Spiritual Gifts Discernment Process

copied from “A Spiritual Gifts Discernment Process”
by Michael Anne Haywood

Everyone has spiritual gifts

Everyone has gifts. No one gift is better than any other gift. All gifts are precious and are needed in the life and ministry of the church.

Everyone has gifts, useful, even necessary to the work of God in and through the church. The gifts we have are not the same gifts; each of us has something different that we can offer. No one gift is better than any other gift. All gifts are precious and are needed in the life and ministry of the church.

Paul writes in First Corinthians: Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds oftongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ….. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues.

Discernment of spiritual gifts and ministry

The discernment of spiritual gifts is a helpful process for those who would like to be involved in the church but who may not know what they have to offer. The Spiritual Gifts Inventory Test is only one step in the process of the discernment of gifts.

The discernment of gifts is not a solo practice. One’s gifts should be affirmed by the community. Discuss your gifts openly with Christians you have a close relationship with. If you encountered surprises, share them. If you have some doubts, discuss them humbly. Ask for feedback, support, or clarification. Contribute to the affirmation process for the others in your group.

After one has identified one’s spiritual gifts, the process of discernment turns to the discernment of one’s ministry, the use of one’s gifts — living out one’s baptismal vows — in the church and community. The List of Spiritual Gifts makes helpful suggestions of ministries where you can use your gifts effectively.

Testing one’s ministry

Your ministry should yield fruit; bringing forth in you positive feelings such as joy and peace, rather than making you feel anxious, impatient or imposed on.

One means of testing one’s ministry is to match it against the fruits of the spirit listed in Galatians: “By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

Ministry should yield fruit. For instance, if one has the gift of hospitality then having people in one’s home should bring forth feelings of love, joy, peace, etc., rather than making one feel anxious, impatient or imposed on.

What are your Spiritual Gifts?
Take the Test…
The Spiritual Gifts Inventory Test