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Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Serving?


Dr. Larry Gilbert

The Greek word Diakonia means to do service. In Acts 6:1 the word is interpreted ministration. Our word “deacon” comes from the same Greek word. Actually the gift of Serving is a combination of helps and ministering, two expressions of the same gift. The word “helps” is used in 1 Corinthians 12:28, and “ministering” in Romans 12:7.

People with this gift enjoy manual projects. They are not kings; they do not even want to be kings. They are happy working behind the scenes. They are “king-makers.”

Servers are not people who believe that since they can do nothing else in the church, they must have the gift of Serving. That attitude would belittle the gift and would be an insult to the person who has the gift of Serving. There are no menial tasks in God’s work. It is possible that more people have this gift than any other. Servers paint the walls, pick up the trash, sort the hymnals, clean the baptistery, keep the nursery, bake the cakes, cook the meals, paint the signs, drive the bus, and a million and one other necessary tasks in the church. They can always be found late in the evening doing some seemingly small job like fixing the public address speaker that didn’t work last Sunday. They usually do not realize that their love for the Lord shows every time the doors of the church are open, especially if they oiled the now-quiet hinges last week.

If you are a Server, you have the Spirit-given capacity and desire to serve God by rendering practical help in both physical and spiritual matters. You are the person who meets the practical needs of fellow Christians and the church.

Let’s examine helps and ministering one at a time.

Helps: Many new Christians are highly motivated to serve the Lord; most have to backslide to fit into the average congregation. They are gifted, anxious, motivated, able to help with the duties of the church, yet inexperienced. That is why new Christians should become helpers—help in Sunday school or in some other ministry of the church. They should even move around and help in different areas of ministry. As they do, they will start to get a feel for what God has called them to do.

Statistics show that most people who don’t get involved in the church’s ministry within the first six months will not get involved at all. Yet, six months is hardly enough time to train a new Christian to be a Teacher, Shepherd or Administrator. The best way for new Christians to get involved and trained while discovering and developing their dominant gifts is in the ministry of helps.

Statistics show that most people who don’t get involved in the church’s ministry within the first six months will not get involved at all.

Ministering: Many Christians will never leave the gift of Serving because it is their dominant gift. They are always spiritually fulfilled because God gave them this gift and they need not be pushed elsewhere to serve. Most importantly, the gift of Serving should never be thought of as a lowly or second-rate ministry.

Tabitha (also known as Dorcas) was a woman in the Bible whom God used as an example of the Server (Acts 9:36-42). She used her talent of sewing in the gift of Serving. She was faithful in helping the widows of the church where she served, and she exercised her gift under the lordship of Christ. Just before Simon Peter arrived for a preaching engagement, Tabitha died. The widows showed Peter the dresses that she had made them. Without her help, they would have had nothing to wear. Peter was so touched by the scene that he raised Tabitha from the dead.

Simon Peter had a gift too. He had been used mightily by God as a preacher, a healer and even to raise Tabitha from the dead. Surely his gifts were more important to God than Tabitha’s little gift of Serving . . . but when Simon Peter died, no one raised him from the dead.

Dr. Larry Gilbert is founder and chairman of Ephesians Four Ministries, and founder of For more on spiritual gifts, see Dr. Gilbert’s books from which this article was excerpted: Team Ministry: Gifted to Serve (for pastors and group leaders) and Your Gifts: Discover God’s Unique Design for You (for individuals and groups).

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Articles in this series include…

9781570522895The chapter from which this article was excerpted also includes…

  • 11 Characteristics of The Server
  • 11 Burdens, Desires and Strengths of The Server
  • 15 Special Needs and Weaknesses of The Server
  • 5 Ways in which The Server is Misunderstood
  • 5 Ways Satan Attacks the Gift of The Server
  • 13 Places where The Server Gift can be Used
  • The Witnessing Style of The Server

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