DISCOVERING MY TALENTS AND SPIRITUAL GIFTS
The Shepherding & Assimilation Committee
Immanuel Lutheran Church
115 South Sixth Street
St. Charles, MO 63301
Revision 2.0, Dated 27-March-2006
|Adapted from materials supplied by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Trenton, Michigan and Hales Corner Lutheran Church, Hales Corner, Wisconsin 2/03|
THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Ever since the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod was formed, one of its purposes has been to develop the spiritual gifts of its members and help them successfully utilize their gifts in serving God and in fulfilling the Great Commission.
The Constitution of our Missouri Synod has two reasons for its formation:
1. To follow the example of the Apostolic Church.
2. To satisfy God’s will that the diversities of our spiritual gifts be for the common good, according to I Corinthians 12:4-31 (Paul compares the human body to the body of Christ).
We at Immanuel Lutheran Church have long felt that more of our members would like to be more involved in the ministry of Jesus Christ and to participate in activities of the church where they can grow and contribute, but they are not sure how to get involved, or what spiritual gifts they possess that can be used in God’s work.
After searching for ways and means of helping our members to accomplish this, we have chosen a Spiritual Gifts and Assimilation system that has proven successful in many congregations. This program will survey members to help them determine their God-given spiritual gifts and which will encourage and help them to use their gifts in an area of ministry where their gifts are needed.
The following pages constitute an analysis of the Spiritual Gifts of a Christian, along with appropriate explanations. We invite you to follow the explanations and complete the Spiritual Gifts Analysis. The Spiritual Gifts Discovery begins with a comparison of Spiritual Gifts and Talents.
Our prayer is that you will find joy and blessing in discovering your Spiritual Gifts and that you will find many opportunities to use them in our church, for your spiritual growth and benefit, and for God’s glory.
GIFTS AND TALENTS
It is easy to confuse the meaning of spiritual gifts and talents, but talents often become the vehicles for gift development.
Each of us has been given some natural talents when we were born. Some of us have developed them to a high degree and others to a lesser degree. They are natural abilities given us by God to be used for our livelihood, enjoyment, and recreation.
A spiritual gift is a skill or ability that enables a Christian to perform a function in the Body of Christ (The Church) with ease and effectiveness.
Spiritual gifts are possessed only by those who are Christians and each of us has been given one or more of them to use. They are special gifts of grace given specifically to help us and to help others to grow in their faith in Christ. God decides which ones to give us, but we each have been given at least one spiritual gift, and God intends that we use it.
To determine if it is a gift or talent, you need to determine why you are doing this activity. If the motivation for doing it is either for personal or for financial reward you are using your God-given talents. On the other hand, if you are doing this for God’s purposes, to glorify God, it is a Spiritual Gift. The motivation, then, often determines if it is a gift or talent. Gifts and Talents are often complimentary, and both can be developed by the Christian to boost their faith and serve the Lord in His Church. Their exercise can glorify God and benefit the Christian in their life.
The following table summarizes the comparison of gifts and talents.
A COMPARISON OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS AND NATURAL TALENTS
| ||Spiritual Gifts||Natural Talents|
|Source:||Special grace of the Holy Spirit||Common natural abilities given by God|
|Time Given:||After your spiritual birth||At your natural birth|
|Purpose:||Spiritual growth of saints-Christian service||
Instruction, entertainment, and inspiration (natural levels)|
We have the Christian responsibility to develop our talents; however, their development should not replace or interfere with our gift development. They grow best when developed and used together.
THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Spiritual gifts have two basic purposes at Immanuel Lutheran Church and in the church at large.
Statement of Purpose
The first purpose is to produce growth, both individual growth in faith, and in reaching out for numerical growth of the body of Christ. I Corinthians 12:7, 14:2, and 14:26 all speak to that point where we see the phrases, “for the common good,” “for the edification of the church,” “let all things be done for edification.” Gifts are to share. Gifts are for service in building up the body of Christ. Gifts are not just for private use. They are not for one-upmanship. They are very special blessings for the good of all.
The second purpose of spiritual gifts is to produce unity in the church. I Corinthians 12:25 states that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. As we use our gifts together, we will have a unity in purpose and in mind.
The Holy Spirit, through God’s grace, did not give gifts to produce competition. The problem of competition was obvious in the early church at Corinth. The people there became so enveloped in the use of speaking in strange tongues that those who didn’t have the gift were looked on as second-class citizens. This certainly did not produce growth or unity. Paul states in I Corinthians 14:12, “since you are eager to have the gifts of the Holy Spirit, you must try above everything else to make greater use of those which help to build up the church.”
In addition to growth and unity, we at Immanuel Lutheran Church are also emphasizing the use of our gifts for love and service. If we do so, we will continue to grow, both qualitatively and quantitatively, so that we bring praise and glory to His name. Isn’t it exciting to know that every Christian is gifted to be part of the process of reaching others for Christ? That is why we are here!
For accomplishing these goals, some basic decisions have been made. They are as follows:
- That the words of I Peter 4:10 shall be our focal point. “Each one should use whatever spiritual gift he (or she) has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” The keys here are that each of us has at least one gift and that these gifts are for Christian service.
- That our gifts ministry will be structured specifically as a service-related ministry. In other words, that gifts we look for in the people at Immanuel Lutheran Church must be gifts that will be active in the mainstream of parish life. Although we do not negate the existence of the more spectacular gifts such as speaking in tongues, miracles, and others, our first and foremost concern is for the total health, growth and well-being of the church in our service-related gift mix among our members. An understanding of why we use the gifts that we have is very important. Our gifts are for service, and we are to love one another. Many church members possess other gifts not found in this assessment. We praise the Lord for that and for their involvement and pray that all gifts be used to glorify God.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit Within Scripture and Christendom
The apostle Paul defines Spiritual gifts in Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4. These are the three key chapters in the Bible that deal with spiritual gifts. Other gifts are displayed in different sections of Scripture, though some are not clearly identified and some have no Scriptural reference at all.
In Ephesians, Paul states, “each one of us has received a special gift…to prepare all of God’s people for the work of Christian service…to build up the body of Christ.” Paul also uses the analogy of the human body and all of its parts functioning in comparison with the body of Christ, with Jesus as the head, and all of its parts (meaning each of us) functioning with their gifts. Both illustrations indicate a healthy body when each of the “body parts” functions properly.
Spiritual gifts, therefore, are special abilities (often accompanying our talents), which the Holy Spirit gives to each Christian. These spirit-directed abilities are for our use in building up the entire body of Christ.
The identification of these God-given gifts to us are made in the scriptures as follows:
Gifts not clearly identified are craftsmanship, music, preaching, and writing. Gifts that have not been identified are intercession and exorcism.
- Romans 12 identifies prophesy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, mercy, and leadership.
- I Corinthians 12 identifies wisdom, faith, knowledge, miracles, discernment, tongues, interpretation of tongues, apostleship, healing, helps, and administration.
- Ephesians identifies evangelism and shepherding.
- I Corinthians 7:7-9 identifies celibacy.
- I Corinthians 13:3 identifies martyrdom and voluntary poverty.
- I Peter 4:9 identifies hospitality.
- Ephesians 3:7 identifies missionary as a spiritual gift.
It is felt that the gifts that have not been identified or not clearly identified, could better be described as “glorified talents,” or special abilities which do benefit the growth and well being of the body of Christ.
The Gifts of The Holy Spirit Within the Body Life of
At Immanuel Lutheran Church, it is felt that one of the keys to spiritual gifts is the use of them. Therefore, through observing the body life of our active membership and by seeing the felt needs expressed by our local body of believers and by our community, we have established a “gift-mix” for our congregation. It is as follows:
Immanuel Lutheran Church
Craftsmanship-Arts and Crafts
As you respond to the Spiritual Gifts and Talents Discovery section and study the related materials, you are initiating some of the first steps of discipleship. The Interest Finder, which lists most of the service areas, Bible studies, and group activities of Immanuel Lutheran Church, will also help in giving you good direction as you continue your walk with Jesus in our midst. There are six basic areas of discipleship we would like you to be aware of, to work toward and to model in your Christian life:
1. Regular worship attendance
There are numerous opportunities for your children to become involved at Immanuel Lutheran Church, especially in the areas of education, recreation, fellowship, service and music. You are urged to encourage them as they build their life with Jesus.
2. Regular communion participation
3. Corporate Bible study (example: Wednesday morning Bible study, Sunday School class)
4. Service to the church through use of your spiritual gifts, talents and treasure
5. Involvement in a fellowship group (men’s, women’s, teens, couples, seniors, etc.)
6. Working toward a tithe of your treasures and time
We pray God’s continued blessing on you and your family as you walk with Him. Through the means of grace including worship, studying the Scriptures, taking Communion, observing Baptism, service and fellowship, your walk will be sure, direct and filled with enjoyment. Thank you for participating in this spiritual growth process. Immanuel Lutheran Church is your parish and we pray that you continue to be actively involved in it. The people here ARE THE CHURCH, and it is the people who are to do almost all of the work of the ministry of our church and of God’s church in the world.