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

  1. Miraculous Gifts
  2. Enabling Gifts
  3. 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

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

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

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

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

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.

Mercy

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

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

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

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

Rate how often each statement is reflected in your life:

1. I am willing and able to learn executive skills such as planning, organizing, and delegating.
Rarely Often
2. I am warm towards and cooperate in my church's foreign missions emphasis.
Rarely Often
3. There are times I sense that a particular teaching is unbiblical.
Rarely Often
4. I enjoy sharing the message of the Gospel as I understand it.
Rarely Often
5. I am accepting of persons deeply troubled or in crisis.
Rarely Often
6. I have assurance that God answers prayers.
Rarely Often
7. I feel deeply moved when confronted with the urgent financial needs of others.
Rarely Often
8. I get much satisfaction from hosting persons who need ministry at my home.
Rarely Often
9. I am concerned to read, study and learn Biblical truths.
Rarely Often
10. I find it easy to motivate others to follow through on a ministry project.
Rarely Often
11. I hurt for others who are poverty-stricken, physically sick, a stranger, or imprisoned.
Rarely Often
12. I am concerned to verbalize Biblical truths which build, encourage, and comforts groups of believers.
Rarely Often
13. I am ready to commit myself to care for the spiritual welfare of a group of young Christians.
Rarely Often
14. I usually have a readiness to take on helping roles.
Rarely Often
15. I have a strong conviction that Biblical truths should be understood accurately and be applied to current living.
Rarely Often
16. I have a reverence for God and His will for my life.
Rarely Often
17. I do well in evaluating results from studies on the effectiveness of a major church program.
Rarely Often
18. I am frustrated when there is little opportunity to minister to those of different customs or language.
Rarely Often
19. I receive affirmation from mature Christians that I am able to distinguish spiritual untruth from supernatural insights.
Rarely Often
20. I wish to relate to non-Christians so I can share my faith.
Rarely Often
21. I am sensitive and sympathetic to persons who seem to be suffering or mentally ill.
Rarely Often
22. I feel joy in persisting in prayer for specific needs.
Rarely Often
23. I am willing to maintain a lower standard of living to benefit God's Word.
Rarely Often
24. I am comfortable with opening my home to others regardless of how neat or clean it is.
Rarely Often
25. Paul's concern (Col. 1:10) that I be 'increasing in the knowledge of God' is something I take seriously.
Rarely Often
26. I would enjoy guiding a group of people to achieve their desired ends.
Rarely Often
27. I desire to do acts of love and kindness for those who cannot or will not return them.
Rarely Often
28. I enjoy sharing a hymn, lesson or Bible interpretation so that all believers present may learn.
Rarely Often
29. I sense a need to select disciples and equip them to serve one another.
Rarely Often
30. I would rather be a supportive background person than a 'performer.'
Rarely Often
31. I enjoy knowing the meaning of key words in Scripture.
Rarely Often
32. I effectively solve problems using Biblical principles.
Rarely Often
33. I am able to organize ideas, people, things and time for more effective ministry.
Rarely Often
34. I am concerned to take part in starting a new local church.
Rarely Often
35. I am able to differentiate between demonic influence and mental illness.
Rarely Often
36. I am at ease in sharing how Christ is my Savior and Lord.
Rarely Often
37. I am willing to be called alongside another person seeking my encouragement, challenge, or advice.
Rarely Often
38. I depend upon God's resources and guidance to an unusual degree.
Rarely Often
39. I consider all that I own or am as resources for stewardship to God.
Rarely Often
40. I am willing to use my home furnishings and personal belongings to serve others outside my immediate family.
Rarely Often
41. I am moved to study Scriptures so as to be unashamed in accurately handling it.
Rarely Often
42. I often assume responsibility when no official leaders are designated.
Rarely Often
43. I am content to serve the suffering or undeserving.
Rarely Often
44. I prefer congregational preaching which explains and applies Biblical truths.
Rarely Often
45. I enjoy having responsibility for the growth of a group of Christians.
Rarely Often
46. I am satisfied to express my skills by helping others in charge.
Rarely Often
47. I believe that the teaching-learning process is vital to local church growth.
Rarely Often
48. Others often ask me for workable ideas or alternatives.
Rarely Often
49. I am able to lead a committee or group in making decisions together.
Rarely Often
50. I desire to serve in a cross-cultural situation.
Rarely Often
51. I see the difference between truth and error.
Rarely Often
52. I am concerned to communicate my personal relationship with Christ to others.
Rarely Often
53. I have compassion towards those who are broken hearted, addicted or oppressed.
Rarely Often
54. I am comfortable around people who pray a lot for others.
Rarely Often
55. I am concerned that the money I give be used as efficiently as possible for God.
Rarely Often
56. I take pleasure with an open heart in using our home to serve people in need of shelter or healing.
Rarely Often
57. I long to share with others the Biblical insights I discover.
Rarely Often
58. I am willing to persuade others to move towards Biblical objectives.
Rarely Often
59. I am cheerful, available and involved in hospital, prison, or similar visitation.
Rarely Often
60. I am not afraid to speak boldly about evil in worldly systems, such as government.
Rarely Often
61. I am concerned to guard my group of Christian followers from those who name themselves as enemies of Christians.
Rarely Often
62. I am content to perform menial jobs or jobs considered unimportant by other people.
Rarely Often
63. I have a strong concern to relate Biblical truths to life.
Rarely Often
64. I am concerned that interpersonal relationships be peaceable, reasonable, and without partiality of hypocrisy.
Rarely Often
65. I am able to recruit Christians to express their strengths or fits in service.
Rarely Often
66. I enjoy soul winning or witnessing in an unfamiliar setting.
Rarely Often
67. I judge well between the inadequate and the acceptable, or between evil and good.
Rarely Often
68. I enjoy being an instrument of God in 'drawing the net' so that unbelievers receive Christ as Savior.
Rarely Often
69. I verbally encourage the weak, wavering or troubled.
Rarely Often
70. I trust in the presence and power of God for the apparently impossible.
Rarely Often
71. I give cheerfully that God's work be extended and helped.
Rarely Often
72. I am happy to add someone to our family temporarily in order to provide a helping or healing ministry.
Rarely Often
73. I learn Biblical truths easily.
Rarely Often
74. I usually know where I am going and can influence other Christians in that direction.
Rarely Often
75. I work joyfully with persons ignored by the majority.
Rarely Often
76. 'Telling forth' for God by instructing and warning large numbers of His people is my style.
Rarely Often
77. It is important to me to know and be well-known by followers I serve and guide.
Rarely Often
78. I enjoy typing, filing, recording minutes, or similar church-related tasks.
Rarely Often
79. I have the ability to concisely instruct listeners in the precise meaning of words and passages in Scripture.
Rarely Often
80. I apply Biblical truths effectively in my life.
Rarely Often
81. I am effective in delegating responsibility to others.
Rarely Often
82. I adapt well in a different culture in order to evangelize, to minister the Word, or to be a support person to such ministers.
Rarely Often
83. I have insights that help me discern any errors in a Biblical interpretation given by another.
Rarely Often
84. I share joyfully what Christ has done for me.
Rarely Often
85. I verbally challenge the spiritually apathetic.
Rarely Often
86. I have a conviction that God is active in my daily affairs.
Rarely Often
87. I give things freely and with delight because I love God.
Rarely Often
88. I have a knack for helping strangers feel at home.
Rarely Often
89. I readily acquire and master facts and principles of Biblical truths.
Rarely Often
90. Normally my Christian character, lifestyle and behavior seem to motivate others to follow me.
Rarely Often
91. I would enjoy visiting in hospitals or elderly homes and being an agent of blessing to others.
Rarely Often
92. I communicate truths of God in a clear compelling fashion to large audiences.
Rarely Often
93. I sacrificially give of myself for young or straying Christians.
Rarely Often
94. Ushering, cleaning , or supporting tasks in a church-related facility suits me well.
Rarely Often
95. I explain well the New Testament to others.
Rarely Often
96. I make what appears to be correct decisions for my life.
Rarely Often
97. I am able to plan action goals for ministry with others.
Rarely Often
98. I have or could learn another language well enough to help start a church.
Rarely Often
99. I am able to identify that which is false to Christ's teachings.
Rarely Often
100. Unbelievers understand when I explain what it means that Jesus is the Christ.
Rarely Often
101. I would feel comfortable being an instrument for dislodging the complacent and redirecting the wayward in face-to-face encounters.
Rarely Often
102. I believe God will keep his promises in spite of circumstances.
Rarely Often
103. I am able to earn much money for giving to the Lord's work.
Rarely Often
104. I am comfortable with graciously providing food and lodging to those in need.
Rarely Often
105. I have the ability to discover Biblical principles for myself.
Rarely Often
106. Others follow me because I have knowledge or skills effectively used in serving my church.
Rarely Often
107. I have the ability to spare other persons from punishment or penalties they justly deserve.
Rarely Often
108. I proclaim God's truth in an inspiring and enthusiastic way.
Rarely Often
109. I am able to feed followers in Christ by guiding them through selected Bible passages.
Rarely Often
110. I am able to be a teacher's aide in a class, or to do a similar helping task.
Rarely Often
111. When I communicate Biblical truths to others, it affects changes in knowledge, attitudes, values or conduct.
Rarely Often
112. The choices I make for activities in Christian service usually work well.
Rarely Often
113. I can win wide acceptance from church members for major changes involving effective procedures.
Rarely Often
114. I am able to help in starting new churches in a different language and culture.
Rarely Often
115. I can see through phonies before their falseness is clearly evident to others.
Rarely Often
116. I would remain spiritually strong in the company of unbelievers and would use every opportunity to win some to Christ.
Rarely Often
117. I am able to counsel effectively the perplexed, guilty or addicted.
Rarely Often
118. I have received from God an unusual assurance that he would fulfill some purpose.
Rarely Often
119. I manage money well in order to give liberally to God's work.
Rarely Often
120. I show a genuine graciousness towards and appreciation of each guest at my/our home.
Rarely Often
121. I have insights into Biblical truths that bring conviction to my mind and heart.
Rarely Often
122. I am able to adjust my leadership style so it is appropriate for the maturity of those working with me.
Rarely Often
123. I am able to talk cheerfully with prisoners, or lonely shut-ins.
Rarely Often
124. I have been able to reveal God's future events in general terms through Bible teaching.
Rarely Often
125. I am able to restore persons who have wandered away from Christian community.
Rarely Often
126. I can assist key leaders who 'pray and minister the word' (Acts 5) by taking some of their other responsibilities.
Rarely Often
127. I can make difficult Biblical truths understandable to others.
Rarely Often
128. My nominations for church positions often prove to be good selections.
Rarely Often

Spiritual Gifts Scores

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Dr. Elmer Towns is a college and seminary professor, an author of popular and scholarly works (the editor of two encyclopedias), a popular seminar lecturer, and dedicated worker in Sunday school, and has developed over 20 resource packets for leadership education.His personal education includes a B.S. from Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a M.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary also in Dallas, a MRE from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.He is co-founder of Liberty University, with Jerry Falwell, in 1971, and was the only full-time teacher in the first year of Liberty’s existence. Today, the University has over 11,400 students on campus with 39,000 in the Distance Learning Program (now Liberty University Online), and he is the Dean of the School of Religion.Dr. Towns has given theological lectures and taught intensive seminars at over 50 theological seminaries in America and abroad. He holds visiting professorship rank in five seminaries. He has written over 2,000 reference and/or popular articles and received six honorary doctoral degrees. Four doctoral dissertations have analyzed his contribution to religious education and evangelism.

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