Every born-again believer has been called by God to serve His Kingdom through the local church. The scripture is very clear in its pattern that the life and ministry of believers in Christ cannot be separate from the local church. Just as God chose the nation of Israel to be the nation through which the Savior came, God has chosen the church (specifically every local church) to be the means through which He carries out His purposes on earth during this current dispensation. Therefore, being connected with a local body of believers is expected of every true believer. The Holy Spirit has given every believer certain spiritual gifts, and has specifically placed believers in specific churches where they use their gifts for the edifying of the church and for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom.
There are seven basic categories of spiritual gifts. Those categories include: Leadership Gifts, Missional Gifts, Service Gifts, Sign Gifts, Encouragement Gifts, Wisdom Gifts, and Teaching Gifts. It is important to note that every born-again believer who is walking with the Lord and growing in their faith has been given multiple spiritual gifts. However, no one has all the gifts. The Holy Spirit gives us certain gifts as He wills. It is not our choice as to what spiritual gifts we have. Therefore, we should seek to discover the gifts we have been given and work to develop and cultivate those gifts in a way that honors the Lord and strengthens the church.
The Leadership Gifts include the gifts of administration, leadership, and pastoring/shepherding. These gifts are seen in 1 Corinthians 12:28 when Paul mentions the gift of ‘government’ or ‘administration.’ These gifts are also seen in Romans 12:8 where is mentioned that those that ‘rule’ should do so with diligence. In Ephesians 4:11 we see listed the spiritual gift of pastoring. Each one of these gifts have similar characteristics. There are some whom God has given one specific gift of leadership and there are others who may have been given all of the leadership gifts. Each of these gifts of leadership are to be used in specific roles and for specific tasks within the church.
Administration. The spiritual gift of administration comes from the Greek word ‘kubernesis.’ It gives the idea of a shipmaster or a captain. It specifically means to ‘steer’ or to ‘rule’ or ‘govern’. Those who have the gift of administration are those who guides a group of people toward a goal or destination. Some Biblical examples of those with this gift include Moses, Nehemiah, and the Apostles. Moses followed the advice of his father-in-law to delegate responsibilities so that the people would be governed well. We read about this in Exodus 18:17-27. Moses understood that he could not possibly do everything himself, so he divided up responsibilities amongst capable people while he tended to the overall picture. In the book of Nehemiah, we read of how Nehemiah had a vision to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He saw the need and did something about it. He developed a well-organized planned and recruited the help, trained them, and led them each step of the way until the project was completed. In Acts 6:1-3 we see the Apostles taking on an administrative role as they appointed qualified men to serve as the first deacons of the church. These are all examples of people whom God called and gave them the gift of administration. They captained the ship, and they steered people in the direction that they were to go. The gift of administration is a requirement for one to serve in the office of pastor, for example. The pastor of the church is also considered as the bishop of overseer. Therefore, the pastor must be one who has been given the spiritual gift of administration. However, the pastor is not the only one in the church that may have this gift. Those with this gift may be suited for other areas of service within the church. Though it may not be required, it would be useful if various roles in the church such as the deacon chairman, trustee chairman, Sunday School teachers, and others would have the gift of administration.
Leadership. The spiritual gift of leadership is similar to the gift of administration, yet, it has some notable differences. The gift of leadership comes from a Greek word that means to lead, assist, protect, and care for others. It is different from the gift of administration in that it is more hands on. Those with the gift of leadership may take their cues from those with the gift of administration and take the vision that is cast and follow the guidance of the one steering the ship to carry out the objectives that will accomplish the various goals. Examples of those with a gift of leadership would be Aaron and Joshua who assisted Moses. Timothy took what Paul gave him and implemented what he was trained to do. The Apostles took the training and instructions given to them by Jesus and implemented a plan to bring the Gospel to the world. Those with the leadership gift have the ability to take a plan, strategy, or assignment given to them and implement it in a such a way that makes the overall desired goals to be accomplished. They are also very entrepreneurial and are willing to take risks for the Kingdom of God. Those with the gift of leadership are also good with navigating through times of crises and are equipped to care for those under their leadership. If you have the gift of leadership, you will also be able to accomplish various tasks and objectives with quality and in a timely manner. At the church where I pastor, we are organized in such a way that we have the pastor, staff, and volunteer ministry directors that carries out the mission of the church. Anyone that serves in any of those roles should have the gift of leadership. The ministry directors may not have the gift of administration as the pastor is required to have, however, they must have the gift of leadership if their area of ministry is going to be effective. Therefore, as we consider those to serve in those areas, we prayerfully look for those who have the gift of leadership. I would also say that Sunday School teachers should have the gift of leadership. A Sunday School class is more than just doing a Bible Study. The Sunday School teacher is to lead their class to accomplish various objectives and tasks for the edifying and continual growth of the church. The gift of leadership is a very important gift for the church and should not be taken lightly. Prayerful consideration should be given to those who are appointed for various roles in the church and time should be given for thorough examination to make sure that they have the gift associated with whatever role they seek to fill.
Pastoring/Shepherding. The spiritual gift of pastoring or shepherding is a spiritual gift, not just an office. When it comes to the one that serves in the office of Pastor, there is strong Biblical evidence that he is required to have all the leadership gifts along with the gifts of teaching and prophecy (preaching). However, one may have the gift of pastoring/shepherding and not serve in the office of pastor. Both men and women may have the spiritual gift of pastoring/shepherding. The idea of pastoring/shepherding is one who cares for the flock. A shepherd leads, protects, disciplines, and cares for the sheep. For example, a godly mother would have the spiritual gift of pastoring/shepherding. She leads her children on safe paths, she protects her children from harm, she disciplines her children when they get out of line, and she cares for their needs. Those who should have the gift of pastoring/shepherding in the church are those such as: deacons, ministry directors, small group leaders, discipleship mentors, etc. This is one gift that many mature believers in the Lord have but don’t realize it. They have been taught all their lives that pastoring/shepherding is something only the one who holds the office of Pastor does. There are many people in churches all over the world that are not being cared for because there are those who have the gift of pastoring/shepherding, but they are not using it. This is a gift that needs to be cultivated and developed in the church.
As we consider the spiritual gifts of leadership, we should all be encouraged to prayerfully consider if the Holy Spirit has given us one or more of these gifts. Once we have determined whether or not we have these gifts, we should then look for ways to exercise these gifts in the life and ministry of the local church. There are many roles in the church to be filled by those who have leadership gifts. The whole church will benefit greatly from the impact you can make when you use your spiritual gifts for the edifying of the church and for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom.