God has given each believer a spiritual gift that He wants us to use for His glory, but we often don’t use it. We may deny that we actually have a spiritual gift or if we do acknowledge it, we may doubt its usefulness to glorify God, and then just bury it. But we must realize that God wants us to be involved with His work. He is so gracious that by His Holy Spirit He freely distributes gifts to all who are saved. He not only wants us to know our spiritual gifts, but He expects us to grow in them each day.

Take Test Now

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:7 “But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Read about your gifting and then follow the suggestions and find a place to use that gift for the building of the kingdom.

Descriptions

Encourager/Exhorter

The Greek root word for encouraging is “paraklesis”. The scriptures show that the gift of encouragement will 1) edify and exhort 2) give peace to a troubled mind through speaking a message of encouragement and 3) bring joy and comfort.

Encouragers have the ability to call forth the best in others through encouragement and motivation. Thus naturally, people with the gift of encouragement feel comfortable around people and tend to have extraverted personalities. Anecdotal research shows that encouragers not only encourage others but also like to prescribe practical advice. Encouragers want to see people improve and succeed. They have an ability to bring new life to people who have lost their determination and feel burnt out.

Encouragers are good with every personality and gift. However, because encouragers are considerate of the feelings of others, they can easily be offended when people are not considerate toward them. Encouragers love to “fix” things and make the world a happier place!

Places to use this gift:

  • children’s ministry
  • student ministry
  • REALife Group shepherd
  • prison ministry
  • lay counseling
  • fostering
  • prayer team
  • public school mentoring (Tiger Buds)
  • nursing home ministry
  • food pantry (Helping Hands)
  • SOFI driver
Giver

The Greek root word for giving is “metadidomi” meaning to impart. The New Testament scriptures show that giving is characterized by: 1) being charitable or having a charitable attitude 2) giving much out of little 3) specifically contributing to the less fortunate and 4) giving of one’s excess or bounty to those who have nothing.

Income is not the only way to determine whether someone has the gift of giving. Givers also donate their time through volunteer work or helping others in some way. They are characterized by hospitality. Givers are people who love to host and entertain. Perhaps the easiest way to identify a giver is their generous and charitable attitude. In an organization, givers are excellent people to place in hospitality roles. This generous attitude extends to making personal sacrifices of time and self. Givers will also make wonderful customer service representatives because they enjoy taking care of needs often going above and beyond to satisfy a customer. When the patience and generosity of others has run out, the true giver will continue to be gracious.

Places to use this gift:

  • general giving to any ministry
  • missionary support
  • great at working occupations for great wealth in order to give
  • fundraising
  • financial counseling
  • support of special projects
  • benevolence team
  • any serving opportunity
Leadership/Administration/Ruler

The Greek root word for leader is “proistemi,” which translates “rule”. The scriptures illustrate how a ruler will: 1) set good examples 2) provide sound counsel 3) give admonition and warning to the people of dangers they are headed toward 4) reprove for negligence and 5) rule with love versus rigor.

The behaviors of a ruler are similar to behaviors of the other six motivational gifts, which make this gift harder to identify. The difference is in the motivation. The objective of the ruler is to move everyone toward the common goal. Like the perceiver, the ruler will give admonition and warning of upcoming situations. Like the teacher, a ruler will provide sound counsel and instructive reasoning to convince the people of the common goal.

What makes the gift of ruling unique is the ability to see the “big picture”. The ruler is intuitive, which enables the ruler to look ahead for possibilities and dangers. The ability to guide people and communicate to them regarding how to develop the “big picture” gives the ruler an assertive, take-charge attitude. So, naturally, rulers can appear bossy to other people who do not understand the ruler’s gift.

Places to use this gift:

  • REALife Group shepherd
  • children’s ministry
  • student ministry
  • any type of leadership/oversight role
  • creator of new ministries (current desires of new ministry: Celebrate Recovery, benevolence team, prayer team)
  • coach of sports ministry
Mercy

The Greek word for mercy is “eleeo”. In the New Testament, those with the gift of mercy are: 1) compelled to have compassion for people, 2) help people in misery, and 3) pity the ignorant and instruct them.

People gifted with mercy are the first to listen and sympathize when someone is suffering. They feel that sympathizing with others is a valuable use of their time. This gift is concerned with the condition of the person who is suffering or in trouble. Often people with this gift have a strong desire to relieve the pain of others. This is why people with the gift of mercy are usually effective in roles that require compassion, such as physical therapists, social workers, counselors, or where they can listen to the problems of others, such as human resources where employee concerns are addressed.

It is this ability to show compassion and mercy that enables the person with this gift to demonstrate a large amount of patience. They are less likely to become frustrated when people repeatedly come to them with problems unlike those gifted in the other areas.

Places to use this gift:

  • children’s ministry
  • student ministry
  • REALife Group shepherd
  • lay counseling
  • hospitality
  • visitation and follow-up
  • prison ministry
  • greeter
  • prayer team
  • public school mentoring (Tiger Buds)
  • nursing home ministry
  • food pantry (Helping Hands)
  • SOFI driver
Prophet/Perceiver/Wisdom

The Greek word for this gift is “propheteia”. In scripture, we can see specific traits and behaviors of the gift of perceiving. They are: 1) the ability to interpret scripture, 2) to reveal information to others, and 3) an ability to speak the mind of God.

Perceivers have a keen sense of right and wrong. This is a form of discernment that we have seen in Christians and non-Christians alike. It is because of this sense of right and wrong that perceivers hold very high standards. They tend to be perfectionists because of their high standards and often become their own worst critics. In some cases, perceivers do not realize their gift and they can become very critical of other people or situations, which emerges as a pessimistic attitude.

The primary function of this gift is to reveal information the perceiver has discerned in a way that will help others. This information is not always positive and well received. As a result, perceivers sometimes appear direct, blunt, or inconsiderate of the feelings of others particularly when sharing this information with people possessing different motivational gifts. This is a classic case of the gift being misunderstood because their real intention is to help people.

In contrast, at times the primary function of the gift is not to reveal the information the perceiver has discerned – in these cases, God has allowed the perceiver to discern such things so they can pray about them. Often when people do not understand the purpose of this gift, they can feel (and become) judgmental instead of prayerful. Make no mistake about it, this information is purposefully shown to the perceiver for a reason!

Places to use this gift:

  • REALife Group shepherd
  • children’s ministry
  • student ministry
  • great mentors and peacemakers
  • lay counseling
  • prison ministry
  • SOFI driver
Server

The Greek word for service is “diakonia”. Throughout the New Testament scriptures there are three specific behaviors or traits demonstrated. They are: 1) providing for the physical, material, or spiritual needs of people 2) taking care of the less fortunate in society such as the poor or the widowed and 3) helping in the distribution or collection of food, clothing, etc. to give to those in need.

Servers have an extraordinary ability to recognize tasks that need to be done. They are very cognizant of their surroundings. Perhaps this comes from their need to provide for others as seen in scripture. Servers are the first to lend a hand. Often they work in the background providing services that others will never see. Servers show their loyalty through action rather than words.

What motivates a server is helping someone else. Because servers have a tendency to prefer jobs in support roles, they are not usually in the forefront or public eye. They prefer to accomplish their tasks without an audience and therefore, their personalities tend to be more quiet and reserved. Unfortunately, some people interpret the reserved nature of a server and the desire to work behind the scenes as being uninterested. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Servers see the needs “behind the scenes,” as essential to making things work on the “front lines.”

Places to use this gift:

  • hospitality ministry
  • children’s ministry
  • student ministry
  • homeless ministry
  • delivering meals
  • set-up and tear down at special events
  • serving anywhere, anytime, anyway
  • great in any ministry and serving where needed
Teacher

The Greek root word for teaching is “didaskalia”. The scriptures illustrate how one with the gift of teaching uses sound, rational, and instructive reasoning to convince and help others to learn.

People with the gift of teaching are consummate debaters. It is how they convince and help others to learn. It doesn’t matter if they are in the office or at home, people with the gift of teaching are constantly thinking on their feet. Teachers need to know the reasoning behind concepts or ideas. They do not take anything at face value. Teachers can appear argumentative while they are simply trying to gain further understanding. They have the ability to synthesize ideas, which results in a constant mental flow of information. Teachers are those who need to carry pocket size tape recorders so they can record their ideas throughout the day. Their mind is always running and is filled with new ideas.

People with the gift of teaching need intellectual stimulation. They easily get bored with routine tasks. Teachers love to learn and keep their minds busy. They usually enjoy research and love the opportunity to share something they have learned.

Places to use this gift:

  • Bible study leader
  • children’s ministry
  • student ministry
  • research assistant
  • developer of curriculum
  • mentor
  • any ministry area that is in need of study and teaching

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

Keep in mind that oftentimes the Holy Spirit gives us more than one gift which serves to keep our other gift (gifts) in check or harmonize to create a blended gift that God uses in unique ways. This is another reason why each and everyone of us has a unique role to play in the Kingdom even if your gift may seem just like someone else you know!

Scripture commands us to minister in many areas whether or not we have the corresponding spiritual gift(s). For example Scripture clearly tells us that some have the following gifts, yet all are to minister in these ways…

Gifts to some

  • Ministering (serving)
  • Exhortation
  • Giving
  • Teaching
  • Showing Mercy
  • Faith
  • Evangelism

Commands to all

  • Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
  • Exhort each other (Hebrews 10:25)
  • All are to give (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • Make Disciples (Matthew 28:19)
  • Be kind (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7)
  • All witness (Acts 1:8)

Oftentimes as we are faithful to these commands, after we discover our particular spiritual gift(s).

No matter what spiritual gift(s) we have received, the Christian virtue of love must accompany the   exercise of those gifts; otherwise, they will prove unfruitful.

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of   angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to   be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GIFTS AND TALENTS:

Talents have to do with techniques and methods; gifts have to do with spiritual abilities.

Talents depend on natural ability, gifts on spiritual endowment. Talents instruct, inspire, or entertain on a natural level. However, when a gift is exercised, something supernatural happens in and through the one who is ministering.

CONCLUSION:

Your God-given personality, talents, abilities and spiritual gifts all work together to make you uniquely you!

Put your gift to use in one of the ministry areas listed above or look here and discover other opportunities to serve.

“Whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:11)