You only have a spend a little time in the Church to realise that there are so many labels and stereotypes out there. If you have been a ministry leader then perhaps you have given other ministries labels or maybe you have been stereotyped yourself. In the past few weeks I have been bombarded by all the different labels in our Church as people try to describe a particular church or ministry to me. Here are a few labels people use:
- Conservative or Liberal
- Liturgical or Evangelical
- Pentecostal or Evangelical
- Charismatic or Doctrinal
- Social Justice or Missional
- Seeker Sensitive or Bible Believing
Perhaps you know of a church or ministry that could easily fit into one of these labels. Whilst we all think that our own ministry is more rounded than just one label we tend to badge others ministries with a narrow label. What if we were to change our thinking about how we define our ministry and the other ministries in our community? What if we were to recognise the Mark of Faith in a leader, a ministry or a church instead of how they are different to us?
One way to do this is to define your charism not use the traditional labels that define your style of Church. A charism is a special “flavour” given to a church, ministry or group of Christians by the Holy Spirit to build up the Body of Christ. So we start to recognise that the Holy Spirit has given us a particular way of doing ministry to reach a particular group of people in our particular community. We can then learn from other ministries without having to change them because they are trying to reach their particular community with their particular style.
Here are a few examples:
- You may not be a Hillsong Church but you may use Hillsong Music. The Hillsong church in Sydney has been graced by the Holy Spirit with a particular Charism, their style of worship, to build up the Church. A church that started in a community hall in North west Sydney has now produced worship music sung by millions of people.
- You may not be a Taize community but you may use Taize chants. The Taize community in France has been graced by the Holy Spirit with a particular Charism, their meditative chants, to build up the Church. A community that started in a small village has a style of prayer used by millions around the world.
- You may not be in a Jesuit church, school or community but you may use the Jesuit method of discernment. The Jesuit’s, originally from Spain, have been graced by the Holy Spirit with a particular Charism, their method of discernment, to build up the Church. A community that begin with a few men in Northern Spain has now educated millions of students in colleges and school on every continent.
I could go on but you get the picture. We can’t try to be a church that does everything; we can’t mix Hillsong music with Taize chants because they suit different people and different styles. However we can recognise the different parts of the Body of Christ rather than labeling ministries.
In your own leadership, ministry or church what is your Charism? It is helpful to define your Charism by two things:
- What does the Holy Spirit want your ministry to contribute to the Church?
- Define what you stand for not what you are against.
It might be a little idealistic of me to think that we could drop the labels in the Church and see each others place in the Body of Christ. But what we can do is remember that the Holy Spirit does not give labels to a ministry, the Holy Spirit blesses a ministry/churches with a charism for the building up of the entire Church.
How would you define your Charism? Please leave a comment.