In a recent survey I asked the question, “What is your spiritual gift?” Of the 72 adults responding, only 15 answered with what could be considered a valid name for a spiritual gift. Twenty-two gave no answer at all. Most amazing of all were the 28 who listed their gift by a term the Bible did not list. Many listed fruit of the Spirit (which are given to all Christians).
By my count, the New Testament lists 21 spiritual gifts.
The definitions and characteristics of some gifts are so similar, some believe the Scriptures use synonyms in some cases.
The following lists the gifts and Scripture references and suggests a simplified classification. It also shows which gifts are combined for our study.
CLASSIFICATION OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS
- Miraculous Gifts
- Enabling Gifts
- TEAM Gifts
- Evangelism: passionately leading others to the saving knowledge of Christ, Ephesians 4:11
- Prophecy: boldly and fearlessly proclaiming God’s truth, Romans 12:6; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28
- Teaching: making clear the truth of God’s Word with simplicity & accuracy, Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28
- Exhortation: motivating others to action, application and purpose, Romans 12:8
- Shepherding: overseeing, training, feeding, coaching/leading, Ephesians 4:11
- Serving: providing practical help both physically and spiritually, Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28
- Mercy-showing: identifying with and comforting those in need, Romans 12:8
- Giving: releasing material resources to further the work of the Church, Romans 12:8
- Administration: organizing, administering, promoting, leading, Romans 12:8; 1 Corinthians 12:28
THE TEAM GIFTS
The third category of spiritual gifts is Team Gifts. They are job-, activity-, ministry- or task-oriented gifts. They are functional.
The Team Gifts are divided into two prominent types, speaking and ministering gifts. This does not mean you do not minister with the speaking gifts nor speak in the ministering gifts.
In 1 Peter 4:9-11, Peter speaks of two groups in which to place the gifts. He says in verse 11, “If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides.”
Therefore, Peter gives us two groups of Team Gifts:
- “Speaking” gifts (the Greek word laleo) means to talk, utter words. Those who have the speaking gifts are Evangelists, Prophets, Teachers, Exhorters, and Shepherds.
- “Ministering” gifts are support gifts. Ministers are not kings but “king-makers.” These people are happy to work behind the scenes supporting the ones who have the speaking gifts. Ministering gifts include Shepherds, Mercy-Showers, Servers, Givers, and Administrators. Note that the Shepherd is on both lists. This is because of the many responsibilities God has given His “under-shepherds.”
A detailed description with characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, and some areas where people with the Team Gifts are often misunderstood is covered in the articles listed below, one for each Team Gift.
As you study your spiritual gifts and the other Team Gifts, you need to understand they are generalized and there are as many variations and degrees as there are people who have these gifts.
Anyone familiar with Scripture knows there are spiritual gifts. I want to reaffirm that God has given everyone in His family at least one spiritual gift and everyone in His family has a responsibility to use their gifts. It is important that the common misconceptions mentioned in this article be cleared up so that a proper biblical foundation is established so that everybody knows where the spiritual gifts come from. In other words, all of God’s children need to know they are gifted and why they are gifted.
Dr. Larry Gilbert is founder and chairman of Ephesians Four Ministries, and founder of ChurchGrowth.org. For more on spiritual gifts, see Dr. Gilbert’s books from which this article was excerpted Your Gifts: Discover God’s Unique Design for You (for individuals and small groups) and Team Ministry: Gifted to Serve (for pastors and group leaders) published by ChurchGrowth.org Copyright © 2015 ChurchGrowth.org. Other Team Ministry spiritual gifts resources are shown below, including the Your Gifts Spiritual Gifts Survey. For a free online Spiritual Gifts Survey, click here
Here are more free articles, one for each of the nine Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts…
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Shepherding?
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Administration?
Each of these nine Team Ministry Spiritual Gift articles was excerpted from the book Your Gifts: Discover God’s Unique Design for You.
Discover more about your spiritual gifts and each of the nine team gifts.
For individuals and groups.
Lead others to discover their spiritual gifts.
For pastors and group leaders.