I am listening to a tape series and all the speakers are talking about purpose. On the one tape, the introduction to the speaker caught my attention. The intro stated that the church and ministry had been founded "by the ministry gift of" and then the announcer mentioned the man's name. I thought that was interesting, but all too typical of church life and the perspective of most church leaders.
That church believes that it was founded on the gift of one man. Does that mean that his gift was more important than the music leader's or the administrator' gift? Someone might answer, "Well, if the founding pastor's gift was removed, then there would be no church." That may be true, but doesn't it still require more than one gift to build a church? And can anyone say with certainty that any other gift is replaceable or expendable, but the head man's gift isn't?
If we are looking for an irreplaceable gift, isn't it really of the gift that Jesus gave to start the church? Most would respond, "That's a given. We don't have to say that." Why not? I listened to that introduction and Jesus wasn't mentioned but the founding man was. Is it really so much of a given that it doesn't need to be said that Jesus is the head of that church (and every church for that matter)?
In Paul's letter to the Philippians, he mentioned Jesus' name 10 times in the first 18 verses. Paul certainly didn't take it for granted that Jesus was the head of the Church. He took great pains to direct all that he was writing and the attention of the reader to Jesus.
Warren Bennis, a non-Christian leadership author from the University of Southern California, wrote a book entitled, Co-Leaders: The Power of Great Partnerships. In it, he identified and described the strategic number two person behind great and famous leaders. His point was that any successful enterprise is never the result of only one person. Rather it has taken and still requires many people and their "gifts" to make anything function and grow. That is a lesson that the Church needs to keep in mind. And if there is any one person whose gift is indispensable, it is the gift of Jesus.