|Discover Your Spiritual Gifts!|
Discover Your Spiritual Gifts!
By Gene Wilkes
Ken Hemphill defines a spiritual gift as “an individual manifestation of grace from the Father that enables
you to serve Him and thus play a vital role in His plan for the redemption of the world.”1 Peter Wagner
defines a spiritual gift as “a special attribute given by the Holy Spirit to every member of the Body of Christ
according to God’s grace for use within the context of the Body.”2 I like to use this definition:
A spiritual gift is an expression of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers which empowers them to
serve the body of Christ, the church.
Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28-30; Ephesians 4:11; and 1 Peter 4:9-11 contain representative
lists of gifts and roles God has given to the church. A definition of these gifts follows.3
· Leadership—Leadership aids the body by leading and directing members to accomplish the
goals and purposes of the church. Leadership motivates people to work together in unity
toward common goals (Rom. 12:8).
· Administration—Persons with the gift of administration lead the body by steering others to
remain on task. Administration enables the body to organize according to God-given purposes
and long-term goals (1 Cor. 12:28).
· Teaching—Teaching is instructing members in the truths and doctrines of God’s Word for the
purposes of building up, unifying, and maturing the body (1 Cor. 12:28; Rom. 12:7; Eph. 4:11).
· Knowledge—The gift of knowledge manifests itself in teaching and training in discipleship. It is
the God-given ability to learn, know, and explain the precious truths of God’s Word. A word of
knowledge is a Spirit-revealed truth (1 Cor. 12:28).
· Wisdom—Wisdom is the gift that discerns the work of the Holy Spirit in the body and applies
His teachings and actions to the needs of the body (1 Cor. 12:28).
· Prophecy—The gift of prophecy is proclaiming the Word of God boldly. This builds up the
body and leads to conviction of sin. Prophecy manifests itself in preaching and teaching (1
Cor. 12:10; Rom. 12:6).
· Discernment—Discernment aids the body by recognizing the true intentions of those within or
related to the body. Discernment tests the message and actions of others for the protection
and well-being of the body (1 Cor. 12:10).
· Exhortation—Possessors of this gift encourage members to be involved in and enthusiastic
about the work of the Lord. Members with this gift are good counselors and motivate others to
service. Exhortation exhibits itself in preaching, teaching, and ministry (Rom. 12:8).
· Shepherding—The gift of shepherding is manifested in persons who look out for the spiritual
welfare of others. Although pastors, like shepherds, do care for members of the church, this
gift is not limited to a pastor or staff member (Eph. 4:11).
· Faith—Faith trusts God to work beyond the human capabilities of the people. Believers with
this gift encourage others to trust in God in the face of apparently insurmountable odds (1 Cor.
· Evangelism—God gifts his church with evangelists to lead others to Christ effectively and
enthusiastically. This gift builds up the body by adding new members to its fellowship (Eph.
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· Apostleship—The church sends apostles from the body to plant churches or be missionaries.
Apostles motivate the body to look beyond its walls in order to carry out the Great Commission
(1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11).
· Service/Helps—Those with the gift of service/helps recognize practical needs in the body and
joyfully give assistance to meeting those needs. Christians with this gift do not mind working
behind the scenes (1 Cor. 12:28; Rom. 12:7).
· Mercy—Cheerful acts of compassion characterize those with the gift of mercy. Persons with
this gift aid the body by empathizing with hurting members. They keep the body healthy and
unified by keeping others aware of the needs within the church (Rom. 12:8).
· Giving—Members with the gift of giving give freely and joyfully to the work and mission of the
body. Cheerfulness and liberality are characteristics of individuals with this gift (Rom. 12:8).
· Hospitality—Those with this gift have the ability to make visitors, guests, and strangers feel at
ease. They often use their home to entertain guests. Persons with this gift integrate new
members into the body (1 Pet. 4:9).
God has gifted you with an expression of His Holy Spirit to support His vision and mission of the church. It
is a worldwide vision to reach all people with the gospel of Christ. As a servant leader, God desires that
you know how He has gifted you. This will lead you to where He would have you serve as part of His
vision and mission for the church.
Download the Spiritual Gifts Survey at http://www.lifeway.com/downloads
Gene Wilkes is pastor of the Legacy Drive Baptist Church, Plano, Texas. This article was adapted from
Jesus on Leadership by Gene Wilkes (LifeWay Christian Resources 1998).
1 Ken Hemphill, Serving God: Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts Workbook (Dallas: The
Sampson Company, 1995), 22. This product is distributed by and available from LifeWay Christian
Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, and may be purchased by calling toll free 1-800-458-
2 Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow by C. Peter Wagner, Copyright © 1979, Regal Books,
Ventura, CA 93003. Used by permission, 42.
3 These definitions exclude the “sign gifts” because of some confusion that accompanies these gifts and
because they are difficult to fit into ministries within a typical church’s ministry base.