'Invest in the remnant,' Eddie Hammett says
January 3 2003 by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor

'Invest in the remnant,' Eddie Hammett says | Friday, Jan. 3, 2003

Friday, Jan. 3, 2003

'Invest in the remnant,' Eddie Hammett says

By Jimmy Allen BR Assistant Editor

Light can shine in the midst of dark chaos. Eddie Hammett saw that illumination in a relative who had suffered through a marital divorce.

At the time of the divorce, none of the local churches could help the relative who needed something but didn't know exactly what it was that he needed, Hammett said. This period of confusion lasted two years until the relative realized that little material has been written for single parents. The relative decided to birth a ministry for single dads. The first session was held this fall.

"I never knew God could do what He just did,' the relative said. "I can't believe all of the hell I went through can make so much sense now. I know now what it means to be redeemed through the mess."

The pain of divorce helped the relative discover a spiritual gift, said Hammett, who told about his relative to a group of about 200 people gathered for a breakout session at the 2002 Baptist State Convention annual meeting in Winston-Salem on Nov. 12.

One of the principles for helping people discover their spiritual gifts is to start with what Hammett called the "remnant" - those who are dissatisfied with what is and those able to see more that can be done. Church leaders may want to see all the Sunday School teachers, for example, develop their gifts, but don't wait for everyone to get excited about discovering their gifts before starting.

"Jesus preached to the multitudes, but He invested in the remnant," said Hammett, referring to the apostles. "The remnant changed the world."

A problem of the church in general has been its desire to please the majority while ignoring the remnant, he said.

"Pour your life into four, five, six people. They in turn multiply that ministry, serving as role models," he said.

When someone is going through a painful time, ask them what God may be birthing, Hammett said. These people who are remnants may be going through a "spiritual pregnancy," he said. A new baby comes through pain. The same is true for new ministries.

Other principles for discovering and discerning spiritual gifts:

� God equips. "God never calls anyone to do anything He doesn't first equip us to do," said Hammett, who noted it took him several years to understand that concept. When he did grasp its meaning, "it literally unnerved me."

� The calling is bigger. "God calls us to something bigger than we are - always," Hammett said. Hammett said he was a shy, introverted adolescent. He went to church. But it wasn't until he was in college that he began to study spiritual gifts as described in Romans 12:6-8 and Ephesians 4:11-12. "It is gift discovery and discernment (of my gifts) that helped my flower begin to bloom," he said. His mother later couldn't believe that he would talk in front of hundreds of people, something he couldn't do on his own, he said. "But scripture tells us if we plug in to Jesus, He'll provide the way."

Every believer is a minister, he said, and the call to salvation and the call to ministry is the same call. "That's a core belief system I'm not so sure we've nurtured."

Putting someone on a committee is not making disciples, he said.

Spiritual gifts can be misused, he said. Does the gift show love and does the gift unify as opposed to divide? If not, Hammett said, it is being misused.

During his years of studying churches, he has seen that they need help.

"Many, many of our churches are in serious, serious trouble and don't even know it," he said. Eighty-two percent of churches are declining, and 70 percent of U.S. residents are unchurched.

To make a difference, church leaders need to start with the remnant, he said.

Findley Edge taught at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where Hammett was one of his students. In the 1960s, Edge asked: "Can our kind of church save our kind of world?" His answer at the time was no. During one of Hammett's last discussions with Edge before the teacher died this past fall, Edge said his attitude about the church hadn't changed. "He said, 'We're in worse shape now than we were then."

Hammett spoke at Edge's funeral. Since then, he had gotten calls from people in places ranging from Asheville to Australia who wanted to tell Hammett about how that one man changed their life.

"One man can make a difference," Hammett said. "Invest in the remnant."

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1/3/2003 12:00:00 AM by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor | with 0 comments
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