We have been studying Romans 12 as part of our “Jesus-Centered Family on Mission” series. Last week, we looked at verses 4-8 which paint a picture of the church functioning like a body, all with distinct parts that work together. Part of these beautiful and unique differences are our spiritual gifts that we are given when we become believers and are welcomed into God’s family.
There are four main passages in the Bible that we look to for a list of spiritual gifts: Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4. Spiritual gifts are always meant to be used in the context of serving and building up the body of Christ. They are to always be done in love, or they are useless. These gifts are anointed by God; we cannot choose our gift. Though not a comprehensive list, we have tried to break down the prominent spiritual gifts under each of the categories we discussed: gifts that serve with words, gifts that serve with hands, and gifts that serve with stuff. We hope these descriptions and the personal assessment questions that follow allow you to not only more clearly discern what your own spiritual gift may be, but also the gifting of those in your LifeGroup as you encourage each other to press into your gifts and grow in serving our church family.
Spiritual gifts that serve with WORDS:
Teaching (1 Corinthians 12:27-28): The God-given ability to understand and communicate biblical truth in a clear and relevant manner so that there is understanding and application.
Learning, researching, communicating, and illustrating truth are qualities that an individual will manifest when exercising the gift of teaching. These people enjoy studying and learning new information, and find joy in sharing it with others.
- Do you enjoy studying and researching?
- Do others come to you for insight into scripture? When you teach, do people “get it”?
- When you see someone confused in their understanding of the Bible, do you feel a responsibility to speak to them about it?
Exhortation and Encouragement (Romans 12:6-8): Involves motivating, encouraging, and consoling others so they mature in their walk with Jesus.
Christians with this gift have an unusual sensitivity for and are attracted to those who are discouraged or struggling. As a result, people tend to pursue them for healing words, gracious truth, and compassionate counsel. These people also tend to have a high degree of patience and optimism.
- Do people seek you out for advice and encouragement?
- Would you rather speak personally with someone about their problems rather than send them to someone else for help?
- Do you enjoy walking with people through difficulties? Do you find it easy to express joy in the presence of those who are suffering?
Evangelism (Ephesians 4:11): The ability and desire to boldly and clearly communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ so that non-Christians can become Christians.
Evangelists often care passionately about lost people and have a strong desire to see them meet Jesus. They feel compassion for the lost and seek to earnestly understand their questions and doubts so they can provide a compelling answer.
- Do you enjoy being with non-Christians and sharing the gospel?
- Are you able to effectively communicate to non-Christians in a language they can understand?
- Do you find it easy to direct a conversation toward the topic of Jesus Christ?
Discernment (1 Corinthians 12:8-10): The ability to quickly perceive whether such things as people, events, or beliefs are from God or Satan.
- Do you have a solid understanding of scripture and a sensitivity to the leading of God to the Holy Spirit?
- Can you read a book or hear a teacher and almost immediately uncover any false teaching?
- Do you often make a swift evaluation of someone or something that was said, that others did not see but yet proved to be correct?
Wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8; Ephesians 1:17): The ability to have insight into people and situations that is not obvious to the average person, combined with an understanding of what to do and how to do it. It is the ability to not only see, but also apply the principles of God’s word to the practical matters of life by the “spirit of wisdom.”
- Do you seem to understand things about God’s Word that others believers with the same background and experience don’t seem to know?
- Are you able to apply biblical truth in a practical way to help counsel others to make good life choices?
- Do you find that when people have important decisions to make, they come to you for prayer and biblical counsel?
Prophecy (Romans 12): The ability to see what is going on spiritually (in a person’s life or in a community) when no one else can and speak into it the Word of God. Prophecy is a bit of a combination of Wisdom and Truth with a side of Discernment.
Spiritual gifts that serve with your HANDS:
Service (1 Corinthians 12:27-28): The ability to joyfully work alongside another and help that person complete the task that God has given them. This gift is usually accompanied with an attitude of humility and sacrifice, as well as the ability to perceive the needs of others.
These people tend to demonstrate a servant’s attitude, loyalty, attention to detail, and responsiveness to others.
- Do you enjoy helping others become more effective in their work? When someone is doing a poor job, is your first instinct to help them instead of criticize?
- Do you prefer to labor behind the scenes?
- When you hear of someone with needs, do you offer your services if possible?
Acts of Mercy (Romans 12:6-8): The capacity to feel and express unusual compassion and sympathy for those in difficulty or crisis situations and provide them with the necessary help and support to see them through the tough times.
People with this gift have the ability to “walk in another’s shoes” and feel the pain and burdens they carry. They desire to make a difference in the life of hurting people without being judgmental.
- Do you find yourself being drawn to people who are needy, hurting, sick, disabled, or elderly?
- Do you often think of ways to minister to those who are suffering?
- Do you find yourself responding more to people out of compassion than judgment?
Leadership (Romans 12:6-8): Found in people who have a clear, significant vision from God and are able to communicate it publicly or privately in such a way that they influence others to pursue that vision.
These people tend to gravitate toward the “point position” in a ministry. Others have trust and confidence in their abilities.
- Do you have confidence in your ability to lead? Do you usually take leadership in a group where none exists?
- When a difficult situation arises, do others look to you for input and leadership?
- Do you find leadership enjoyable rather than frustrating or difficult?
Administration (1 Corinthians 12:27-28): The God-given ability to give direction and make decisions on behalf of others that result in efficient operation and accomplishment of goals. Administration includes the ability to organize people, things, information, finances etc. Often the mark of the administrator is the ability to accomplish things in a “fitting and orderly way.”
Administrators often have a keen eye for detail. They may also possess the natural talents of organization, observing and using details, problem solving, and reasoning.
- Do you naturally organize your life, schedule, finances, priorities, etc?
- Can you bring order out of chaos?
- Do you become energized working on tasks and projects?
Spiritual gifts that serve with your STUFF:
Generosity/Giving (Romans 12:6-8): The ability to give money and other forms of wealth joyfully, wisely, and generously to meet the needs of others and help support ministries.
Regardless of the amount, people with these gifts view their treasures, talents, and time as on loan from God and not their own. They are often moved to meet the physical needs of others. They enjoy giving of themselves and what they have.
- Do you tend to see the needs of others more than other people do?
- Do you enjoy giving your time, talent, and treasures to others?
- Do you find yourself looking for opportunities to give your money—even when no one asks?
Hospitality (Romans 12:13): The ability to welcome strangers and entertain guests, often in your home, with great joy and kindness so that they become friends. Hospitality is supposed to include one’s family (1 Timothy 5:8), friends (Proverbs 27:10), Christians (Galatians 6:10), and strangers who may not be Christians (Leviticus 19:34).
These people tend to have an “open home” where others are welcome to visit.
- Do you enjoy having people in your home? Do you enjoy watching people meet and have fun at parties and events you help to plan and host?
- Do you feel that something is really missing in your life when you cannot have guests in your home?
- Do you consider your home as a place of ministry?