Spiritual Gifts

Using Your Gift as a Team Player

Dr. Larry Gilbert

One person does not build a church; one gift does not meet all the needs; one individual does not reach and teach a generation.

The great violinist Nicolo Paganini thrilled audiences with his musical performances. His violin was the source of melodies and harmonies impossible to describe in words. What joys the violin conveyed in the hands of the master. When he died, he willed his expensive and beautiful violin to the city of Genoa, Italy. The only condition was that it was never to be played again. That beautifully toned instrument no longer provided the melodic tones for which it was intended.

The same choice comes to Christians with their spiritual gifts — they can use their gifts or abuse them. The results are much the same as with Paganini’s violin…

Spiritual gifts add beauty to life when used properly, or sadness and uselessness when left alone.

God intended for spiritual gifts to be used in carrying out the Great Commission and edifying the saints.

When spiritual gifts are misused or abused, they do not reach out to others with the love of God and they fail meet the needs of people in the family of God. Often, the Team pulls apart rather than pulling together.

If we understand the abuses that can take place, we can avoid them and concentrate our efforts on the task God gave us. Let’s look at some terms that describe the misuses of spiritual gifts.

  • Gift Ignorance is a lack of knowledge regarding the possession of spiritual gifts and their function.“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant”
    1 Corinthians. 12:1
  • Gift Blindness results from gifts ignorance and renders victims incapable of recognizing their own spiritual gifts and the influence of gifts on their own life and ministry.
  • Gift Imposing is the act of forcing one’s spiritual gift upon another and attempting to compel them to perform as though it were God’s gift to them. Gift imposing wants the whole body to be an eye.
  • Gift Gravitation refers to the tendency among Christians to attract and be attracted to other Christians with like spiritual gifts. It grows out of the natural tendency of individual to form bonds with those of like interests and aspirations.
  • Gift Colonization is the direct and inescapable result of unrestrained gift gravitation, causing people with like gifts to isolate themselves from the rest of the church. The real problem comes when our failure to recognize that we are colonizing causes us to attack those who are not the same as we are.
  • Gift Coveting is the activity of desiring a gift other than that which has been given to the individual by the Holy Spirit. This will lead to frustration and a lack of fulfillment since God’s true purpose for the individual is not achieved.

The best deterrent to misusing or abusing spiritual gifts is education…

  1. Christians must be educated concerning what is a spiritual gift.
  2. Christians must be educated concerning what are other Christian’ spiritual gifts and how these relate to their own gifts.
  3. Christians must learn how this all fits into the biblical concept of Team Ministry.

When spiritual gifts are abused or misused, the entire body of the church suffers. The balance is lost and the work of God is adversely affected.

The more Christians mature, the more they will learn to mix with people who have differing gifts and accept their different motives, desires, and needs. They will learn to be part of Team Ministry rather than being individuals who must “win the world” on their own.

One person does not build a church; one gift does not meet all the needs; one individual does not reach and teach a generation.

We must join together in Team Ministry and complement each other, realizing the uniqueness of each Christians’ giftedness and part in the task God has given to each of us.

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12

Be encouraged as you discover your spiritual gifts and how you can join together in Team Ministry, read the rest of this passage, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31


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: Team Ministry: Gifted to Serve (for pastors and group leaders) and Your Gifts: Discover God’s Unique Design for You (for individuals and groups).

Permission granted to copy, forward, share, post and reproduce everything in this article, please include this link Source: ChurchGrowth.orgCLICK HERE to subscribe for FREE


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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Jenny Sue Hayward
    January 8, 2016 4:21 pm

    Is it o.k. to share this excerpt with our Equipping Ministry Team? I have already puchased “Team Ministry: Gifted to Serve”. And, I hope to be teaching a Spiritual Gifts class soon. Your resource materials are very well done, and we hope to make other purchases in our quest to equip our members to use their gifts to further the kingdom of God.

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