“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” (1 Corinthians 12:4–6, KJV)
After leaving military service in 1978, I went to work for a Fortune 500 company in the paper and paper converting industry. After a year I was promoted to work in one of their plants as an assistant department manager. In the plant we had a succession of managers, a General Manager, a Plant Manager, Department Managers, and Assistant Managers. In the military, this was the chain of command. Within the plant there were various departments. The Purchasing Department, Planning Department, Accounting Department, Safety Department, Customer Service Department, Sales Department, Quality Control Department, Shipping Department, and Manufacturing where I worked. Each of these departments were under the General Manager and had their own “chain of commands” also. Each of these departments had different assignments and within them different people were assigned to different tasks. The entire organization was set up to efficiently sell, manufacture, and ship printed boxes to customers. While each of the departments were different, and had different responsibilities, every one was equally important to the function of the whole.
In a similar way the Lord’s church is established with people. However, the church is infinitely better because it is not humanly designed, but heavenly designed and empowered. The Triune God, each person of the Trinity, is engaged in the organization and function of the church in her mission. In this discussion of believers and their role in church’s mission, Paul presented the unique way three persons of the Trinity organize and function to make the church successful. Paul began with the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He indicated that there were a variety of spiritual gifts, but one Spirit. Subsequent verses reveal that the Holy Spirit apportions to each believer a unique supernatural ability to use in the body of Christ, the church. These are to be used together to accomplish the mission.
Paul then stated that the Lord assigned people to the specific ministry opportunities in the church and for the church to fulfill the Great Commission. We see this in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11–12, KJV)
This is key, via the Spirit, the Lord assigns people to their ministry positions in the church.
Last, Paul indicated that it is God by His Spirit empowers the church, all believers, to accomplish the mission. This means that it is not human effort or ingenuity that will make the church successful. It is the church, the assembly of believers, yielding and submitting to the authority of the Triune God that will accomplish the mission.
Too often, the modern-day church forgets the supremacy of the Triune God in her ministry. This leads to a church trusting in human ingenuity and power. This is the downfall of many churches. We need to repent from our attitudes of self-sufficiency and surrender to the work of God afresh. When we do, we will use our spiritual gifting in an orderly and powerful way and experience success in the mission assigned.