211 – Determining Your Spiritual Gifts Assessment Tool
The first step to find your niche for effective service in the body of Christ is to understand your spiritual gifts. God has given every Christian at least one gift. “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7). It would be foolish to become a salesman if you prefer to work with numbers. In the same way we pursue vocational employment based on our aptitudes and abilities, we pursue spiritual service based on an understanding of how God has uniquely gifted us.
Spiritual gifts include service gifts, speaking gifts, and signifying gifts. While theologians and teachers often differ on how to precisely classify and name these gifts, the following generally captures the gist of the different gifts.*
Service gifts are the ligaments and muscle tissue that hold the body of Christ together. Service gifts are often low profile, behind-the-scene gifts. They include showing mercy, service (or helps), hospitality, giving, administration, leadership, faith, and discernment.
People who serve are eager for God to receive the credit for whatever good comes. “If anyone serves he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11, emphasis added). Here are brief definitions of the service gifts with a few examples of how each gift may be used.
2. Speaking Gifts
Speaking gifts include knowledge, wisdom, preaching, teaching, evangelism, apostleship, shepherding, and encouragement. “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God” (1 Peter 4:11, emphasis added). Here are definitions and examples of the spiritual gifts of speaking:
|____||Knowledge: Spiritual ability to search and acquire Scriptural truth. Academic pursuits, writing, teaching.|
|____||Wisdom: Special insight into applications of knowledge. Counseling, teaching, discussion group leader, accountability groups, friendship.|
|____||Preaching: Special ability to rightly proclaim and expound God’s truth. Preachers, lay preachers.|
|____||Teaching: Special ability to explain Scripture in an edifying way. Sunday school teachers, Bible studies, Home groups, children, youth programs.|
|____||Evangelism: Special ability to clearly present the gospel to non-believers. Sunday night church visitation program, share faith with contacts on job, sponsor outreach events.|
|____||Apostleship: Special ability to begin new works. Missionaries, church planters, Christian service organizations.|
|____||Shepherding: Unique ability to care for a flock of believers over the long haul. Pastors, elders, nursery program.|
|____||Encouragement: Special skill to inspire, encourage, and comfort. Being a friend, counseling, writing letters.|
People who have been given speaking gifts are able to help equip others to have a personal ministry of service. “It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:11-12).
3. Signifying Gifts
The signifying gifts are miracles, healing, speaking in tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.
|____||Tongues: Spiritual ability to speak in a language foreign to speaker.|
|____||Interpretation of Tongues: Spiritual ability to interpret the message of one speaking in tongues.|
|____||Miracles: Spiritual ability to actuate the supernatural intervention of God against the laws of nature.|
|____||Healing: Spiritual agency of God in curing illness and disease and restoring to health supernaturally.|
5 Steps to Determine Your Spiritual Gifts
Learning your own spiritual gifts will 1) help you understand how and where you fit into the body of Christ, 2) help you set priorities for service, and 3) give you direction for developing a personal ministry.
Spiritual gifts are a blessing. Therefore, the exercise of your gifts will necessarily bring enjoyment, fulfillment, and produce fruit. If your service doesn’t, you probably are not serving in the right area.
If you have never studied or don’t understand your own spiritual gifts, follow these five suggested steps:
1. Study. Study the four passages of Scripture which deal with spiritual gifts: Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31; Ephesians 4:11-13; and 1 Peter 4:9-11. You may want to study the context by examining the verses before and after these specific references.
Your gifts will usually be related to the following, so examine yourself in these areas:
Additional suggested reading: A current survey of Amazon shows books by these orthodox authors: Kay Arthur, Charles Stanley, Peter Wagner, and Henry Blackaby. Two books I used in my own study are Unwrap Your Spiritual Gifts, by Kenneth O. Gangel, Victor Books, and 19 Gifts of the Spirit, by Leslie B. Flynn, also from Victor Books.
2. Narrow. Once you have studied this material and the Scripture passages, it is time to narrow the list to those spiritual gifts, which you “think” you possess or “possibly” may possess. How do you do that?
Make a photocopy of the three lists of spiritual gifts above (1. Service Gifts; 2. Speaking Gifts; 3. Signifying Gifts). Mark each gift in the adjacent blank space based on the following legend:
Y = Yes, I think I possess this spiritual gift.
M = Maybe. I may possess this spiritual gift.
N = No. I do not possess this spiritual gift.
? = Don’t know. I don’t know if I possess this spiritual gift.
3. Rank. Now that you have sifted through the lists of gifts you should have one or more “Y” and “M” notations in the blanks. Write each of those spiritual gifts in the following spaces:
Now, rank these in order of priority based on what you know at this time. Put a “1” next to the gift with which you most identify, a “2” by your second choice, and so on. This is provisional–you are still exploring.
4. Feedback. An excellent way to help determine your spiritual gifts is to ask your Christian friends for help. Ask a few friends to rank you using the same legend you used in Step 2 above, Narrowing. Make enough copies of the spiritual gifts above (1. Service Gifts; 2. Speaking Gifts; 3. Signifying Gifts) for each friend. Compare the results thoughtfully to your own assessment. Should you add any spiritual gifts to your exploratory list?
5. Exploration. Now it is time to explore the possibilities. Take special training in your potential areas of giftedness. Get involved with different ministries. Which ones help you feel fulfilled? In which ones do you feel you are making a contribution? Which ones are drudgery? In what areas are you being affirmed by other people?
Discovering your spiritual gifts will inevitably open up a whole new realm of joy in the Lord. To know Him is to serve Him, and the happiest people in the world are those whose spiritual gifts are fully employed in that service.
*These lists are adapted from the work of Carl Smith, Kenneth O. Gangel, and Leslie B. Flynn.
Copyright 2001, 2012. Patrick Morley. All rights reserved. May be reproduced without consent or attribution for any non-commercial use.