Understanding and Developing Your Spiritual Gifts
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Plover, WI
This workbook was created as an
outgrowth of discussion in the Evangelism Committee at Good Shepherd Lutheran
Church on how best to acquaint members of the church with their spiritual
gifts. There are a number of gift assessment inventories available to
help people discover their spiritual gifts, but it was difficult to find
material that would assist in understanding and developing the gift once
it was revealed. There was a desire to pull together information from
various sources and create a document that would be of value to people
who wished to more fully comprehend what is implicit in giftedness and
how they might use their gifts. It was also recognized that members of
the congregation would benefit from knowledge of all gifts to gain an
appreciation for the way God builds up the Body of Christ to equip it
for work in the world.
Developing and Using Your Spiritual Gift - [ TOP ]
Discovery of a spiritual gift is a wonderful beginning upon which to build. However, inventory assessment results may seem improbable or even inconclusive to you - varying interpretations of questions may lead to different responses. Therefore it is important to test any findings you have been given through further study, prayer, evaluation and confirmation. If you wish, you may want to try other more extensive inventories - one free inventory source on the Internet which provides an immediate analysis is located at: www.theseeker.org/gifts/chap9.htm. Follow these eight steps to fully explore each gift that you think you may have:
(1) Learn about the gift: Study scriptural passages on gifts in general as well as specific gifts you feel you may have been given. Gain a full understanding about your gift by reviewing the kinds of things that characterize persons who have this gift and the ways the gift can be employed.
(2) Accept the gift: Believe that you are gifted (see 1 Pet. 4:10), and give thanks to God for your gift.
(3) Pray for guidance: Prayer is essential if you wish to become serious about discovering and using your gift to fulfill God’s purposes. This will open passageways for Godly insights and strengthen your faith for use of the gift.
(4) Offer yourself to God: Make a commitment to do whatever God asks of you, and trust in him to give you what you need for the task. Be willing to use your gift for God.
(5) Examine yourself: Look at how God has already been at work in your life. Review past accomplishments and present interests. What excites you? What needs catch your eye?
(6) Seek confirmation: Do other Christians who know you recognize particular giftedness within you? Ask for the counsel of friends and family and especially from people who seem to have the same gift. Do they see this gift in you?
(7) Try out your gift: Test the waters as soon as you can using all the above steps as support, and volunteer in a way that you can use your gift. Always keep in mind that you are using your gift to help other Christians, to bring others to Christ, and to glorify God.
(8) Look for results: If you have accurately identified the spiritual gift, use of it will produce results. You should be able to discern that your initial efforts have been at least modestly fruitful. Continue working to develop your gift, and the blessings will become apparent to all. If evaluation reveals that your service has been ineffective, then seek anew to find your gift(s).
Even though your gift sets you up in a very real way for empowered use of it in ministry, nothing much will happen unless it is used. Through use you are able to develop the gift to a level of effectiveness. Once you know what your gift is, you should be prepared to take advantage of formal learning and training opportunities that may strengthen you for ministry. Study of biblical persons, saints, or more current witnesses who seemed to have a similar gift can be helpful. Expand your knowledge at every opportunity by reading books and articles related to your gift or listen to audio tapes and videos by scholars in the field. Seek out and speak with other Christians who have the same gift, and find out what they have done with it. If there are conferences or workshops that would help you develop your gift, try to attend.
Continually pray for guidance and strength in the use of your gift and ask God to open your eyes to the needs of others that your gift might address. Prioritize around your gift so that you can focus your efforts on ministry for which you are gifted and minimize involvement in areas for which you may not be equipped. The support of a small Christian group can be very helpful as an instrument for sharing - look for avenues for this kind of sharing in the family, church committees, or Bible study or fellowship groups. Love is evident in all true spirituality, and it must be present for effective use of spiritual gifts. Expect to sacrifice personally in the service of the Lord, and do not be afraid. Having and using a spiritual gift in no way shields you from adversity, but it does give you assurance of God’s favor.
Support other members in the church in the use of their gifts by confirming with them that you see good fruit from their efforts. The feedback you give will help them in their pilgrimage to discover and develop their gifts, and it will contribute to an overall communal spirit of congregational ministry, which is important in the building up of the church.
Resources used in the development of this document and individual spiritual gift information sheets:
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