As we think about the Spiritual Disciplines in our lives, use this not as a score but a guide to helping navigate where you’re at. There’s no right or wrong answer.
Those with this gift are effective “second-chair members of a leadership team, but they function in a classic support role, where their work is often not even noticed except by the leader being served. Among the skills used are organizing, streamlining, clarifying steps, etc. Leaders know you have their back. Biblical example: Matthew in both the fact and the form of his Gospel.
People with this gift render practical service in the church to people in need. These people love being in the background, seeing needs and meeting them without drawing attention to themselves. They excel in hospitality, one- on-one serving, welcoming, facilitating the experience of others. Helps people often don’t even volunteer; they just do. Visitors to church who leave feeling welcomed, understood, and cared for probably stumbled on someone with a gift of helps, who makes the whole church look good! Hospitality may be a separate gift sometimes. Biblical example: Sisters Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42), and note the gift tension in their different exercises of the gift.
People with this gift sense the presence of Jesus when they are with a person or people who are disenfranchised, abused, or broken. Not just feelings of sympathy or empathy, but active compassion. If you have the gift of mercy, you can’t keep yourself from moving toward that need. You have an overwhelming sense of how much Jesus loves these hurting people. Biblical example: Tabitha (Acts 9:36).
If you have the gift of giving you are perpetually ready to give time, resources, and money away as your participation in what God is doing. We’re all called to give sacrificially, and tithing could actually be called a Spiritual Discipline, but those with this spiritual gift find profound worship experiences and joy in being the channel or means through which God supplies necessary resources. This is not necessarily a gift the Holy Spirit only gives to those who are wealthy; it is a gift that seems to supernaturally stretch and even multiply resources. Biblical example: Barnabas (Acts 4:36) created a “matching gift” program in the early church.
Not just presenting ideas but the result of the instruction is that people understand in a profound way the truth and importance of what God has said. Teaching presents the truth of Scripture in the context of the listeners. The gift doesn’t necessarily make you a dynamic communicator; it drives home what you communicate in a way that can’t be traced to your style, jokes, illustrations, or tone. God’s Spirit is at work as you communicate. Biblical example: Paul
There are actually two variations of this gift. Some people with the encouraging side of this gift are continually writing notes, or saying brief “words” to people, These are not flighty or light sentiments, The messages are pointed, unusually perceptive, and very encouraging for the faith of those who receive them, These are not produced as a chore or task but as a joyful ministry, Those who exercise this gift are not looking for an exchange of messages their greatest affirmation is when you make progress or “pay it forward”, doing what was done for you to someone else, Biblical example: Barnabas had this gift,
The exhorting side to this gift definitely has an edge to it. One way to put it is encouragement on steroids. Someone with this gift sits down with you or takes you aside and *calls you out” in your wail of faith. They are direct and can help you see things or face things about yourself that you have been avoiding or denying They can’t override your will, but they present a pretty compelling reason to get things straightened out. I like to picture the experience as being like a warm hug followed by a punch to the chin, and the impact of the punch may only sink in later. Biblical example: Agabus demonstrated this gift (Acts 11.28, 21,10).
The emphasis with this gift is the sense of being commissioned, called, and sent out. The original word was not necessarily a religious office but referred to a person sent as a personal representative, bearing the authority of the sender. The range of the apostolic gift seems to include both remarkable leadership in planting, growing, and leading individual churches and also unusual oversight leadership of any number of existing churches. Some missionaries exercise this gift; some church founders do it; and others seem to have “bishop style” authority over multiple churches even though they may have no formal title in those churches. Biblical example: John as demonstrated in his epistles and entrusted by Jesus with the aHare that onen Revelation
The Spiritual gift of leadership involves exercising influence over a group to lead it toward a vision or goal enabling the body of Christ to accomplish God’s purposes for the group. Biblical example: Moses
Fortunately, many people who have the title “pastor” actually do have this gift which is desperately needed. But being called a pastor doesn’t automatically mean you can shepherd out of your gifting.
The gift of pastor is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to assume a long-term personal responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers, incarnating Christ’s presence through all the experiences of life.
The truth is that the Holy Spirit gives to many the gift of shepherding who will never have a pastoral title. One of the keys to the effectiveness of a large ministry is identifying those with pastoral gifts and releasing them to minister in smaller groups. Preaching on this I pointed out to our congregation that there were hundreds of pastors sitting in the rows among them, reading to meet their needs for shepherding in ways I could never meet. Biblical example: Priscilla and Aquila pastored in the wake of higher visibility people. Peter told the elders he wrote in 1 Peter 5:1-4 that he expected them to shepherd those under their care, spelling out what the gift does.
Every Christian is called to evangelize, to verbalize the gospel to others, particularly when given the opportunity. In 1 Peter 3:15, the apostle did not just have those with the gift of evangelism in mind when he wrote: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Evangelism is the special ability in communication the Gospel message in relevant ways to unbelievers, proclaiming the Good News of salvation effectively so that people respond to the claims of Christ in conversation and in discipleship. Biblical example: Acts 8 describes Philip busy at work with this gift.
The gift of prophecy is exercised when someone, usually in a congregation or large gathering, has the capacity to deliver truth of a predictive nature or a situational word from God. The result: exhort the community, edify or comfort believers, or convince non- believers of God’s truth. This gift is differentiated from the spiritual gift of teaching.
The combined witness of Scripture tells us that tongues is speaking in an unknown language (to the speaker). The Bible describes it as a sung, prayed, or spoken utterance. When you are by yourself with Jesus, using that tongue can edify yourself as you seek to praise God or pray through issues. In congregational settings tongues should be accompanied by interpretation for the benefit of all. Tongues are not a universal gift are given to some, not all, just like other Gifts
This gift is being exercised when someone speaks in tongues and another person understands what is being said and can interpret for the audience. The presence and practice of this gift will humble or bring someoneto conviction; it will deepen enjoyment or bring significant encouragement to a church body. On occasion the interpretation is directed to a non- Christian who suddenly realizes God is speaking to them.
The ability to pray for extended periods of time on a regular basis and see specific things occur as a result of their praying. Intercession is entirely about bringing the needs of others with passion into God’s presence. This not only going boldly before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16) but staying there until you see God’s answers. There are the “list” intercessors. Then there are the “crisis” intercessors. There are also “assignment” intercessors.
People with this gift bring oxygen into a room. I love this definition: the gift of faith is the ability that God gives certain members of the body of Christ to discern with extraordinary confidence the will or purpose of God for His work. A person with this gift realizes “it” and knows God is going to do “it”. When the body of Christ at large is considering an action, those with the gift of faith often become the tipping point in the decision-making process-with God we can do this! And when skepticism and doubt is rampant, people with the gift of faith speak up, “No, I know God is about to do this.”
The supernatural capacity to recognize the source of what’s in front of you. People with the gift of discernment see behind the curtain of appearances which can be misleading. As with the gift of intercession we discussed above, there are different styles to this gift.
Some with discernment simply know when God is present and acting. Others with this gift understand the hidden motives of people, good or bad. And others are tuned in to situations in which the demonic is present. Often, it’s a combination of discernment areas.
This gift is in operation when God’s Spirit chooses and gifts certain of His children to be healing intermediaries within the body of Christ. God heals people through them. The model we see in Jesus, who clearly had this gift, is that He touched people or people touched Him, and God healed. He was demonstrating how a person with the spiritual gift of healing might go about practicing their gift. This is different from office-based prayer for healing (James 5:13-15).
Not the same as the gift of healing, it is actually spiritual authority given over nature or over demons. The power and presence of miracles is when God, through an individual He has gifted, does the supernatural. Some of us, especially those who are called to deal directly with evil forces long-term are given a special gift that empowers them to confront evil with the Holy Spirit’s power and see it depart quickly.
This gift and the next remain to a large degree under the ongoing control of the Holy Spirit and He enables those whom He has empowered, in the moment, to exercise these gifts. In other words, you may be very aware you have this gift but not be free to use it in every situation.
These gifts function when God gives you information about someone you have no direct access to any other way. The right exercise of these gifts brings humility and help to others without humiliating them. It can bring healing to them, but never hurts them, So Words of Knowledge are similar to prophecy, but they are directed to individuals.
With limitations noted above, this gift is in action when God gives a situational word or a message acutely applicable in a moment that provides insight for people into the next steps of a spiritual journey. These are practical instructions like “go to this place” or “read this book” which were not among the recipient’s current list of options. It’s new and very helpful information.