I have come to the conclusion that the gifts are best used when we think pastorally rather that prophetically. Pastoral use of the gifts requires one to invest in the person he is helping. It requires one to consider the long-term effects of the ministry. It requires one to pray after the fact. It places all the attention on the care of the individual as opposed to the display of one’s power.
When we think prophetically, we tend to think of ourselves as builders of power. When we think pastorally, we tend to think of ourselves as ministers of care.
It seems that the gifts are far more effective when we take time to speak to the individual, to understand the individual. This does not rule out encounters with divine power but it positions most gift ministry within a context of caring, long-term concern.
I am aware of those instances in the scripture which amplify quick dynamic exchanges. But I am also aware of a shepherd’s heart when ministering the power of God.
When we think pastorally and prepare for the sick, the emphasis moves from achieving an instant dynamic result to perfecting a long-term cure. Thinking pastorally does not mitigate absolute demonstrations of power. It just moves one’s attention off the demonstration and onto the person.