What if you were able to recognize the different voices in your congregation and help equip them for works of service?
By Jeff Broadnax, East U.S. Regional Director
Worship teams are re-taking the stage. Seating areas are emerging once again and now we get to see what life will be like once we come back together in full capacity.
What would happen in your congregation if every member came and said, “Pastor, in order for us to operate at our healthiest level as a congregation, I need to allow the Lord to use my voice and my gifting to help. I want to do my part.”
I know, your heart just skipped a beat, right? That is what we all dream about and pray for. We long for that day when Paul’s message in Ephesians 4 takes up full residence within our congregations. We pray that every member grows in their knowledge of the Father, Son and Spirit and matures as a Spirit-led believer joining Jesus in his mission. That’s a healthy church.
As we have focused on the aspects of being Team Based and Pastor Led, we have introduced tools like the 5 Voices from GiANT Worldwide to help us see our giftings, abilities and leadership styles differently. If that is new to you and you want to know more, just reach out to your Pastor, Regional Director or me.
In teaching about the Nurturer, Guardian, Creative, Connector and Pioneer voices, our desire is to help every “supporting ligament grow” in our communication and help the congregational members be “fitly framed together” as “each part does its work.” Some have asked, however, what knowing the 5 Voices has to do with God’s gifting and with being a healthy church. Aren’t the 5 Voices more of a business model, and God’s gifting a spiritual model? I believe they relate quite well together. Allow me to explain.
As I was reading Ephesians 4 recently, something new hit me. I found myself seeing verse 11 through completely different eyes. In speaking of the grace (giftings) that have been given by Christ to his people, it says he himself gave “the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip his people for works of service…”
I used to see those as titles, but now I see them as responsibilities and styles of leadership within the body. While there are exceptions, it didn’t seem like a stretch to connect the 5 Voices to those giftings. Pioneers as apostles, Creatives as prophets, Connectors as evangelists, Nurturers as pastors, Guardians as teachers. Let me show how they fit together.
Imagine if Paul had written, “It was Jesus who gave some to have a gift of strategic vision and problem solving (apostles/pioneers), some with the gift of clearly seeing future opportunities and threats while maintaining organizational integrity (prophets/creatives), some with the gifting of effectively communicating and expanding the network (evangelists/connectors), some with the gift of maintaining relational harmony and sharing the love of Christ (pastors/nurturers), and some with the gift of maintaining healthy systems and processes (teachers/guardians).”
There are a lot more words, for sure, but I believe all members could see themselves fitting in that body. Viewing this verse in hierarchical terms is more disempowering for an average member and frankly doesn’t seem to fit the overall context of equipping members for works of service. This is why it is vital that we NOT see the terminology in Ephesians 4 through a hierarchal lens. Instead, we should see the leadership skills and responsibilities each brings to the Body. It is also important to remember that every member has all five gifts within them to varying degrees. Some are just easier to access than others.
When you recognize the different voices and start to see them in terms of the various giftings/responsibilities listed in Ephesians, you can start to see more possibilities for more members to lead the congregation to healthy church. Imagine as you come back together and seek your congregational renaissance post-Covid, you and your team intentionally see your members through this lens as you work through the three avenues of a healthy church. What would your weekly worship gathering (Hope Avenue) look like if these giftings and voices spoke into your plan? What new connect groups would you use in your discipleship pathway (Faith Avenue) that could begin to help disciples become disciple-makers? What would your next outreach event (Love Avenue) look like as members who have this giftedness and passion help you organize and lead these events?
I recently was invited to a meeting by our 22-year-old local GCNext team leader. She was sharing a community ministry partnership vision with our pastors, and she told me that she was inviting me because of my community connections. She wanted the strategic insights and accountability in her process from our pastors. Once approved, she would reach out to another member who would help other members see their part in the ministry.
I was inspired as I watched my pastors empower, engage and equip her with the resources and insights to take this vision to the next phase. I was excited as I sat there because I wondered how many other people in the congregation have ideas and visionary plans for how we can join Jesus in his mission and ‘be the church’ in our community. Then I got excited about your congregation and prayed for this to become reality.
Imagine our GCI congregations being fitly framed together like this?
One thought on “Fitly Framed Together”
Wow! I always assumed that Ephesians 4:11 was hierarchical, and the rest of us did the acts of service. I believe I may have the gift of nurturer, but I don’t think I am being called to be a pastor. What advice would you give me? Also, does “acts of service” sum up what all the gifts are, or is it additional gifts unspecified? I enjoy doing acts of service too.