Top 5 Spiritual Gifts for Church Planters
By Rachel Gilmore
Here’s the bottom line: If we take 1 Corinthians 12 seriously, then we realize that when it comes to spiritual gifts, no gifts are superior to others. If we are the body of Christ, then every part is essential and beneficial as we work together to share God’s salvific love and grace with the world. But, in a practical sense, if you are a church planter with the following gifts, you will find your first few months of planting a little easier. I’ve narrowed the list down to the top five gifts that would be helpful to planters; however, this does not mean that if you don’t have all five gifts that God can’t use you to plant something new to bring glory to the kingdom of God. I planted a church ten years ago, and I don’t have ALL these gifts. If I had, it might have made my journey a little easier.
If you have the gift of apostleship, you are not afraid to share the love and grace of Jesus with those who think, look, or speak differently from you. This gift can give you the boldness to cross boundaries and embrace the beautiful diversity we can share in the body of Christ.
The second spiritual gift is the gift of evangelism, which means the planter is hardwired to develop relationships in small- or large-group settings where enough trust is built that the planter can share personally about the love of Jesus from his/her own life into the lives of those he or she meets. Evangelists have a deep desire to connect with those who feel invisible to God and irrelevant to the church.
One of the adages in church planting is, “If you don’t believe in the forces of evil, plant a church.” In my first year of church planting, our church trailer with everything we owned was stolen, pastors in my own denomination threatened me, and my brother died suddenly of an undiagnosed illness. It was one of the hardest years of my life. The spiritual gift of faith can carry you through difficult times to see the ways God is still at work in and through you as you continue to lean into your call.
The fourth spiritual gift that can make a difference in a church plant is the gift of leadership. It helps a planter strategically build a team and empower that team to work together to accomplish more than the planter could ever do on his or her own.
The final gift on our list is the gift of prophecy, which empowers the planter to proclaim God’s truth honestly, regardless of how popular the message is. Sometimes planters can be tempted to try to please everyone or share a message that is easily tweetable, but boldly proclaiming that as followers of Christ we give sacrificially, forgive others, love our enemies, and take a full Sabbath rest once a week in our busy lives can be hard. With this spiritual gift, you don’t lose God’s message in the teachings you share with those you meet, and you ensure that God is the one worshiped in the faith community, not the ego of the pastor.
This is not an extensive list, so please email [email protected]pleship.org if there is a spiritual gift you feel should come off or be added to our "Top 5" list.
Rachel Gilmore is the Director of Recruiting, Assessing & Training for Church Planting with Path 1. She stays away from foliage but loves to plant other things like churches, preschools, and ideas in the minds of those looking for innovation and inspiration in the church.