Finding Your Spiritual Gifts
The apostle Paul used five different Greek words to describe spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:1-7). Pneumatikon (spiritual) describes the character of these gifts as spiritual (1 Cor. 12:1). Charismata (gifts) emphasizes God’s free and gracious gifts (1 Cor. 12:4). Diakonia (ministries) describes gifts as opportunities for ministry (1 Cor. 12:5). Energama (activities) suggests that gifts are an endowment of God’s power or energy (1 Cor. 12:6). Phanerosis (manifestation) describes gifts as an evidence of God working through us (1 Cor. 12:7).
Three Types of Spiritual Gifts
- Miraculous Gifts
- Enabling Gifts
- Task-Oriented Gifts
The miraculous gifts include such gifts as tongues and healing. The four enabling gifts, which each Christian appears to have to some degree, include discernment, faith, knowledge, and wisdom.
Task Oriented Gifts
These gifts enhance the task-oriented gifts (TEAM gifts). There are nine task-oriented gifts: evangelism (Eph. 4:11), prophecy (Rom. 12:6), teaching (Rom. 12:7), exhortation (Rom. 12:8), shepherding (Eph. 4:11), showing mercy (Rom. 12:8), serving (Rom. 12:7; 1 Cor. 12:28), giving (Rom. 12:8), and administration (Rom. 12:8; 1 Cor. 12:28).
Evangelism is communicating the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit to unconverted persons at their point of need with the intent of effecting conversions. These conversions take place as individuals repent of their sin and put their trust in God through Jesus Christ, to accept Him as their Saviour. Normally, people who are converted determine to serve the Lord in the fellowship of a local church. Those who are gifted in evangelism are effective in making disciples of various types of people through their personal evangelistic efforts.
Prophecy is communicating and applying biblical truth to a specific situation or circumstance. An individual with the gift of prophecy “speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort” (1 Cor. 14:3) through exercising this gift. This gift appears to involve some measure of the enabling gift of faith (Rom. 12:6). Christians gifted in this area are usually able to discern problems and apply appropriate biblical principles to help alleviate the problems.
Teaching is communicating biblical principles in the power of the Holy Spirit to others and demonstrating how those principles relate to the specific needs represented. Christians gifted in the area of teaching tend to be diligent students of the Scripture, who have accumulated a thorough understanding of biblical principles as a result of their consistent study habits.
Exhortation is urging others to act on the basis of their faith in God, advising others how to accomplish specific goals in life and ministry, cautioning others against actions that are potentially dangerous, and motivating others in the Christian life and ministry. Those gifted in exhortation usually develop simple strategies to accomplish goals and effectively encourage and motivate others to remain faithful in their service for God.
Pastoring/Shepherding is compassionately caring for others in your sphere of influence through providing spiritual guidance, nourishment, and protection from potentially destructive individuals or influences. Those who have this gift readily express their concern for others and are often looked to for spiritual counsel and guidance.
Showing mercy is discovering emotionally stressed and distressed individuals and ministering to their emotional needs. Mercy-showers express sympathy, empathy, and spiritual ministry to help alleviate the inner pain that is causing a person’s dysfunctional emotional response. Those gifted in showing mercy tend to be drawn toward hurting people and are somewhat effective in helping others rebuild their lives.
Serving is discerning and meeting the spiritual and physical needs of individuals. Those gifted in this ministry support others and are concerned with helping them in any way possible. They often enjoy manual tasks.
Giving is investing financial and other resources in ways that further the purposes of God through individuals and/or ministries. Givers are inclined to be generous in financially underwriting a wide variety of ministry projects.
Administration is the management of human, physical, and financial resources through planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Planning involves projecting the future, establishing objectives, developing policies, programs, procedures, and schedules for accomplishing these objectives, and budgeting adequate resources for the task. Organization involves developing an organizational foundation, delegating responsibilities, and establishing interpersonal relationships. Leading involves making decisions, communicating ideas, and selecting, enlisting, training, and motivating people. Controlling involves establishing performance standards, then measuring, evaluating, and correcting performance on the basis of those standards. People who are gifted in administration are effective managers.
Discovering Your Spiritual Gift
In light of the Holy Spirit’s work in giving us spiritual gifts, it is important for every Christian to discover their spiritual gift, demonstrate it in ministry, and develop it to its fullest potential.
There are several ways Christians can discover their spiritual giftedness. First, they can use a Spiritual Gifts Inventory to help them identify areas in which they are probably gifted. Second, they can look at their personal ministry passion as an indicator of probable giftedness in that area. Third, they can compare themselves to a standard profile of a person gifted in some area to note areas of similarity.
Once you have identified your spiritual gift, you should begin using it in ministry. Many churches experience a shortage of workers because church members do not use their gifts in ministry. By simply calling the church office, most Christians can quickly learn of several ministry opportunities available for utilizing their gift.
Your involvement in ministry will motivate you to develop your giftedness further. Every Christian needs to continually learn more about his or her spiritual gift and develop gift-related ministry skills to increase his or her effectiveness. You can begin today by looking for articles, books, seminars, workshops, and other learning experiences to help you develop your spiritual gift(s).
Take the Spiritual Gifts Survey