Craig was from Middlesborough. He was new to the team, having just come to join us after his Youth With A Mission Discipleship Training School. As a “YWAMer” he had experience of the charismatic gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. It was a new experience for us as a church planting team in Whiteinch, Glasgow. We had all been born and brought up through the Church of Scotland – BB, Sunday School, Youth Fellowship – with the more adventurous doing Summer Mission! Someone with a prophetic gift was a very different breed as far as we were concerned.
Back at the start of the Whiteinch church planting adventure we were full of faith, ideas, and passion. We were willing to have a go at all sorts. One of the first challenges offered by the community was the request from the Community Council to “do something with the kids on the street”. We met as a team to discuss what detached youthwork could look like. We chatted for an hour and came up with a plan that sounded good.
That was when Craig decided to pipe up. “I had a dream about this last night”. He then proceeded to explain that in the dream he was given a way of launching the youthwork – even to the extent of identifying a venue to set up as a drop-in space.
“Why did you not tell us this an hour ago when we started to talk about this?”, I asked, with as little exasperation as I could manage. “You didn’t ask me”, came the response. We went with Craig’s inspired strategy and saw the youthwork take off.
Over the last few months in Ascend there have been articles about the APEST 5-fold gifting of Ephesians 4. Most of us recognise that to break us out of the patterns of church life we have been in, we need every member of the church mobilised into ministry, and for that to happen we will need to make space for the less common giftings of apostolic, prophetic, and evangelistic.
So how do we find such people and how do we make it possible for them to find a place to flourish within our churches?
For us, the answer was a mixture of things – we had to be open to the new (Craig and his prophetic gifting that seemed strange and otherworldly to most of us); we had to learn to do things differently (always check with Craig if he has received revelation at the beginning of the meeting!); we had to get trained so that these gifts became normal (we discovered there are lots of books, courses and events that can help with this).
The other thing that we realised is that we had a very limited church experience. Turns out there are lots of other traditions and approaches within the wider church that can teach us how to step into these new areas of gifting and ministry. We went to lots of conferences and read loads of books. We also invited people from other traditions to come and train us.
Being open, teachable, and hungry to learn became our way of doing things. And gradually we began to grow in our own giftings, and we saw them develop in new people who had come to faith in the church. Gradually a gift-focused learning culture began to take hold.
But to get there, there were quite a few very frustrating and confusing meetings like the youthwork planning meeting. Grace was required in great measure for all involved.
Cairn Movement will be running a Church Leadership Team Day with the 5QCentral.com team on Thursday 8th February from 10am-4pm in Edinburgh. It will be for ministers and elders who want to begin the process of putting some of the APEST teaching into practice locally.
For more information and tickets https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cairn-gathering-5q-apest-tickets-759584035297?aff=oddtdtcreator