Divinely Designed to Serve ~ Message 2 – Spiritual Gifts #2

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Divinely Designed to Serve, Part 2

1 Corinthians 12

Bruce A. Hess

You may grab a seat. Didn’t our worship team do a great job of leading us in worship today? Yes!. Greatly appreciate them and greatly appreciate you and I’m so glad that you are with us today and we have an opportunity to be able to worship and spend time around God’s word. We are thankful for all of that.

If you would right now, please take out the Word of God and turn in it, in the New Testament, to the book of 1 Corinthians, 1 Corinthians, chapter number 12.

While you are turning there, I just wanted to say that one of the simple rules in life is:  it is important that it fits. It’s one of the simple rules of life: it is important that it fits. That is certainly true of our clothes, for example, because you don’t want to have pants that you can’t get on. I have noticed something magical happens as you get older, somehow, as you get older, our pants shrink. They get tighter. I don’t really understand how that happens, but it happens. [ 😉 ] One of the simple rules of life is: it is important that it fits. I mean, you don’t want pants that are just going to fall down, right?

It is important that it fits. That is also true when it comes to remodeling a house. In our home, we had some wall ovens that were more than a third of a century old. So, we thought, let’s go and replace the wall ovens. So, we went to Metro Builder’s Supply: Hey we’re here to replace our wall ovens. Then, they asked this question: Well, are they 27 inches or are they 30 inches,   some wall ovens are 24 inches wide. I’m sitting there going like…I guess I’d better go home and measure the wall ovens! I was thinking they are all exactly alike, no they’re not. It is important that it fits. Just a basic simple rule of life.

In similar ways, when it comes to how we serve God and how we minister to others, we will be most effective in doing that when what we are doing fits with the way that God has designed us to serve, divinely designed us.

The series that we began last week—and if you weren’t here, I would encourage you to get that message or watch that message—but we have entitled this series, “Divinely Designed to Serve” and it is an exciting thing to me. I am really, really excited to be able to share this series with you. I pray that it is also encouraging to you as we do that.

Now, just a little reminder…we based our message last time around Ephesians, chapter 2, verse 10, where it says that we are His workmanship; we are His handiwork; we are His masterpiece. Notice, we have been created in Christ Jesus for good works. We have been divinely designed to serve Him. God has pre-planned a ministry for you to do and for me to do, for all of us to do.

So, the question is, how did He shape us for serving? We are using this acrostic S.H.A.P.E. (s-h-a-p-e) and each one of those letters stands for something. We began last time by looking at the idea of spiritual gifts, which we stated is a lost treasure in Christianity at large. Last week we gave a definition of a spiritual gift. We said a spiritual gift is a special Spirit-given ability to serve Christ and to serve others.

Last time we looked at two key foundational facts related to gifts. Key Fact Number One is that God has given every believer a spiritual gift. I think actually, gifts, some of us have some primary gifts and some secondary gifts. Key Fact Number Two we saw last time is that you are indispensable, without you the body of Christ is spiritually hampered. That pretty much summarizes what we looked at last time.

What is the plan for today? Well, we are going to be looking at four different things today.

We are going to look at The 3 “V’s” of Gifts.

Then, we are going to look at some Gift Descriptions.

Then, we are going to look at 3 Fascinating Facets about spiritual gifts.

Then, fourth, we are going to share with you some Insights on how you can be identifying the spiritual gifts that God has given to you.

So, we are going to look, first, at the 3 “V’s” of gifts. In order to do that I want to read verses 4-6 from 1 Corinthians, chapter 12. So, if you are there in 1 Corinthians 12, you can follow along as I read, beginning with verse 4 down through verse 6. This is one of those chapters and the whole subject matter is spiritual gifts. Paul writes in verse 4, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. (Verse 5) And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. (Verse 6) There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.”

What we are learning here is that there is variety in this area of serving Christ. We are going to see three different things. First there is a Variety of Gifts. He talked about that in verse 4. We all can have different gifts, differing gifts, but each one of us plays an important part in the body of Christ. Each one of us—every one of us—has value when it comes to serving Jesus.

The second thing, verse 5, there is a Variety of Ministries. What does he mean by that? Well, let’s just take an example. A commonly acknowledged gift might be the gift of teaching. So, you can have someone who has the gift of teaching, and there can be varying ministries that they may have. For example, someone with the gift of teaching might teach a children’s class. Or someone with the gift of teaching might teach a small group. Someone with the gift of teaching might be a pastor who on Sunday morning speaks from the pulpit in the worship service. Someone with the gift of teaching might be a professor, or one who teaches at a Christian school.

See, there are a Variety of Gifts, but there is also a Variety of Ministries with those gifts. For example, you could also take the gift of evangelism. Someone might have the gift of evangelism, they might be like a Billy Graham, who is maybe the most famous evangelist in recent history. Billy Graham’s ministry was primarily a ministry in an arena, and he spoke to audiences of all ages. It’s one variety of ministry of the gift of evangelism.

Another example of that would be my friend, Dean Hatfield, who is now with the Lord. He discipled me quite a bit and he had the gift of evangelism. I’ve never seen anything like it. But it was a different kind of ministry than the ministry that Billy Graham had. His ministry was more one-on-one and his ministry was more with college students.

So, there is a Variety of Gifts, there is a Variety of Ministries and then, also thirdly, there is a Variety of Effects of those gifts and ministries. There are differing spheres of spiritual influence that people have.

One way to illustrate this would be to just look at the Apostle Paul. What was his sphere of spiritual influence? Wow! I mean, his ministry touched the entire Roman Empire and then—if you projected beyond that through the centuries—Paul’s ministry has touched the whole world. That is a variety of effect of ministry.

I’m just kind of using myself, here. Let’s just shrink it down quite a bit and look at Bruce Hess. I mean, my ministry has had an influence in a town of about 128,000 people in Norman, Oklahoma. But not all 128,000, of course. I’ve also had some ministry effect in the nation of Latvia. But there are a variety of effects, you see, that happen.

Some of you might be in a small group ministry. Some of you might be in a Sunday school class ministry. Some people might be ministering to a far larger group of people. See, there are a variety of effects and sphere of influence in ministry.

Now, why is that important to acknowledge all these things? Well, here is what I think. I think the three “V’s” of the gifts assist us in abstaining from what we could call “the comparison syndrome.” You know what I’m talking about? That is where we look around and we compare ourself to someone else who maybe has a different gift, or a different ministry, or a different effect of ministry. Then suddenly we think, Whoa, I’m not as cool as they are. Or, I might think, Man, I’m so much better than they are. What’s their problem?

I’ll just illustrate around myself again. For example, we have in our culture Pastors John McArthur and Charles Swindoll and both of them have written more than a hundred books and commentaries. How many have I written? Well, I’ve written two, both are in Latvian. So, if you get into this comparison thing, you can say, I guess I’m pretty much a failure. I mean, I haven’t written hundreds of books and commentaries. See, this is why the 3 “V’s” of the gifts will assist us in abstaining from the comparison syndrome. And we can all be guilty of that. We can be saying: their group is bigger than my group; their class is bigger than my class;  or my group is better than their group, much bigger. I must be much better. Or, someone might say, Well, you know, they work with twenty-five people, I only work with five. Again, the 3 “V’s” can help us abstain from the comparison syndrome.

I do want you to notice what he says there in verses 4-6. Notice he says, “We have a variety of gifts, but it is the same Spirit who gives the gifts. We have a variety of ministries, but it is the same Lord that we are serving. There are a variety of effects, but the same God who is working in all of them.” We don’t need to get hung up in all of that comparison at all. Here is the key: what we need to do is, we need to serve Him. We need to do the works that He has pre-planned for us to do. That is where our focus needs to be.

So, we said we were going to do four different things today. The first thing was we’re looking at these 3 “V’s” of Gifts. The second thing we want to do is look at some Gift Descriptions. Now, when you look at the major passages, the four major chapters in the New Testament on spiritual gifts…anybody remember what they are? Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4.

You look at them and they break down into three categories of spiritual gifts. For example, one category would be Speaking Gifts. An illustration might be the gift of teaching or the gift of evangelism, those are speaking gifts. Another category of gifts we would call Serving Gifts. An illustration might be helpful deeds, that’s a serving gift. Leadership, serving other people by leading, is a serving gift. Then, a third category you have is what we could call the Signifying Gifts or the sign gifts. Some illustrations of those might be the gift of healing and the gift of miracles.

When you look at these three different categories of gifts, what you will find is that in the evangelical community at large there are a lot of different opinions. There are a lot of different perspectives. There are a lot of contrasting views of things. Some people would say this for example: they would say regarding the Signifying Gifts, they would say those gifts are still active today; we should expect those sign gifts to be completely normal today. Others would say, No I don’t really think so. I think the signifying gifts were foundational gifts; they were tied back to the apostles. We should not expect them to be normative today.

Some people would come along, and they would say, regarding the gift of prophecy:  we think that the gift of prophecy was a foundational gift, it related to the assembling of the canon of Scripture. Other people would say, No, no, no. The gift of prophecy—the closest thing to that today would be preaching. When someone’s preaching, they are exercising the gift of prophecy. Other people would say,No, no, no.  I think the gift of prophecy is some sort of inner leading; some sort of inner insight that God gives to us about other people and situations.

Some people would say they expect every believer to speak in tongues. That’s what every believer should expect. Others come along and they disagree with a totally different perspective. They would say, No, Paul was very, very clear in 1 Corinthians, chapter 12, verse 30, when he said, “…All do not speak with tongues.” They would say that even in the New Testament times all believers did not speak with tongues.

So, we have these differing perspectives; these contrasts of views. Here is the way I approach this–rather than getting sidetracked in all of that, rather than getting bogged down and working through all those disagreements and all those controversies, what I want to do is focus on consensus. I want to focus on the virtual agreement that people have about gifts. I want to talk about what I call “The Nine Consensus Gifts.” That is what we want to examine, the Nine Consensus Gifts.

Let’s look at these nine gifts that pretty much everybody would agree are spiritual gifts that the New Testament discusses. So, here is the first one, the Gift of Leadership. You will notice we have Romans 12:8 and 1 Corinthians 12:28 listed. There are actually two terms in those verses that point to the gift of leadership.

In Romans 12:8 it talks about someone who leads. Literally, in the original, it is someone who stands before others. It was used of a leader of an army or a leader of a group.

In 1 Corinthians 12:28 it talks about administration or those who are administrating. That word comes from a word that was used of a steersman or a helmsman of a ship.

So, you see the idea of leadership expressed two different ways. Someone who stands before others, or someone who is the steersman and the helmsman of the ship.

By the way, you don’t have to worry about all these details. We are going to have available for you a definition list of the nine consensus gifts and some of those definitions are even more detailed than what I am going to share today.

But this is what the Gift of Leadership is:  it is the God-given capacity to coordinate, organize and lead with efficiency. People with the Gift of Leadership are able to give vision and direction and mobilize others in such a way that others are delighted with their leadership. Those with this gift view leading as a way of serving others.

So, that’s the first of the nine. The second of the nine is the Gift of Helpful Deeds. Again, we have Romans 12:7 and 1 Corinthians 12:28 mentioned there. In 1 Corinthians 12:28, it talks about the gift of helps or the gift of helping. The idea behind that word is the idea of support. Then, in Romans 12:7 it talks about one who serves.

What is the Gift of Helpful Deeds? Well, it is the special ability (notice how all of these are special abilities) to serve others by doing tangible, practical tasks. Those with this gift readily perceive practical, everyday ministry tasks that need to be done. Notice they delight, they delight in assisting others so they can be more (the other people) more successful in accomplishing their ministry. We could not do Sunday without the gift of helpful deeds functioning. We couldn’t do this, because we need people who are working and helping and assisting in key ways.

Another gift would be the Gift of Evangelism, Ephesians 4:11 mentions that. What is that? You will notice again; it is a special ability and drive to effectively present the gospel clearly. Those with this gift carry a regular burden for those who don’t know Jesus and look for opportunities to build a bridge to unbelievers. Here is what is interesting about this gift:  they also enjoy equipping other believers in reaching out to a lost world.

The fourth gift in the nine consensus gifts is the Gift of Encouragement. Again, we have Romans, chapter 12, and verse 8. What is that gift? Well, it is the special ability to come alongside believers in order to motivate and assist them in spiritual progress, or to encourage and comfort those who are discouraged and downhearted.

A person with that gift is a person whom others seek for counsel, guidance, and help in decision making, the gift of encouragement. Now, who in the New Testament, in the book of Acts, is the classic illustration of someone with the gift of encouragement? Barnabas, exactly! In fact, his nickname was the son of encouragement (his given name was Joseph Acts 4:36). He utilized his gift to encourage other people. What is interesting about Barnabas is he did not write one sentence of Scripture. But he employed his gift of encouragement to minister to the Apostle Paul and he employed his gift of encouragement to minister to John Mark. You take Paul and John Mark and together they wrote fourteen of the twenty-seven New Testament books. This is an important gift.

The fifth gift is the Gift of Faith. This comes from 1 Corinthians 12:9. What is the gift of faith? Well, it is the special ability to trust God to meet a specific need that looks impractical or impossible to others.

Those with this gift have a strong confidence that God will work consistent with His promises. This is a person who inspires others to trust God more fully. Some of you might say:  I’ve never really heard much about that gift. Well, it is a gift.

My first exposure to that gift came when I was in seminary and my friend Bob Salstrom was the one who demonstrated to me in multiple ways that he had the gift of faith. He was the Director of Alumni and Church Relations at Dallas Seminary at the time.

One particular day—he told me this whole story himself—he said he was leaving to go and speak out of state. As he was leaving the campus, they had some beautiful big trees there, he noticed that the groundskeepers were cutting them down. That’s always a shame to see a big tree being cut down. So he went over to the groundskeeper and says, What’s going on? He replied, these are diseased trees, we have to bring them down. He went one to say, It’s really sad, it’s really bad when you lose the big trees like this on campus.

Bob said to the groundskeeper, How much would it cost to replace these trees that you’re having to cut down? He thought about it for a moment, and he said, $15,000. Bob said to him: God is going to provide. So, Bob gets on a plane, he goes off out of state to speak. After his speaking engagement that he had one evening, a man came up to him and said, God has just been encouraging me to give a donation to the seminary to use however God wants to have it used. So, he handed Bob a check and you know what the amount of the check was? $15,000!!

That doesn’t sound overly impressive to us because this actually happened a number of years ago. I just took an inflation calculator and figured out what that gift would be worth in today’s dollars. It would be more like $75,000 to $100,000. So, think about that. Bob said, ‘God is going to provide’ and in today’s dollars, someone just walked up with the exact amount, and it would have been like $75,000 in today’s dollars. The gift of faith. You know, the greatest example that I know of in church history of someone with the gift of faith would have been George Mueller. You can read about him. He, indeed, had the gift of faith.

Another gift is the Gift of Giving, Romans, chapter 12, and verse 8. What does this mean? Well, it is the special ability to give money eagerly, generously, and sacrificially to God’s work or to God’s people with such wisdom and cheerfulness that other people are blessed.

Notice this, it is not necessarily equated with wealth. Someone can have the gift of giving and not necessarily have a lot of money. But they are willing to limit their lifestyle in order to invest as much as possible. I just told you the story of Bob  Salstrom where the guy walks up to him and gives this gift. I am sure that guy had the gift of giving. He had the gift of giving and he handed him that check for $15,000.

The seventh gift in the nine consensus gifts is the Gift of Mercy, Romans, chapter 12, and verse 8. What is the Gift of Mercy? Well, it is, again, the special ability to render acts of compassionate aid to those who are hurting or in distress. Someone with this gift, they have a strong sensitivity to perceive the hurts of people, especially those who are often overlooked and considered unlovely or struggling to help themselves. The Gift of Mercy.

Number eight would be the Gift of Teaching, mentioned in Romans 12:7, 1 Corinthians 12:28, and Ephesians 4:11. What does that mean? What is the gift of teaching? Well, it is the special ability to study the word and clearly communicate its content so that others may learn, understand, and respond to God’s truth. They have, those who have this gift, a keen interest in studying and applying Scripture in such a way that others experience life change and grow more Christ-like. Now, any guess as to what my strongest spiritual gift would be? If you don’t know me, this (teaching) is my strongest spiritual gift.

But it’s not my only one. Another primary gift I have is the Gift of Shepherding, which is the ninth gift. Ephesians, chapter 4, verse 11, talks about that. What is the Gift of Shepherding? It is the special ability to have ongoing responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers. People with the gift of shepherding oversee others in a way that guides, cares for, protects, and nurtures them toward spiritual maturity. Those with the gift of shepherding are willing to give of themselves to see others grow in Christlikeness.

Now this gift is very important, and this gift of shepherding is needed throughout, throughout the body of Christ. We need people who will shepherd children. We need people who will shepherd students. We need people who will shepherd college students. We need people who will shepherd small groups. And you could go on and on. The gift of shepherding is so very important.

Here is the idea: there are different gifts and different ministries and different effects, but each gift makes a unique contribution to how God wants us to serve one another.

Just to illustrate this for a moment I want to read to you a little story. It is about John and Mary who are having a dinner party at their house, twenty guests over. Dinner was over and Mary went out into the kitchen to prepare the dessert. She made up this tray, it was filled up with little dishes of ice cream with all these toppings and whipped cream on them, but before she could get to the dining room table, she trips and, BOOM goes all the desserts on the floor. Now, how would the differing spiritual gifts maybe respond to that situation?

Well, someone with the gift of helpful deeds would probably say, Mary, let me help you. And they would get up from the table and start moving chairs out of the way and cleaning things up.

The one with the gift of leadership would likely say, let’s all clean up. Bill, you pick up the glass. Bruce, you get a mop. Ellen, maybe you can get some rags. We can get this done.

The one with the gift of teaching might say, this is not an accident. God is sovereign. We need to remember that all things work together for good!

The one with the gift of evangelism might say, our reaction to this can be an incredible testimony to others about how real the life of Christ is in us.

The one with the gift of shepherding would probably say, it is good that we are all experiencing this together. We can all grow from this particular incident.

The one with the gift of encouragement would probably say something like this: Mary, it’s okay. We’ve all done that, it’s no big deal. We didn’t really need dessert anyway.

The one with the gift of mercy would probably say this: Mary, are you hurt? Do you need a hug right now?

The one with the gift of faith would probably say, God has something better for us than even this great dessert that you had prepared.

Then, the one with the gift of giving would likely say, hey, I think I am going to take all of us out for dessert!

See, how the different gifts respond to different situations? So, remember, we are looking at the 3“V’s.” We’ve looked at Gift Descriptions. The third thing we want to do, out of four things, is want to look at 3 Fascinating Facets about spiritual gifts. These things are really, really interesting to me. I hope you find them interesting to you.

Three fascinating facets. Here is the first one, the very first one that we see, as believers, I don’t know if you were picking up on this when we were looking at the definitions, but, as believers, we are all called to do all these things that are represented by the nine consensus gifts.

Leadership—we are all called to lead. Husbands are called to lead their marriage. Parents are called to lead their children. Those who are older are called to lead the younger.

Helpful deeds—Galatians 5:13, we are to serve one another.

Evangelism—Acts 1:8, he said you shall all be my witnesses, right?

Encouragement—1 Thessalonians 5:11, we are to encourage one another.

The Gift of Faith—Romans 1:17, the just shall live by, what? By faith.

The Gift of Giving—1 Corinthians 16:2, Paul says, I want each one of you in the church to set aside from your funds something so you can give on a regular basis.

Then, the Gift of Mercy—Luke 6:36, be merciful as your Father is merciful.

The Gift of Teaching—same thing, we are all called to do this. The author to the Hebrews confronts the Hebrew believers in chapter 5 and verse 12 and he says to them, by now you ought to be teachers and you’re still spiritual babies. Colossians 3:16, we are called to teach one another.

Then, Shepherding—1 Corinthians 12:25, we are to care for one another. Galatians 6:1, we are to restore one another. 1 Thessalonians 5:14, it says, to the believing community, “Admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” Shepherd one another.

As believers, we are all called to do these things.

I remind you again of the definition of a spiritual gift. It is a special Spirit-given ability to serve Christ and others. So, if we are all called to do all these things, why does He hand out a special Spirit-given ability to some?

Which leads us to fascinating facet number two. This is really cool stuff. All the gifts are designed to be models for other believers. All the gifts are designed to be prototypes. All the gifts are designed to be living illustrations to inspire other people ministry.

You want to get better at leadership? Watch people who have the gift of leadership.       

You want to get better at evangelism? Watch someone who has the gift of evangelism and learn from them.

You want to get better at being merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful? Watch people who have the gift of mercy.

You want to get better at shepherding people? You watch someone who has the gift of shepherding.

You see, all these gifts are designed to be models for other people. It is so important. You miss a big part of spiritual gifts if you miss this. See, that is why there is value in every spiritual gift from another angle.

Now, fascinating facet number three is this: awareness of need is a central component of a gift. Awareness of need is a central component of a gift. Because my strongest gift is a gift of teaching, I’m often noticing needs about the area of the gift of teaching. I might hear about a prominent new teaching that is out there and I’m going, Whoa, wait a minute, that doesn’t square up with Scripture. We need to talk about that. Or maybe I see an area of teaching that just isn’t being covered, even in the church, and I’m going, Why aren’t we talking about that? You see, this is because awareness of need is a central component of a gift.

Over the years I’ve had to minister—over four decades—to a lot of hurting people, a lot of people in crisis, a lot of people amid hardship. But what is interesting though is, the gift of mercy is not one of my primary gifts. I remember a time when a particular individual came to me to admonish me. They were very exasperated with me because they were thinking about two different life situations and they came to me out of frustration. And they said, Can’t you see they are hurting? Can’t you see that they are struggling? As they are talking to me, I had a couple of different responses. I mean, part of it was like, you are right, I missed it, I didn’t see it. Part of my response was a little bit of guilt over that. Another part of the response, to be honest with you, was a little bit of irritation and resentment that they are admonishing me.

As I reflected back on that later, it was like a little light went on. That person has the gift of mercy. I began to look at that person a little bit differently because, you see, awareness of need is a central component of a gift. And rather than being irritated with that person, you know what I said?  I’m going to start watching them. I’m going to observe them; I want to learn from them; I want to grow from their gift. This is a revolutionary perspective about spiritual gifts, very seldom ever talked about.

So, we are again doing multiple things today. We’ve looked at the 3 “V’s,” we’ve looked at some Gift Descriptions, we’ve looked at the 3 Fascinating Facets, those are very important. We want to end with some Insights on Identifying your Spiritual Gifts. Alright? This is the practical part where we begin to apply this a little bit.

We are going to look at several things. First of all, Be Informed. The very fact that you are here today is a big step in that direction because you are learning about spiritual gifts. Remember that awareness of need is a key indicator. Here is what oftentimes happens in the church—because we as leaders get to hear about some of this—you have people go around and say, There’s need over there, there’s need over here, there’s need over there, I see this need over here. Then, they simply want the leaders to do something about it.

What I want to say is, awareness of need is a key indicator of a gift. A lot of times when we go around and we see this need, and we see that need, and we see this need, it is just almost like the Holy Spirit is saying: You know what? You are probably seeing those needs because it ties in with your spiritual gift. Awareness of need is a key indicator of a gift.

So, Be Informed. Listen to feedback. Listen to your husband. Listen to your wife. Listen to your friends. Listen to the people in your small group. What are they saying? What are they affirming in your life?

The second insight is to Be  Active, be active. You know, a baby learns through activity. Even myself, I developed some of my spiritual gifts by simple activity and learning and developing. We want you to Be Active. Try several different ministry areas. Try them out and see how they go. If you need to get active, one way you could get active today would be to go to our Children’s Ministry table out in the Gathering Hall and there’s multiple ministry opportunities to lead, to lead the next generation. We are looking for people to lead at various levels.

So, maybe for you, if you’ve been inactive, that’s what you do. You walk out there and get active by volunteering in that way.

The third thing I would say, by way of insight to identifying gifts, is to Become an Encourager of Others. We need to do this. Sometimes we come to church, and it is just amazing how we’re self-focused completely. Have you ever had that problem? I struggle with that. What if we turned it around a little bit and say: When I come together with the body of Christ, what I want to do is, I want to affirm some people. I want to encourage some people. I want to say, you know, I see that God has gifted you in this way or you are effective for Christ when you do such and such. Be an Encourager of Others.

Then, the fourth way to help identify gifts is to take what we’ve developed, called the Spiritual Gift Indicator Profile. This is not inspired, but it is helpful. You can take that; we have hard copies of those out in the Welcome Center. You can pick one of those up if you are a hard copy person or you can go to our website wildwoodchurch.org/serve and you can download the PDF. It also has a copy of the Nine Consensus Gifts, and it has clear instructions about how you calculate after you’ve taken that profile and work your way through it. We are so committed to this. Many of you know our messages go out to Latvia, we are going to make all that information available to our Latvian friends, make sure that it is translated so that they can learn too about how to be more effective in the divine design that God has given to them.

Let’s pray together. Father, we thank You so much for Your Word. We thank You for the truth of Your Word. We thank You for the opportunity that we have to learn. We thank You for the divine design that You have given to us, for us to understand the shape that you have brought in our life so that we can serve Christ and serve other people. We pray for each one of us that we might be more effective than we’ve ever been in serving You and serving the Lord Jesus, because we want to honor Him; we want to give glory to Him; we want to fulfill our divine design for His honor and for His glory. We pray these things in His name. Amen.

Questions for Reflection

Divinely Designed to Serve

Spiritual Gifts (Part two)

1. Think of a time when something you got or bought didn’t fit what you needed it for, OR a time when you discovered something you had that no longer fit. Share a little about it.

In a sense, we want our key ministry/serving activities to “fit” with the way God designed us to serve.

2. Bruce talked about the “3 V’s of Gifts” from 1 Corinthians 12:4-6.  He mentioned how the “3 V’s” assist us in abstaining from the comparison syndrome.  Why is that true?

3. Bruce talked about the 9 Consensus Spiritual Gifts. Which among those nine was a newer idea for you?  Did you readily identify with one or more of those nine?

4. Bruce mentioned 3 Fascinating Facets about gifts.  Can you recall what those were?

What do you think about the idea that all the nine spiritual gifts are designed to be models or prototypes to inspire other believers?

5. How do you sense that the Holy Spirit may be encouraging you to be more active in ministry?

6. Who could you encourage this week as you’ve observed them be effective in ministering to and serving others?

7. When you take the Spiritual Gift Indicator profile, discuss the results with at least one other person.

8. Take time to praise God for divinely designing you to serve Him and others.

SPIRITUAL GIFT INDICATOR

FOR THE 9 CONSENSUS GIFTS

Spiritual Gifts Indicator –– Instructions

  • Don’t overthink or over analyze.  Simply record your first impression.  Be as honest as possible.  Don’t answer by who you think you ought to be but rather by who you are.
  • Aim to mark your response as 5 or 4…OR…1 or 2.  Seek to greatly limit the #3 response of “sometimes true.”
  • Put the number of your response in the appropriate blank by the statements which begin on page two. Complete all the responses.  Have Fun!!
  •  Instructions on scoring are provided after you have completed the Indicator.
  • Answer scale for each statement is below:

5 – almost always true               4 – often true     3 – sometimes true     2 – seldom true     1 – almost never true

_____  1.  I look forward to counseling others and helping them deal with their problems.

_____  2. I truly enjoy building relationships and spending time with non-Christians.

_____  3.  I love to give financial and material resources without the recipient knowing who gave.

_____  4.  I am drawn to opportunities where I can give effective direction to others.

_____  5.  When someone asks me to do a job, I get excited even if the job isn’t highly visible to others.

_____  6.  Responsibilities where I can assume the spiritual oversight of a group of people draw my attention.

_____  7.  When I strongly sense God wants to accomplish great things in a group, I am often the one who

    encourages people to not be cautious and to step out in faith.


_____  8.  When others tell me their problems, I deeply feel their hurt.

_____  9.  When I discover Bible truths, I am able to make practical applications of them to life situations.

_____  10.  People freely call on me for counsel when they are discouraged or confused.

_____  11.  Telling others how I came to trust in Christ as Savior is a regular part of my lifestyle.

_____  12.  I sacrifice materially in order for more of my resources to go to Christian causes.

_____  13.  People tell me that I am effective at organizing people and events.

_____  14.  Coming alongside individuals and supporting them in their ministries gives me delight.

_____  15.  Believers who stray from the faith deeply concern me and I actively seek to bring them back.

_____  16. I regularly attempt to motivate others to trust God in difficult or impossible situations.

_____  17.  I tend to have deep-felt compassion for those who are rejected by others.

_____  18.  I get excited when studying the Bible, investigating the meaning of a text, and exploring the meaning of individual words and phrases.

_____  19.  I enjoy challenging people one-on-one to become all that God wants them to be.

_____  20.  I’m truly energized after sharing Christ with a non-Christian.

_____  21.  When an evangelistic or missions opportunity is presented, I get excited about providing financial assistance for the project.

_____  22.  My automatic tendency when I see an unorganized situation is to jump in and take the lead.

_____  23.  I like to volunteer for tasks that might be routine, but which can enable others to be more

                    Effective  in their ministry.

_____  24.  Nurturing a small group in Christian discipleship is a responsibility I would enjoy.

_____  25.  Other believers tell me that I have an unusual ability to trust God in difficult situations.

_____  26.  I feel an intense desire to find ways to relieve those who are suffering.

_____  27.  Other believers often seek me out for my understanding of Biblical passages.

_____  28.  I deeply care about and lift up others’ prayer needs hoping to see their spiritual walk

                     strengthened.

_____  29.  I have a strong personal desire to go and share the gospel with people of other cultures.

_____  30.  I truly delight in giving cheerfully and liberally in support of the Lord’s work.

_____  31.  I would relish giving oversight to an area of church ministry.

_____  32.  If I know others are being helped, I enjoy doing things behind the scenes.

_____  33.  I enjoy assisting others to grow spiritually by helping them to understand and live out biblical truths.

_____  34.  I am convinced that God will accomplish His purpose, even when situations seem hopeless.

_____  35.  When I hear about persons who are lonely or neglected by most of the society, I want to lay

       aside what I am doing to care for and support them.

_____  36.  I feel a keen sense of responsibility to teach God’s truth to others.

_____  37.  I am glad when people who need comfort and encouragement seek out my help.

_____  38.  I thrive when telling unbelievers about Christ’s love for them.

_____  39.  I manage my money very carefully to free more of it for giving.

_____  40.  I am usually quick to sense when a group I am a part of is “spinning its wheels,” and I want to do

       something about it.

_____  41.  Helping others is something I have a strong inner drive to do.

_____  42.  I am eager to meet regularly with a group of new Christians to help them grow in their faith.

_____  43.  I have had the experience of having firm confidence in God’s will in a specific situation even

                  when concrete evidence was missing.

_____  44.  I get excited about the opportunity to offer hope and ministry to people in hospitals, nursing homes, and prisons.

_____  45.  I relish studying the Bible in order to share its truths with others.

_____  46.  I would be willing to spend some time each week in a counseling ministry.

_____  47.  I delight in helping other believers share their faith more effectively and frequently.

_____  48.  I love to help people and the Lord’s work through generous and timely financial help.

_____  49.  I greatly enjoy organizing people, tasks, and events.

_____  50.  I find it rewarding to take on responsibilities for others so they are free to concentrate on other

     aspects of ministry.

_____  51.  I want to protect weak or immature Christians from influences which would hinder their spiritual  

development.

_____  52.  In specific cases I’ve sensed God has given me assurance that He would do what seemed unlikely.

_____  53.  When others suffer deep anguish, I am quick to console and assist them.

_____  54.  I enjoy uncovering key biblical principles and organizing them for better understanding.

_____  55.  I give hope to others by directing them to the promises of God.

_____  56.  I have been instrumental in leading others to believe in Christ as their Rescuer.

_____  57.  I find myself giving to the Lord’s work without wrestling with the issue of whether I can

      afford it right now.

_____  58.  I get excited about helping organizations or groups become more effective.

_____  59.  I would rather help people behind the scenes than minister in a more public way.

_____  60.  I am care about people growing spiritually and am willing to be personally involved in nurturing

and discipling others.

_____  61.  God seems to use me often to encourage others to trust Him despite circumstances.

_____  62.  I am sensitive to suffering, troubled, and discouraged people, and want to help them see God’s

       answers to life’s problems.

_____  63.  People compliment me on making difficult subjects easier to understand.

_____  64.  Those who have sought my advice tell me that I have helped them with their spiritual problems.

_____  65.  I have a deep burden for friends, neighbors, classmates, and coworkers who do not know Christ.

_____  66.  I get excited when I can give money sacrificially to the Lord’s work.

_____  67.  Planning and leading others comes easily for me.

_____  68.  Performing practical duties to free other believers for their ministries gives me great

       satisfaction.

_____  69.  The Lord has used me to watch over and nurture other believers toward spiritual maturity.

_____  70.  I don’t waver in believing that God will keep His promises.

_____  71.  I often sense when people are hurting in some way.

_____  72.  I believe that people can grow to spiritual maturity through the counsel and instruction from

        the Word.

_____  73.  I like to help and strengthen those who are wavering in their faith.

_____  74.  I consistently look for opportunities to build relationships with non-Christians.

_____  75.  I enjoy letting people use my belongings, borrow my car, home etc. without it bothering me.

_____  76.  I find satisfaction in being the person to organize a project or orchestrate a meeting.

_____  77.  I feel comfortable being a helper, assisting others to do their job more effectively.

_____  78.  I thrive on spending time spiritually nurturing and caring for others.

_____  79.  At times I have strong, personal assurances that God will accomplish things others tend to doubt.

_____  80.  I often look beyond a person’s handicaps or problems and see a life that matters to God.

_____  81.  I can easily spend time studying the Bible knowing that presenting Truth will make a difference in

                   the lives of  people.

_____  82.  People express to me how much I have encouraged them in their time of need.

_____  83.  I openly and confidently tell others what Christ has done for me.

_____  84.  I feel compelled to limit my lifestyle in order to give away a higher percentage of my income.

_____  85.  If I had the opportunity, I would enjoy leading and motivating others in some aspect of the Lord’s work.

_____  86.  I am often on the look-out for jobs to do that assist others in their ministry.

_____  87.  I have a strong desire to help those who have drifted in their Christian faith.

_____  88.  I have visualized great things for the future of God’s work and then have seen them

                    accomplished.

_____  89.  I feel a lot of compassion for those who are suffering and often think of ways to help them.

_____  90.  When I explain difficult biblical passages, people often say they understand them better.

_____  91.  I like to help people have greater faith in God and to trust Him for the solution to their problem.

_____  92.  I get motivated when thinking about mobilizing others to build effective bridges to unbelievers.

_____  93.  How a “people need” or ministry project can be adequately financed is of great interest to me.

_____  94. Whenever I am in a group, the other group members tend to look to me to take charge.

_____  95.  I enjoy doing cleaning, maintenance, repair, or kitchen work around the church facilities.

_____  96.  My greatest joy comes from investing my life in the spiritual growth of a group of Christians.

_____  97.  I delight in trusting God to work in everyday situations in a special or unusual way.

_____  98.  I readily notice and deeply feel the emotional hurts of others.

_____  99.  I delight in explaining the Scriptures to people so that they can grow spiritually and personally.

1. Fill in your answer scores (5-4-3-2-1) for each numbered statement from the Indicator Test.

2. Next add up the scores in EACH VERTICAL column and place the totaled number at the bottom of the

    column just above the corresponding Gift number.

3. Then transfer your 3-5 highest scores to the next page.

1. ______2. ______3. ______4. ______5. ______6. ______7.______8. ______9. ______
10. _____11. _____12. _____13. _____14. _____15. _____16. _____17. _____18. _____
19. _____20. _____21. _____22. _____23. _____24. _____25. _____26. _____27. _____
28. _____29. _____30. _____31. _____32. _____33. _____34. _____35. _____36. _____
37. _____38. _____39. _____40. _____41. _____42. _____43. _____44. _____45. _____
46. _____47. _____48. _____49. ____50. _____51. _____52. _____53. _____54 ______
55. _____56. _____57. _____58. _____59. _____60. _____61. _____62. _____63. _____
64. _____65. _____66. _____67. _____68. _____69. _____70. _____71. _____72. _____
73. _____74. _____75. _____76. _____77. _____78. _____79. _____80. _____81. _____
82. _____83. _____84. _____85. _____86. _____87. _____88. _____89. _____90. _____
91. _____92. _____93. _____94. _____95. _____96. _____97. _____98. _____99. _____
         
   Gift 1   Gift 2   Gift 3   Gift 4   Gift 5   Gift 6   Gift 7   Gift 8   Gift 9
         
         
         

Remember, add the scores for each vertical column, then transfer your 3-5 highest scores to the next page

beginning with the highest score first

          1. Cross reference the Gift Number with the corresponding Gift Identity.

            Gift 1 = Encouragement ______                                 Gift 6 = Shepherding  ______

            Gift 2 = Evangelism        ______                                 Gift 7 = Faith             ______

            Gift 3 = Giving                ______                                 Gift 8 = Mercy            ______

            Gift 4 = Leadership         ______                                 Gift 9 = Teaching       ______

            Gift 5 = Helpful Deeds    ______

          2. In the Indicator Summary blanks down below, write in your specific Gift Identities

              (starting with the highest score first and so forth).  

              The highest scores indicate your primary gifts. You likely have several primary gifts

              and even some secondary gifts.

             Spiritual Gifts Indicator Summary:

My indicated gifts are: 

1.  ________________________                       (Primary Gifts)

2.  ________________________

3.  ________________________

4.  ________________________                       (Secondary Gifts)

5.  ________________________

A DESCRIPTION OF THE 9 CONSENSUS GIFTS

  1. Leadership (Rom. 12:8; 1 Cor. 12:28) – This is the God-given capacity to coordinate, organize, and lead with efficiency.  This person is able to see the overall picture, take responsibility, and clarify long-range goals.  They are able to give vision, set direction, and mobilize others in such a way that others are delighted with their leadership.  Those with this gift view leading as a way of serving others.
  1. Helpful Deeds (Rom. 12:7; 1 Cor. 12:28) – This is the special ability to serve others by doing tangible, practical tasks in a variety of ways.  Those with this gift sense God’s pleasure as they use their time and energy to meet concrete needs.  They readily perceive practical everyday ministry tasks that need to be done, and delight in assisting others so they can be more successful in accomplishing their ministry.  They will often tackle behind the scenes ministry tasks, not out of a sense of duty, but out of a sense of ministry to God and others.
  1. Evangelism (Eph. 4:11) – This is the special ability and drive to effectively present the gospel clearly to non-Christians, out of deep concern for them, and to lead them to faith in Jesus Christ.  Those with this gift carry a regular burden for those who don’t know Jesus, and look for opportunities to build a bridge to unbelievers.  They also enjoy engaging and equipping other believers in reaching out to a lost world.
  1. Encouragement (Rom. 12:8) – This is the special ability to come alongside believers in order to motivate and assist them in specific spiritual progress, or to encourage and comfort those who are discouraged and downhearted.   Those with this gift love to help strengthen others toward reaching their full potential.  This is a person whom others seek for counsel, guidance, and help in decision-making.
  1. Faith (1 Cor. 12:9) – This is the special ability to trust God to meet a specific need that looks impractical or impossible to others.  Those with this gift will readily trust in the power of God to provide for concrete needs.  They have strong confidence that God will work consistent with His promises.  This is a person of unusual vision and capacity to believe God who usually inspires others to trust God more fully and frequently.
  1. Giving (Rom. 12:8) – This is the special ability to eagerly, generously, and sacrificially give money to God’s work or God’s people with such wisdom and cheerfulness that others are encouraged and blessed.  It is not equated with wealth.  Those with this gift are very willing to limit their lifestyle in order to invest as much of their resources in the Kingdom as possible.  This person readily meets needs without prodding or pressure.
  1. Mercy (Rom. 12:8) – This is the special ability to render cheerful acts of compassionate aid to those who are hurting and in distress.  Those with this gift have a strong sensitivity and ability to perceive the hurts of people, especially those caught up in life’s problems or in personal crisis and hardship.  They can have a strong sense of compassion for those who are often overlooked, considered “unlovely,” or struggling to help themselves.  Those with the gift of mercy gain great satisfaction when seeing Jesus’ love and grace bring physical, emotional, spiritual healing to a hurting individual.
  1. Teaching (Rom. 12:7; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph 4:11) – This is the special ability to study the Word and to clearly communicate its content so that others may learn, understand, and respond to God’s truth.  Those with this gift have a keen interest in studying, illustrating and applying scripture in a way that others experience life change and grow to be more Christ-like.  This person delights in researching and organizing truth to present it to others.
  1. Shepherding (Eph 4:11) – This is the special ability to have ongoing responsibility for the spiritual welfare and development of a group of believers.  Those with this gift gain satisfaction from overseeing the spiritual lives of others in a way that guides, cares for, protects and nurtures them toward spiritual maturity.  They have keen insight into the spiritual needs of others and an ever ready willingness to give of themselves to see a group of believers grow in effectiveness and Christ likeness.

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