How do you discover and mobilize spiritual gifts? It is important to keep seven scriptural facts about spiritual gifts in mind. Consider these facts shared by Mike James in a previous blog post, 7 Facts about Spiritual Gifts:
- God does not want us to be ignorant concerning gifts. (1 Cor. 12:1)
- Many gifts but the same Giver. (1 Cor. 12:4)
- Every Christian has at least one gift! (1 Cor. 12:7,11)
- Gifts are sovereignly given. (1 Cor. 12:11,18)
- Spiritual gifts are not evidences of super spirituality. (1 Cor. 12: 21-25)
- Purpose of gifts is for serving. (1 Peter 4:10)
- Gifts remind us that we live and serve for the “glory of God” (1 Peter 4:11)
Wow, what a great list of reminders. Gifts are real. They are from our Lord and enable us to serve the Him and the body of Christ. The gifts are disbursed through the body. That means we need every person to bring their gifts for the body to function effectively and fully.
Discovering Spiritual Gifts
There are many ways to discover spiritual gifts. I always recommend starting with scripture (see the verses above, especially 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12). Teaching through a sermon series or in a group can be a practical way. Reading a book about gifts can help. I would also recommend the David Francis book, Spiritual Gifts: A Practical Guide to How God Works Through You.
Some individuals discover their gifts through trial and error. Observation (and self-observation) is a key method. Sometimes others can help us to realize things about ourselves about which we were not aware. There are also tools and assessments which can help, like this one: https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/women-leadership-spiritual-gifts-growth-service.
Mobilizing Spiritual Gifts
It is challenging to mobilize gifts effectively when church leadership lacks knowledge about how spiritual gifts are disbursed throughout the congregation. Not utilizing spiritual gifts is wasteful/harmful, like a banana left on the kitchen counter too long. Lack of use (or underuse) can cause atrophy or weakness in the expression of that gift.
What if a pastor preached a sermon series that encouraged members to complete a spiritual gifts inventory, sharing it with church leadership? Then what if ministry leaders were given a list of members with spiritual gifts which might be beneficial in that ministry (often a mix may be needed)? This could be a starting point.
Or let’s focus on discipling a person or discipleship group. What if following a scriptural study of spiritual gifts, you and your disciple(s) then complete a spiritual gifts inventory and talk about those gifts. What if you then talk about ways those gifts might be expressed in order to build up the body of Christ? I find doing so helps the disciple feel fulfilled and enables them to be fulfilling to the church. From this point forward, disciples think differently about their usefulness, time, and value to God and the church.
How do you discover and mobilize the spiritual gifts of your congregation or of your disciples? Share your ideas so that iron can sharpen iron (Proverbs 27:17). Use your gifts for Him, and encourage others to do so. Be a disciple who makes disciples!