Gifted, Talented . . . and Christian: The GT Adult And the Evangelical Church

Updated!

If a ‘GT’ person is active in an evangelical church, there are two wrong reactions that can happen:

  • Within the church character defects may be wrongly attributed to the independence and curiosity of the gifted. An ‘I told you so’ answer to genuine questions is often unsatisfying to the gifted.

  • If the gifted are automatically seen as ‘arrogant’, or others are threatened by them, even otherwise outstanding believers and leaders may take a ‘teach them humility through humiliation’ strategy with them. Unfortunately, this unscriptural and abusive approach ultimately alienates the gifted — who may in fact have a sense of incredible humility, submission and servanthood before God and his/her brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s an obvious point, but the one thing that the ‘walking wounded’ don’t need is more wounding from others.

Here are some basic guidelines for the pursuit of a godly life in the evangelical church:

  • Develop a Biblically based faith of scripturally supported convictions. Do not be afraid of nor let anyone discourage you from reverent questioning and exploration of the truth of God’s Word. Remember that Jesus Christ himself was always open to an honest question.

  • Develop intellectually strong corroborations for your Biblically based beliefs.

  • Develop as a well rounded disciple of Jesus Christ in Christlike character.

  • Use your gifts, both spiritual and natural, as a servant to others after the example of Christ.

  • Develop in fellowship with a Bible believing church and pastor. Understand that one or two churches or several professed evangelical believers do not reflect the true character and nature of Christ or represent the views and practices of all evangelical churches and believers.


Ministry Opportunities to the Gifted

The gifted can be a challenge for ministry and perceived to be a problem if others insist that we are no different than anyone else. But, if our actual differences are understood and taken into account, the same gospel and Lord Jesus will meet our needs in the same ways.

  • Many of the gifted are in fact tremendously open spiritually — but unfortunately may find New Age or cultish teaching, or even aggressive atheism more appealing. The church simply has to share the same gospel, but be open to intellectual questions and possibly even initial rejection from people who may have never received very much love or concern from others in their lives, and may not recognize or understand it when they first see it. The answer to the gifted needs to be the same Christ who loves and accepts them as they are. He is the answer who not only provides intellectual satisfaction but a heart satisfaction that they have in fact been unknowingly longing for their entire lives. The key is not to be threatened by raw brainpower or immense talent but to see through to the needs of the heart.

  • People in the church are human enough to be threatened by others who are different, and tragically enough often give the gifted person the same kind of abusive treatment as the world apart from Christ. I myself can attest to this with sadness, though I’d rather not go beyond this. The usual scriptural injunctions against envy, verbal abuse, lies, gossip and judgmentalism are sufficient to show that there is no justification for this behavior before God. In addition, the scriptural commands to be content with what you have (this applies to God’s gifts financially, materially, intellectually, emotionally, socially and physically as well as spiritually) apply here also.

  • The gifted may need special prayer support to find and stay on their mission for the Lord — and this may take in fact many twists, turns, stumbles, and sidetracks. I think that is actually the way things happen for most of us; the single minded mission for many years on the same task makes for great Christian biographies, but is probably far from the truth for most of us. Again, one of the dangers with this can also be false prophecy from other believers, if they attach a ‘thus says the Lord’ to their own thoughts and expectations — Jeremiah 23:26, 30.


All scripture references taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, copyright 1973, 1978 by the International Bible Society and used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

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