How Small Groups "Discover" Spiritual Gifts

It is in the Body of Christ—in community and at work—that we discern our gifts.

I have a number of different gift assessment tools at my disposal. I have used an eight-week curriculum that utilizes video, overheads, a nice book, and a leader's guide in classes and small groups. This curriculum also involves consultations with trained consultants after the course is over. Our church has used this course in the past and we have developed a database of people's gifts and passions and personal styles from it.

I also have a simple spiritual gifts assessment computer program that asks a list of questions and then spits out what spiritual gifts God has given you. You can find electronic versions of these assessments on the web; you can even take the assessment itself on some web sites.

Plenty of programs and curricula and other resources have been developed to help us ascertain and then use our gifts.

But I have a couple questions.

  1. What did Christians do before spiritual gift inventories were invented?

  2. How did receiving a gift become such a hassle and technological undertaking?

  3. If God designed His church as a body in which each part carries out its role using the gifts God has given, then why is it not more natural for us to understand and utilize our gifts in that context?

I don't have all the answers, but I'll give you a few of my own opinions, for what they are worth.

Part of the reason, I believe, is that many churches do not really function like the Body of Christ as we were intended. The New Testament reveals church as community where Christians love one another deeply, care for and meet one another's needs, encourage one another daily, spur one another on to love and good deeds, bear one another's burdens, confess our sins to one another and pray for each other so that we may be healed, submit to one another, ...

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