Secrets your pastor won’t tell you

I preached at Kamuning FMC on February 3 (viewable at Here’s a summary.

The Reader’s Digest has been publishing a series of articles that could be called, 50 secrets they won’t tell you. For each installment, various representatives from a specific profession tell things that normally would be too sensitive or too “politically incorrect” to tell. Responses range from the funny (e.g., a veterinarian who said, “We know when you’re twisting the facts. If your dog has a five-pound tumor hanging from his skin, please don’t tell me it wasn’t there yesterday”) to the profound (e.g., the nurse who said, “The No. 1 thing you should never say to me: ‘You’re too smart to be a nurse.’ I went to nursing school because I wanted to be a nurse, not because I wanted to be a doctor and didn’t make it”).[1]

Pastors also have things that they wish they could say to their congregations but leave unspoken for fear of offending their flock. Many of these revolve around lack of participation by church members in the work of the church. For instance, an average pastor might wish he or she could say, Sometimes I feel like I pour out every ounce of energy and emotion when I serve people, only to find I’m doing it all alone. I ask people to help, but they don’t show up or they leave early. I can’t do everything by myself.

The Apostle Paul shares a very different vision for the church in 1 Corinthians 12:1-14. The Corinthian church had been fragmenting over a series of issues, including who was the most spiritual among them, as judged by who had the best spiritual gifts. Paul combats this flawed perspective by showing that every believer has the Holy Spirit (v. 3), that even God doesn’t do everything “by himself” (v. 4-6), and that every believer has spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit (v. 7). Paul goes on to enumerate just some of these spiritual gifts (vv. 8-10). These gifts are “for the common good” (v. 7), not for personal boasting or gain.

Looking at the function of these gifts in the Corinthian church, what might the gifts look like today? Here are some possibilities: Word of wisdom—working with people (counselor, teacher); Word of knowledge—working with things (Logistics, specialized profession); Faith—vision casting, motivational speaker; Healing—medical personnel, comedians, visitation of sick and hurting people;  Miraculous powers—prayer warriors; Prophecy—confrontation, lawyers; Distinguishing spirits—intuition; Speaking in tongues—PR, media production, communications; Interpreting tongues—Public speaking, writing, small group leader.

Based on spiritual gifts, here are a few more “secrets” your pastor might wish to say to you.

  • You are childish and selfish if you don’t use your gift to help the church
  • You are just as spiritual as your pastor
  • BUT, your spiritual growth is stunted when you don’t use your spiritual gift(s)
  • Every gift you have is a spiritual gift—use it for “the common good,” not for self-benefit
  • Your pastor can’t do everything. But pastors are often willing to work outside their gifting when you don’t do your part
  • Your pastor may be a burn-out risk because you don’t use your gift

Bottom line? You are gifted! Use your gifts!

[1] Michelle Crouch, ed. “50 Secrets Your Vet Won’t Tell You,” Reader’s Digest.  May 2012: 106.

Michelle Crouch, ed. “50 Secrets Nurses Won’t Tell You,” Reader’s Digest.  November 2011: 135.



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