6 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself to Discover Your Spiritual Gift

Dear Roger,

Why doesn’t the church in general teach about the spiritual gifts of prophecy, healing, words of knowledge, speaking in tongues, etc. I am starving for this teaching and get it on TV.

Sincerely, Starving

Dear Starving,

I agree. It breaks my heart that the spiritual gifts don’t seem to be taught or emphasized much throughout Christendom these days. Their utilization is critical for the Church to function properly in society.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul taught, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us… let [us] use [them] in proportion to [our] faith” (12:6).

The spiritual gifts are found in three separate passages in the New Testament (Romans 121 Corinthians 12–14; and Ephesians 4). The lists are not exactly identical. Some overlapping occurs.

According to 1 Corinthians 12:6, God the Father pours in the power, Jesus the Son assigns the ministry, and God the Holy Spirit gives out the gifts as He deems necessary for the proper functioning of the church body.

The gifts may be organized in several ways. We will use the most common grouping.

Establishing Gifts (Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:29): Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists and Pastor-Teachers

These gifts are used primarily for planting and growing churches.

Supporting Gifts (Romans 12:6-8): Prophecy, Service, Teaching, Encouragement, Giving, Administration/Leadership, and Mercy

These gifts are used primarily to organize and administrate the church so that it may best carry out its responsibilities.

Ministry Gifts (1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 27-31): Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Prophecy, Helps, Administration, Leadership, Distinguishing Spirits, Speaking in Tongues, Interpreting Tongues.

These are the tools that the Holy Spirit utilizes for the ongoing ministry of the church.

Every Christian is given at least one gift at conversion. Our initial gift may lie dormant for awhile as we mature. These gifts seem to remain with believers throughout their ministry lives.

Personally, I used to think that I could have only one gift. However, as my ministry increased, my need for gifts increased. 

As we manage well our initial gift, and as our ministries expand, we may ask God for other gifts under the direction of the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:31 and 14:39).

When necessary, spiritual gifts may operate as a toolbox full of tools. For example, God may utilize a particular gift in our lives on a short-time basis in order to minister to a particular need in the body of Christ.

It goes without saying that congregations are spiritually impotent when the members do not freely and responsibly allow the Holy Spirit to manifest God’s ministry and power through the gifts He has given.

Allow me to share a few guidelines on how to unwrap your spiritual gift (gifts).

6 Questions to Help You Identify Your Spiritual Gifts

1. As I study how gifts operate in the Bible, do any resonate in my soul?

2. What do I enjoy doing?

3. What is the holy spirit telling me?

4. What ministry in my life is God blessing?

5. What gifts do others see operating in me?

As we are engaging in Christian service in obedience, others may see a gift in us long before we ourselves are aware of it.

Occasionally, others recognize that we don’t possess a gift we think we have. One believer said, “It’s so strange to meet someone who claims to have the gift of preaching when no one has the gift of listening.”

Practice! Practice! Practice! 

Unused muscles atrophy. That is one reason that doctors order patients up and walking soon after surgery. In the same way, exercise is needed to prevent the lapse or collapse of a spiritual gift. If you don’t use it, you probably don’t lose it; it just doesn’t work very well.

The existence of a gift is a call to exercise it. Paul advised Timothy, “Neglect not the gift that is in you” (1 Timothy 4:14).

Faithful utilization of a gift brings increased effectiveness in its ministry, but failure to develop a gift curtails ministry!

Every person and every gift is important—no matter how small and insignificant it may seem.

A young boy on the beach was picking up starfish and throwing them back into the water as the tide retreated. Thousands of dying starfish dotted the beach.

An older man walking by noticed the young man’s actions. The older gentleman said, “There must be 100,000 starfish here. What difference will it make?”

As the boy picked up another starfish and threw it back into the sea, he replied, “Well, it will make a difference to this one.”

Ask Roger

Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work isGot Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answerfrom Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.