In session 1 of 6.30 leadership we looked at how Paul told Timothy to ‘fan into flame’ the gift that was in him and how each of us has gifts that God wants to fan into flame and use. So the obvious question comes, “well how do I know what my gifts are?” Hopefully this short blog post and the test within it will help.
In the New Testament there are five different lists that we are given and they contain over 20 gifts (the gifts are often repeated). It’s clear that this is not an exhaustive list (as if there are not more to be added, e.g. sound engineer would not have been needed in New Testament times!) but it’s a good place to start.
New Testament Lists
- Romans 12:3-8 – prophecy, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, showing mercy.
- 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 – a message of wisdom, a message of knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, tongues, the interpretation of tongues.
- 1 Corinthians 12:27-30 – apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healing, helping, guidance, different kinds of tongues, interpretation.
- Ephesians 4:11 – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.
- 1 Peter 4:10-11 – speaking, serving.
As I said, Jesus by his Spirit has given his church more gifts than the ones listed above, but these are clearly good for us to think on. Before we look at how we can start to identify and use them, let me make a few comments on the mistakes we often make when it comes to spiritual gifts.
- I am not gifted – to say this is to claim that you are the first person in history who has not been gifted and to say the bible is not true. God made you, gave you gifts and wants you to use your gifts.
- My gifts are pathetic – this was the situation in Corinth; people wanted the ‘spectacular gifts’ like tongues and prophesy but were not interested in administration and helps. Paul says we need to remember we’re like a body and each part is vital, and the less prominent parts are just as vital as the prominent parts.
- I am jealous of their gifts – this links with point two and was again the problem at Corinth. But if we remember that these are gifts, we don’t deserve them and we didn’t earn them, then we’ll be grateful to God for them. In fact spiritual gifts is not the best word to use because the greek word “charismata” is derived from two words, charis (grace) and mata (gift) which reminds us that these are undeserved.
- I’ll use my gifts for my own glory – it’s important to remember that the gifts were given to encourage and build up the church. They are for the ‘common good.’ So don’t think about what you can get out of them or don’t shy away from using them because you’re fearful; rather remember that they are not for you but for others. So use them to serve others.
It’s worth reading over the passages above to look at the mistake the church made then, and now make, when it comes to spiritual gifts. Our attitude should be one of gratitude, humility and servant-hood.
Discovering your gifts
Here are a few things for you to think about to help you discover and ‘fan into flame’ your gifts
- Experiment – try out lots of things and see what you’re good at and not good at. Don’t take yourself too seriously, so if you find you’re not good at something move on. Try lots of things.
- Enjoyment – whilst using our gifts may not always be easy, since they are gifts there should be an enjoyment and an ease when we use them. If we find ourselves very stressed, anxious, tired or burdened by what we’re doing, it’s probably not our gift. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do some of those things (lots of the Christian life requires sacrifice and servanthood) but you should probably look for something else. Whilst your gifts need to be nurtured, they should come quite naturally… because they’re gifts!
- Feedback – ask other people. Often those around you can see your gifts better than you do. They see when you flourish and shine. So ask others.
- Start – if in doubt, start serving in a simple and practical way, whether in City Group or on a Sunday, and let God take your simple first step and move you on. So start somewhere.
- Pray – ask God to show you what you’re good at.
Spiritual Gifts Test
One way of helping you grow in your gifts is to take a spiritual gifts test. If you’re doing 6.30 leadership this is mandatory and we’ll be discussing it before session 2. It’s 105 questions and will take between 10 and 20 minutes (depending on your gift…haha!). You can sign up or you can just do it as a guest (then afterwards you can enter an email address to send the results to, or print or save them as a PDF).
And it’s a good website, so do look around and see what else you can learn. At the end of the test you’ll get something that will look like picture below. Please bring these results to session 2 of 6.30 leadership.