I don’t know about you, but the number of quizzes my Facebook friends take is often staggering. Which Disney character are you most like? How much to you know about your hometown? What flower would you be? How long will you survive when zombies take over the earth? Where do they find the time, much less the inclination?
Not that I haven’t taken my share of quizzes—I’ve just leaned toward the sort that can help in the real world (assuming we’re never invaded by zombies). From temperament tests to spiritual gifts, from personality tests to determining my love language, these are actually helpful in determining our places in the body of Christ. We’re not all mouths, obviously, although sometimes it seems that way.
Let’s look at the New Testament scriptures that celebrate our diversity within the Body of Christ:
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully” (Romans 12:6-8, NIV).
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines” (1st Corinthians 12:7-11, NIV).
“It was (Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service” (Ephesians 4:11-12, NIV).
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides” (!st Peter 4:10-11, NIV).
These verses make it clear that Christians have different gifts, different flavors, if you will. Churches are like that as well—not just denominationally. Some churches, for instance, are called to focus on evangelism and discipleship while others have an anointing for worship and teaching. One church may be extremely active in mission work, while another is led to social activism. Every church will have elements of The Church—incorporating worship, teaching, evangelism, outreach, etc.—but sometimes one “gifting” sets a church apart. People in the community will sometimes pick up on this when members of the church don’t even notice. “That’s the church that helps the poor,” you might hear. “If you want strong Bible teaching, that’s the place to go,” “My cousin was healed at that church’s Sunday night service,” etc.
It is helpful to know when choosing a church home, or when (ideally) God leads you to a church and you are getting acclimated. If the church back back home spent two hours in spontaneous praise and worship and the one you’re visiting manages to squeeze in three hymns and the Doxology, you’re going to need to adjust if you decide to put down roots—chances are, they’re not going to adjust for you! If you’re strictly into exegesis and homiletics with a good mix of Greek and Hebrew thrown in, a church that doesn’t require seminary-trained preachers (1) may not be the best fit or (2) be exactly what you need.
One of the main complaints about churches is that “it just doesn’t meet my needs.” Years ago, I heard a speaker say that church isn’t supposed to be like a grocery store. The shelves aren’t stocked with everything you need. The church is where we are trained and equipped to give ourselves away. When we look to others to meet our needs, rather than to God himself, we will always be disappointed.
Permission to copy with acknowledgement of source.