A Well-Oiled Machine, #4 in 7 Characteristics of a Perfect Church

               woman on computer       (Note: I apologize for any confusion I’ve caused in the numbering of the posts. Although this is the 8th post, it’s #4 of the 7 characteristics. Therefore, from now on, I’ll omit the post numbers. My plan is for there to be only three more Food for Thought posts in the series. But, since I’m writing these weekly, who knows? Thanks for riding with me on this long and rocky road.)


A Well-Oiled Machine

Wiktionary defines a well-oiled machine as “something that operates capably through the effective coordination of many parts.”

Sounds like a healthy church, doesn’t it? A body of people that functions competently through the positioning of each person in the proper place in order to work together to achieve a common goal. We each have our own unique function but when we come together to form an all-encompassing purpose, our collective yield is greater than what we can accomplish on our own.

What is our common goal? Regardless of our denominational differences, the body of Christ has been commissioned to demonstrate and share the good news of God’s love and forgiveness to a dying world. (Matthew 28:18-20)

It seems to me an unhealthy church might possibly do more damage than good for the cause of Christ. When there are so many hurt and confused people on the inside, how are we to minister to the needy on the outside?

Each of us within the body of Christ has been equipped by God to fulfill a role that no one else can fill in the same way. When we become Christians, the Holy Spirit comes into our lives bearing gifts from the Father. For example, He brings eternal life, forgiveness of sin, the power not to sin, a new understanding of the scriptures, etc.

But the Holy Spirit also gives us specific spiritual gifts to enable us to serve one another, as well as to minister to those outside the church.

Dr. Stanley's book

In his study book, Ministering Through Spiritual Gifts, Dr. Charles Stanley calls these gifts motivational gifts, as identified by Paul in Romans 12:4-8. According to Dr. Stanley, these are gifts that motivate us toward service.

Based on the Romans passage, Dr. Stanley denotes the seven motivational gifts as the gifts of:

  1. Prophecy
  2. Service
  3. Teaching
  4. Exhortation
  5. Giving
  6. Organization
  7. Mercy

It’s important to realize there will be times when we’re asked to serve in areas other than the ones we enjoy the most. If we respond positively by faith, our motivational gift will spur us on to serve with joy wherever we’re needed. That’s called dealing with circumstances in the power of the Holy Spirit!

In my own experience, I’ve learned something else about motivational gifts. When I’m not using my gift of encouragement, I’m frustrated. For example, a couple of years ago I had the opportunity to lead a ladies Bible study. It was a wonderful group of gals and I enjoyed every minute of being with them, as well as the opportunity to grow in our faith together.

For various reasons, the group disbanded and it was very painful for me. This is why this blog continues to be so important to me. I love connecting with you and hopefully, encouraging you. The only thing better would be if we could meet face-to-face. But I’ll take this venue as long as God permits and people like you are interested.

You may already know what your motivational gift is. If you do, I pray you have the opportunity to use your gift to minister to the people God places in your life.

If you would like to identify your motivational gift, be sure to check out the Crumbs entry in my next post on Friday. I will give a short explanation of what each gift means. And I’ll ask you some questions that might help you see where you fit best.

Yes, a healthy church is like a well-oiled machine. And you are a very important cog on the wheel that turns the body of Christ. Many years ago, when we were members of Dr. Stanley’s church, we learned about the motivational spiritual gifts. The truth of his teaching has served us well over our 36 years of full-time ministry, as well as in our present everyday lives.

Dr. Stanley believes “. . . it is vitally important to our personal spiritual lives, as well as to the overall spiritual life of a church, for us to recognize these gifts, to encourage their proper use in the church, and to encourage one another as we exercise our gifts.”

This is why in my series of 7 Characteristics of a Perfect Church, I’m placing the utilizing of spiritual gifts as #4.

It is the responsibility of church leaders to train and prepare God’s people

1. to understand and apply the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our moment-by-moment everyday lives.

2. to understand how to study and apply God’s Word.

3. to understand and utilize the privilege and the power of prayer.

4. to understand how to minister to others by utilizing our motivational spiritual gifts.

And now,

. . . Since you are so eager to have special abilities the Spirit gives, seek those that will strengthen the whole church.” I Cor. 14:12

church people

(If you’d like, leave a comment to share with me what you think about the concept of motivational spiritual gifts.)

Note: For information on Dr. Stanley’s book, go to:


2 Responses to “A Well-Oiled Machine, #4 in 7 Characteristics of a Perfect Church”
  1. Millie Welsh says:

    GREAT post, Mom! LOVE that you are getting the importance of the spiritual gifts “out there” into the cyber world! I’m so grateful that I was taught this at a young age and by Dr. Stanley himself! I really think his stuff is the best available! Knowing how many believers do not know their motivational gift makes me sad because that means they’re likely not experiencing the joy of serving the Lord and the Body out of what makes them fulfilled! On that note — THANK YOU for using YOURS to continually lift us up and encourage us! LOVE YOU!

  2. Thanks, Millie! As you know, this is my passion so I appreciate your encouragement. God is working!

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