’s so serious Jesus said those who do so, it will NOT be forgiven (Luke 12:10).

    Perhaps a discussion of what blaspheming the Spirit IS and what it ISN’T could be helpful.


  9. cthoward says:


    I taught a series of lessons recently on Being a Church of Servants which included lessons about spiritual gifts from Rom 12……but I have realized that preaching alone rarely accomplishes anything as practical as finding and implementing gifts.

    So, we have been doing home Bible studies with a few “core” families to talk more in-depth about how we can better serve. We decided as a group which direction we would like to go for now, and I was pleased to see that we were all agreed that evangelism was the way to go. So, we will be spending our time improving our evangelism skills with discussion, role-playing, etc. The future of the group is still not concrete, but we plan either to multiply them so that the current members lead other groups…..or to use our current group as an evangelism tool by inviting neighbors and friends to join us for a home Bible study.

    Anyway, I am pleased with how it is going so far, and it could easiliy be adapted to help people discover their spiritual gifts (in fact that was one preliminary idea I had for the group).

    Other than that, I think the best thing we can do is provide opportunities for people to serve in different areas so they can try them and decide what they like and what they are gifted in.

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