Pity the vicar, who only joined the church to share the gospel yet who now runs an enterprise as complicated as a small/medium-sized business.

First there’s the spiritual stuff. Sermons to be written and delivered. Sick to be visited and empathised with. Unbelievers to be evangelised. Volunteers and curates to be managed and encouraged. Funerals to conduct.

Then there’s all the practical stuff. Newsletters to write and print. IT to manage. Buildings and graveyards to maintain. Alpha courses to organise. Diocese admin to complete.

It’s not a job for any ordinary man or woman. It’s a job for Superpastor.

And there lies the problem. No ordinary person is capable of carrying out so many different tasks. It’s not about lack of time. It’s that all of us excel in only a few areas. Many tasks stress us out because our brains don’t channel our God-given strengths and talents in that direction. If we’re forced to do these tasks we often do them poorly and they take a long time, leaving us exhausted. We can only be the master of a few things.

St Paul knew all about this. In 1 Corinthians 12 he talked about how we are all different parts of the body of Christ. Eye, hand, foot etc. Every one of those knows its job and knows how to do it well. The various parts of the body also know what tasks the others are good at and how to work with them.

But within a local church context, what if important tasks are allocated to staff and volunteers who don’t have the correct God-given abilities for the job? They won’t make a fuss, because they want to be helpful. But if they’re not doing jobs right and they’re handing off to others who are not doing their job right, you end up with the church of St Hopeless. St Paul might say it’s like having a body with heart, brain, nose and kneecaps, but all in the wrong place.

It’s all so unnecessary.

If everyone knew their own and everyone else’s talents well, they would have more confidence and less guilt. More confidence because they would realise that others can’t do what they can do. Less guilt because they’ll know there’s a good reason why they find it hard to do lots of stuff.

And if everyone knew the talents of others, they would forgive them more easily for what they can’t do and encourage them towards what they can do best of all. That’s when you have the church of St Capable.

Now they can all get on with sharing the gospel.

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