Finding Your Spiritual Gifts
God has given each Christian two vitally important gifts. The first is the gift of faith in Jesus Christ, his work of redemption, and thus forgiveness of sin. The second is the gift of one or more special abilities, which are to be used for the purpose of unifying the body of Christ and for the growth of God's Kingdom. These abilities are called spiritual gifts and they are received through our baptism. Like other presents, it is impossible to fully appreciate and make use of our spiritual gifts until they have been opened. This tool will help you begin to open your spiritual gifts by guiding you through the following three activities:
Highlighting scripture references that both support the existence of spiritual gifts and identify those which are commonly found in service today.
A list of 60 questions which will help you identify which gifts you have received in greatest measure.
Exploration of Use
Suggestions for the various types of ministry you might be most effective in because of your spiritual gifts. These three activities will begin to help you discover and employ your spiritual gifts. May the special abilities God has given you be deployed in areas of ministry where they will be most effective for the good of the entire church body. These gifts should also be affirmed by the body and utilized by the one who is gifted.
The Apostle Paul addresses the presence of spiritual gifts in three main sections of scripture: Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4.
Peter also verifies their existence in I Peter 4:10. Through these sections of scripture, we learn that all Christians have been given at least one spiritual gift. The purpose of spiritual gifts is twofold: (1) to unify Christians in their faith and (2) to produce growth within the church, both numerical and spiritual. These gifts are to be used out of love for one another, and in service to one another.
We do not choose which gifts we will receive.
God bestows them upon us through the work of the Holy Spirit. Not all of the gifts identified in scripture are used in this inventory. The spectacular gifts (speaking in tongues, healing and miracles, prophecy, bold proclamation of God) and some of the non-spectacular gifts (martyrdom, celibacy) have not been included. Although these gifts exist, they are not commonly utilized in the mainstream of parish life. Since the objectives of spiritual gift deployment are to unify and produce growth through service, in today's church climate, only the service related gifts have been included.
Administration: the gift that enables a believer to formulate, direct, and carry out plans necessary to fulfill a purpose. Biblical References: I Corinthians 12:28, Acts 14:23.
Artistry: the gift that gives the believer the skill of creating artistic expressions that produce a spiritual response of strength and inspiration. Biblical References: Exodus 31:1-11, Psalm 149:3a.
Discernment: the gift that motivates a believer to seek God's will and purpose and apply that understanding to individual and congregational situations (a good judge of character and motivations of others).Biblical References: John 16:6-15, Romans 9:1, I Corinthians 2:9-16.
Evangelism: the gift that moves believers to reach nonbelievers in such a way that they are baptized and become active members of the Christian community. Biblical References: Matthew 28:16-20, Ephesians 4:11- 16, Acts 2:36-40.
Exhortation: the gift that moves the believer to reach out with Christian love and presence to people in personal conflict or facing a spiritual void. Biblical References: John 14:1, II Timothy 1:16-18, III John 5-8.
Faith: the gift that gives a believer the eyes to see the Spirit at work and the ability to trust the Spirit's leading without indication of where it all might lead. Biblical References: Genesis 12:1-4a, Mark 5:25-34, I Thessalonians 1:8-10.
Giving: the gift that enables a believer to recognize God's blessings and to respond to those blessings by generously and sacrificially giving of one's material wealth freely and with joy to further the work of God. Biblical References: II Corinthians 9:6-15, Luke 21:1-4.
Hospitality: the gift that causes a believer to joyfully welcome and receive guests and those in need of food and lodging. Biblical References: Romans 12:13, Romans 16:23a, Luke 10:38.
Intercession: the gift that enables a believer to pray with the certainty that prayer is heard and when requests are made, answers will come.Biblical References: Matthew 6:6-15, Luke 11:1-10, Ephesians 6:18.
Knowledge: the gift that drives a person to learn, analyze and uncover new insights with regard to the Bible and faith. Biblical References: I Corinthians 12:8; I Corinthians 14:6, Romans 12:2.
Leadership: the gift that gives a believer the confidence to step forward, give direction and provide motivation to fulfill a dream or complete a task. Biblical References: Romans 12:8, John 21:15-17, II Timothy 4:1-5.
Mercy: the gift that motivates a believer to feel deeply for those in physical, spiritual, or emotional need and then act to meet that need. Biblical References: Luke 7:12-15, Luke 10:30-37, Matthew 25:34-36.
Music--Vocal: the gift that gives a believer the capability and opportunity to present personal witness and inspiration to others through singing. Biblical References: Psalm 96:1- 9, Psalm 100:1-2, Psalm 149:1-2.
Music--Instrumental: the gift that inspires a believer to express personal faith and provide inspiration and comfort through the playing of a musical instrument. Biblical References: Psalm 33:1-5, Psalm 150, I Samuel 16:14-23.
Pastoring(Shepherding): the gift that gives a believer the confidence, capability and compassion to provide spiritual leadership and direction for individuals or groups of believers. Biblical References: I Timothy 4:12-16, I Timothy 3:1-13, II Timothy 4:1-2.
Service (Helps): the gift that enables a believer to work gladly behind the scenes in order that God's work is fulfilled. Biblical References: Luke 23:50-54, Romans 16:1-16, Philippians 2:19-23.
Skilled Craft: the gift that enables a believer to create, build, maintain or repair items used within the church.Biblical References: Exodus 30:1-6, Exodus 31:3-5, Ezekiel 27:4-11.
Teaching: the gift that enables a believer to communicate a personal understanding of the Bible and faith in such a way that it becomes clear and understood by others. Biblical References: I Corinthians 12:28, Matthew 5:1-12, Acts 18:24-48.
Wisdom: the gift that allows the believer to sort through opinions, facts and thoughts in order to determine what solution would be best for the individual believer or the community of believers. Biblical References: I Corinthians 2:6-13, James 3:13-18, II Chronicles 1:7- 11.
Writing: the gift that gives a believer the ability to express truth in a written form; a form that can edify, instruct and strengthen the community of believers. Biblical References: I John 2:1-6, 12-14, I Timothy 3:14-15, Jude 3.
Complete the online Spiritual Gifts Assessment Tool via the link below. Results cannot be saved; you will need to print them out (if you are unable to print your results, write down your top 3 Spiritual Gifts).
Putting Your Gifts to Use
All Christians are to work together, supporting one another. However, our gifts make us better prepared and equipped to perform in some areas of ministry over others. A person who is working within a ministry area they are gifted for, will be more effective in that ministry than one they not gifted for. What types of ministry will you be most effective in? A brief list of ministry examples follows. These examples have been provided merely as thought starters and should not be considered an exhaustive list. Use them as a starting point in exploring the possibilities for putting your gifts to use within UDLC and in your community.
Administration: Church Council, Finance Committee, Vacation Bible School Coordinator
Artistry: Drama Team, Photography, Decorating (i.e., Christmas season décor, Liturgical design of worship space, banner colors, furniture, etc.)
Discernment: Church Council, Social Ministry Committee, Member Care Team
Evangelism: Evangelism Committee, New Member Sponsor, Greeter, Assist with Community Events, Share faith and invite others to events
Exhortation: Member Care Team, Small Group Leader
Faith: Stewardship Committee, Catechetics Leader
Giving: (financial gifting, generosity) Stewardship Committee, Sunday Speaker on Giving
Hospitality: Greeter, Usher, New Member Sponsor, Refreshment Host, Plan Fellowship Events
Intercession: Prayer Chain, Prayer Partner, Assisting Minister, Healing Services
Knowledge: Teaching, Research Biblical texts, Summarize Data, Help organize Committee functions, Education Teams for all ages
Leadership: Committee Chairperson (all types), Fellowship Event Coordinator, Vacation Bible School Coordinator, Church Council, Coordinator/Speaker-Special Events, Assisting Minister
Mercy: Home/Hospital/Institution Visitation, Transportation to Worship/Bible Study, Social Ministry Committee, Member Care Team, Global Mission
Music-Instrumental: Band Member, Special Event Music, Substitute Organist, Vacation Bible School-Music Program
Music-Vocal: Church Choir, Vocal Ensemble, Vacation Bible School Song Leader
Pastoring (Shepherding): New Member Sponsor, Catechetics Group Leader, Adult In-Home Bible Study Leader
Service (Helps): for those who prefer to “work behind the scenes Altar Guild, Data Entry, Bulletin Collation, 9 a.m. PowerPoint Team, Building/Grounds Upkeep, Kitchen Cleaning Team, Providing Transportation
Skilled Crafts: Building Upkeep - Electrical/Painting/Plumbing/Carpentry, Mechanical Repair/Maintenance, Landscape/Garden Care, Tech Team, Web-Page Developer, Video Recording/Production
Teaching: Sunday School Teacher, Vacation Bible School Teacher, Catechetics Group Leader
Wisdom: Church Council, Long Range Planning, Guidance in Conflicted Decisions
Writing: Marketing/Publicity, Creative writing for spiritual insights in online blog, UDLC Facebook Page
For Further Thought
Your Spiritual Gifts do not appear and disappear as you pass through the doors of your church! The special gifts God has given you are with you always. They are meant to also be used in your daily life to bring glory to God and serve the needs of others.
Adapted from material on ELCA.org