LIVING THE VISION
Churches all across South Georgia are in a preparation period for Charge Conference. Charge Conference is similar to the annual meeting of an organization where leadership is elected and important decisions are ratified.
It is easy for pastors and congregational leaders to see this process as drudgery and meaningless because there are so many administrative tasks required prior to the actual meeting. I fully understand this feeling. As the saying goes, “I have been there and done that!”
Yet, there is another way to approach this Charge Conference season. This fall, I encourage each pastor and nominations committee to elevate the attention given to the leadership selection process.
Leadership is the singular most important trait shared among healthy congregations that are focused on disciple-formation. No matter what the size or location of the church, spiritually gifted and empowered laity and clergy leaders lead vital churches. The nominations process should be more than filling positions with willing bodies or in some cases with any warm body.
There are many considerations that go into who you nominate, but why not approach this from a more spiritual starting point? Leadership selection is about matching the spiritual gifts of God’s people with needed ministry functions so that each one contributes their God-given ability. Aligning the spiritual gifts for the church’s ministry will generate a God-anointed outcome that far exceeds any human endeavor.
God is not stingy with spiritual gifts. Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 introduce 20 different spiritual gifts given by God to believers. No one Christ-follower has all 20 gifts, but Paul teaches us each disciple is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good (1 Corinthians 12: 7).
Look at the wide variety of spiritual gifts. With what primary gifts has God blessed you? What secondary gifts seem to be present within you? Most Christians have a couple of primary gifts and a couple of secondary gifts.
In Romans 12, Paul identifies the gifts of exhortation, giving, leadership, mercy, prophecy, service, and teaching.
1 Corinthians 12 lists the gifts of administration, apostle, discernment, faith, healing, helps, knowledge, miracles, teaching, tongues, interpretation of tongues, and wisdom.
Ephesians 4 cites the gifts of apostle, evangelism, pastor, prophecy, and teaching.
Can you imagine how the whole nominations conversation would take on a new spiritual feel by examining what spiritual gifts are needed for certain tasks or teams and then looking for the people with the matching spiritual gifts?
Can you envision your church utilizing each person’s gift to carry out the work of Jesus Christ? Here are some outcomes you can expect:
It is my prayer that every United Methodist Christian in South Georgia will discover and engage their spiritual gifts within their local church. I believe so deeply in the Person, work and power of the Holy Spirit that I am convinced God will amaze us with spiritual outcomes that will be astounding.
We can take the first step by embracing the potential of this Pentecostal power, by looking at each potential leader through spiritual eyes, and by discerning and deploying their God-given gifts in faithful ways.
**Dr. Brad Brady is the Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries.