Foundations Part 5
Great news - you are gifted!
The Bible lists many different kinds of gifts given to us to serve others and the Church. Although not an exhaustive list, below are some places in the Bible we can discover more about our gifts:
Some are characterised by obvious supernatural manifestations and are beyond the natural ability of the individual. We can read about some of them in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.
"Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines."
Others differ from the gifts above since they are not exclusively supernatural, but may also involve an individual’s God-given natural talent. We can read about some in Romans 12:6-8.
"We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."
In Ephesians chapter 4 there are a set of gifts often referred to as the Ministry Gifts. They differ from the gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 in that the gifts here are not abilities but people. These represent particular gifted ministers who are given to the body to equip all believers for service, so that the church may be strengthened to fulfil its purpose, reflecting the fullness of Christ into the world.
"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."
About spiritual gifts
"Now about spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed."
Spiritual Gifts Are Not...
1. Natural Aptitudes, Strengths or Abilities
We all have natural abilities that we’ve learned from those around us regardless of Christian faith. Many times our natural abilities and strengths are redeemed by the God to become spiritual gifts.
2. Character Traits
We are all called to have character and our gifts should produce the nature of Jesus Christ in each person. A person should not say he has the “gift of peace” when we are all encouraged to develop that characteristic. Spiritual gifts offer opportunities for us to live like Christ.
3. Titles or Positions
Spiritual gifts often lead to titles or positions but a person may have the gift without the role or the role without the gift. Regardless, we should serve whenever we are given the opportunity. Working in the area of your gifting will allow you to “be” the person that God has called you to be rather than just “doing” good things.
4. Self Promoting
Spiritual gifts are endowments given by God to His people for accomplishing His purpose on the earth. Spiritual gifts are given for the glory of God.
"Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts… try to excel in gifts that build up the church. "
Discovery your spiritual gifts
The following is not a test - there is no right and wrong answer. Instead, use this exercise to help identify and better understand more about your gifting. Follow these simple steps;
A. Print the sheet below and answer the questions honestly.
B. Add each score on each row left to right.
E.G. 1(+__?____) 19(+__?____) 37(+__?____) 55(+___?___) = Total (___?____)
C. Identify your highest total with the corresponding letter and the spiritual gift it represents.
D. Using the descriptions learn more about your main gifts.
Answer Key: (1) Almost Never (2) Little (3) Sometimes (4) Frequently (5) Almost Always
I enjoy working behind the scenes, taking care of little details.
I usually step forward and assume leadership in a group where none exists.
When in a group, I tend to notice those who are alone and help them to feel part of the group.
I have the ability to recognise a need and to get the job done no matter how small the task.
I have the ability to organise ideas, people and projects to reach a specific goal.
People often say I have good spiritual judgement.
I am very confident of achieving great things for God
I enjoy giving money to those in serious financial need.
I enjoy ministering to people in hospitals, prisons, or rest homes to comfort them.
I often have insights that offer practical solutions to difficult problems.
I enjoy encouraging and giving counsel to those who are discouraged.
I have an ability to thoroughly study a passage of Scripture and then share it with others.
I presently have responsibility for the spiritual growth of one or two new believers.
Other people respect me as an authority in spiritual matters.
I have an ability to learn foreign languages.
God often reveals to me the direction He desires the church to move.
I enjoy developing relationships with non-Christians with the hope of telling them about Jesus.
Whenever I hear about needy situations, I am burdened to pray.
I would like to assist pastors or other leaders so they can focus on their priorities and responsibilities.
When I ask people to help me with an important ministry for the church, they usually say yes.
I enjoy entertaining guests and making them feel at home when they visit.
I take initiative to serve and enjoy serving others, no matter how small the task.
I am a very organised person who sets goals, makes plans and achieves goals.
I am a very good judge of character and can spot a spiritual phony.
I often step out and start projects that other people won’t attempt, and I usually succeed.
I joyfully give money well above my tithe to the church.
I feel compassion for people who are hurting and lonely, and I like to spend considerable time with them to cheer them up.
God has enabled me to choose correctly between several complex options in an important decision, when no one else know what to do.
I am very fulfilled when I encourage others, especially if it is about their spiritual growth.
I enjoy studying difficult questions about God’s Word and I usually find answers quickly.
I enjoy being involved in people’s lives and helping them grow spiritually.
I would be willing and excited to start a new church.
I can adapt easily to cultures, languages and lifestyles other than my own and would like to use my adaptability to minister in foreign countries.
I will always speak up for Christian principles with conviction, even when it isn’t popular.
I find it easy to invite a person to accept Jesus as their Saviour.
I have a passion to pray for the significant issues of God’s kingdom and His will for Christians.
I enjoy relieving others’ routine tasks so they can get important projects done.
I can guide and motivate a group of people toward achieving their goal.
I enjoy meeting new people and introducing them to others in the group.
I am very dependable for getting things done on time and I don’t need much praise or thanks.
I easily delegate significant responsibilities to other people.
I am able to distinguish between right and wrong in complex spiritual matters when other people can’t seem to figure it out.
I trust in God’s faithfulness for a bright future even when facing significant problems.
I wouldn’t mind lowering my standard of living to give more to the church and others in need.
I want to do whatever I can for the needy people around me, even if I have to give something up.
People often seek my advice when they don’t know what to do in a situation.
I feel a need to challenge others to better themselves, especially in their spiritual growth in an uplifting, rather than condemning way.
Others listen and enjoy my teaching of scriptures.
I care about the spiritual welfare of people and do my best to guide them towards a godly lifestyle.
I am accepted as a spiritual authority in other parts of the country or world.
I would like to share Jesus in a foreign country.
I feel a need to teach the Bible so that people will know about Christian living.
I like to tell others how to become a Christian and to invite others to receive Jesus into their life.
Many of my prayers for others have been answered.
I enjoy helping others get their work done and don’t need a lot of public recognition.
People respect my opinion and follow my direction
I would like to use my home to get acquainted with newcomers and visitors to the church.
I enjoy helping people in any type of need and feel a sense of satisfaction in meeting that need.
I am comfortable making important decisions, even under pressure.
People come to me for help in distinguishing between spiritual truth and error.
I often exercise my faith through prayer and God answers my prayers in powerful ways.
When I give money to someone I don’t expect anything in return and I often give anonymously.
When I hear people without jobs can’t pay their bills, I do what I can to help them.
God enables me to make appropriate application of biblical truth to practical situations.
People respond well to my encouragement to become all they can be for God.
I am systematic in my approach to presenting the Bible to a group of people.
I help Christians who have wandered away from the Lord find their way back to a growing relationship with Him and get involved in local church.
I would be excited to share the Gospel and form a new group of Christians in areas where there aren’t many churches.
I have no racial prejudice and have a sincere appreciation for people very different from myself.
I find it relatively easy to apply biblical promises to present day situations and I’m willing to confront in love if necessary.
I have a strong desire to help non-Christians find salvation through Jesus Christ.
Prayer is my favourite ministry in the church and I consistently spend a great deal of time at it.
B+C. Answer Sheet
Answer Key: (1) Almost Never (2) Little (3) Sometimes (4) Frequently (5) Almost Always
D. Gift Definitions
While not meant to be dogmatic or final, these definitions and supporting scriptures do correspond to characteristics of the gifts as expressed in this questionnaire.
The ability to work with and support other people and their teams.
Mark 15:40-41; Acts 9:36; Romans 16:1-2; 1 Corinthians 12:28
The ability to influence people at their level while directing and focusing them on the big picture.
Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 3:1-13, 5:17; Hebrews 13:17
The ability to make people feel at home, welcome and cared for.
Acts 16:14-15; Romans 12:13, 16:23; Hebrews 13:1-2; 1 Peter 4:9
The ability to identify and meet the practical needs of others.
Acts 6:1-7; Romans 12:7; Galatians 6:10; 1 Timothy 1:16-18; Titus 3:14
The ability to coordinate and organise people and projects.
Luke 14:28-30; Acts 6:1-7; 1 Corinthians 12:28
The ability to spiritually distinguish between right and wrong motives and situations.
Matthew 16:21-23; Acts 5:1-11, 16:16-18; 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 John 4:1-6
The ability to believe in God for unseen supernatural results in every area of life.
Acts 11:22-24; Romans 4:18-21; 1 Corinthians 12:9; Hebrews 11
The ability to cheerfully and generously contribute personal resource to God's work.
Mark 12:41-44; Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 8:1-7, 9:2-7
The ability to feel empathy and to care for those who are hurting in any way.
Matthew 9:35-36; Mark 9:41; Romans 12:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:14
The ability to apply the truths of Scripture in a practical way in order to make right choices and help others move forward.
Acts 6:3,10; 1 Corinthians 2:6-13, 12:8
The ability to encourage others with words of encouragement or challenge.
Acts 14:22; Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 4:13; Hebrews 10:24-25
The ability to study and learn from the Scriptures primarily to bring understanding and depth to other Christians.
Acts 18:24-28, 20:20-21; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11-14
M. PASTOR / SHEPHERD
The ability to care for the personal needs of others and help them grow spiritually.
John 10:1-18; Ephesians 4:11-14; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 1 Peter 5:1-3
The ability to pioneer new churches and ministries through planting, overseeing, and training.
Acts 15:22-35; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Galatians 2:7-10; Ephesians 4:11-14
The ability to reach others outside of your culture and nationality.
Acts 8:4, 13:2-3, 22:21; Romans 10:15
The ability to boldly speak and bring clarity to scriptural and doctrinal truth, in some cases foretelling God’s plan.
Acts 2:37-40, 7:51-53, 26:24-29; 1 Corinthians 14:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 1:5
The ability to help non-Christians take the necessary steps to giving their lives to Christ.
Acts 8:5-6, 8:26-40, 14:21, 21:8; Ephesians 4:11-14
The ability to stand in the gap in prayer for someone, something, or someplace, believing for profound results.
Hebrews 7:25; Colossians 1:9-12, 4:12-13; James 5:14-16