One of the greatest wonders concerning the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not in how many gifts are available, but how they are used within the body of Christ. As we learned previously, all gifts are for building up the church. The gift of prophecy being one of the best (according to Paul) in edifying the church. But another gift that is just as important is the gift of ministry or serving.
The word “ministry” comes from the Greek word diakonia and literally means “servant”. You often hear people within church circles say endearingly, “He (or she) has such a servant’s heart” and in truth people with this gift really do! They love to serve others. They take great joy in it. In fact, the first people to be recognized with this gift were those appointed in Acts 6:1-7.
Now this word “ministry” should not be confused with what a pastor does. The gift of “pastor” is different than the gift of “ministry”. While a pastor does “serve” his congregation, his main gifts would be prophecy, teaching and exhortation (although I’m sure they have more). But as the Apostles pointed out in Acts 6:2, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables,” so like the apostles, a pastor would be more concerned in shepherding his flock. He “serves” the congregation better, by exhorting from the Word of God and not having to worry about the administration aspects of running a church.
However, one would usually find that the two go hand in hand. For if the word “ministry” literally means servant, than a pastor could not do his job if he did not also have the gift of ministry. So, to keep things simple and less confusing, for the rest of this post I will refer to the gift of ministry as the gift of servanthood or serving.
In Acts 6:1-7 we see the qualifications for someone with the gift of servanthood as given by the apostles:
• They must have a good reputation.
• They must be full of the Holy Spirit.
• They must be wise.
It is from this passage in Acts 6 that most people believe we get the office of deacon or deaconess. Mainly because this particular office employs the gift of serving. But we must not mistake an “office” or “position” in the church as a gift, as they are two completely different things. Gifts are given directly through and by the Holy Spirit. Whereas an office or position in the church, such as a deacon or elder, is a man-made position which is blessed with the laying on of hands by those with the authority to do so (usually a pastor). While the office of deacon employs the gift of serving, it is not actually a gift of the Holy Spirit. To see a complete list of character traits necessary to become a deacon read 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
Opportunities to Serve