Excerpted from Bob Whitesel, “Waypoint 2: Ministry Emergence” in Spiritual Waypoints: Helping Others Navigate the Journey (2010, pp. 195-197).
The Scriptures describe a variety of God-given gifts. Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4 along with secondary lists in 1 Corinthians 7, 13-14, Ephesians 3 and 1 Peter 4 describe many of the “gifts of the (Holy) Spirit” that God uses to empower people for service and ministry. Here is a brief, yet annotated list:[i]
- Administration: Effective planning and organization (1 Cor. 2:28; Acts 6:1-7).
- Discernment: Distinguishing between error and truth (1 Cor. 12:10; Acts 5:1-11).
- Encouragement: Ability to comfort, console, encourage and counsel ( 12:8; Hebrews 10:25; Timothy 4:13).
- Evangelism: Building relationships that help travelers move toward a personal relationship with Christ (Luke 19:1-10; 2 Timothy 4:5).
- Faith: Discerning with extraordinary confidence the will and purposes of God. (1 Cor. 12:9, Acts 11:22-24, Hebrews 11, Romans 4:18-21)
- Giving: Cheerfully giving of resources without remorse (Romans 12:8; 2 Cor. 8:1-7, 9:2-8; Mark 12:41-44).
- Hospitality: Creating comfort and assistance for those in need (1 Peter 4:9, Romans 12:9-13, 16:23, Acts 16:14-15, Hebrews 13:1-2).
- Intercession: Passionate, extended and effective prayer. (James 5:14-16, 1 Timothy 2:1-2; Colossians 1:9-12, 4:12-13).
- Knowledge: To discover, accumulate, analyze and clarify information and ideas which are pertinent to the well being of a Christian community. (1 Cor. 2:14, 12:8, Acts 5:1-11, Colossians 2:2-3).[ii]
- Leadership: To cast vision, set goals and motivate to cooperatively accomplish God’ purposes (Luke 9:51; Romans 12:8; Hebrews 13:17).
- Mercy: To feel authentic empathy and compassion accompanied by action that reflects Christ’s love and alleviates suffering (Romans 12:8, Matt. 25:34-36; Luke 10:30-37).
- Prophecy: Providing guidance to others by explaining and proclaiming God’s truth[iii] (1 Cor. 12:10, 28; Eph. 4:11-14, Romans 12:6; Acts 21:9-11).
- Helps: Investing time and talents in others to increase other’s effectiveness (1 Cor. 12:28, Rom. 16:1-2, Acts 9:36).
- Service: A tactical gift that identifies steps and processes in tasks that results in ministry to others (2 Tim. 1:16-18, Rom. 12:7, Acts 6:1-7).
- Pastor: Long-term personal responsibility for the welfare of spiritual travelers. ( 4:1-14, 1 Tim. 3:1-7, John 10:1-18, 1 Peter 5:1-3).
- Teaching: Communicating relevant information that results in learning (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11-14, Rom. 12:7, Acts 18:24-28, 20:20-21).
- Wisdom: To have insight into how to apply knowledge[iv] (1 Cor. 2:1-13, 12:8. Acts 6:3, 10; James 1:5-6, 2 Peter 3: 15-16).
- Missionary: Using spiritual gifts effectively in a non-indigenous culture (1 Cor. 9:19-21, Acts 8:4, 13:2-3, 22:21; Rom. 10:15).
- Miracles. To perform compelling acts that are perceived by observers to have altered the ordinary course of nature (1 Cor. 12:10, 28; Acts 9:36-42, 19:11-20, 20:7-12; Rom. 15:18-19, 2 Cor. 12:12).
- Healing. To serve as human intermediaries through whom it pleases God to restore health (1 Cor. 12:9, 28; Acts 3:1-10, 5:12-16, 9:32-35, 28:7-10).
- Tongues. There are various explanations of this gift. For instance it can be to speak (a) to God in a language they have never learned and/or (b) to receive and communicate an immediate message of God to his people.[v] Another option is that this can mean an ability to speak a foreign language and convey concept across cultures[vi] (1 Cor. 12:10, 28, 14:13-19, Acts 2:1-13, 10:44-46, 19:1-7).
- Interpretation: To make known a message of one who speaks in tongues.[vii] And/or it can mean “those who help build bridges across cultural, generational and language divides.”[viii] (1 Cor. 12:10, 30, 14:13, 26-28).
- Voluntary poverty. To renounce material comfort and luxury to assist others (1 Cor. 13:1-3, Acts 2:44:45, 4:34-37, 2 Cor. 6:10, 8:9).
- Celibacy: To remain single with joy and not suffer undue sexual temptation (1 Cor. 7:7-8, Matt. 19:10-12).
- Martyrdom: Ability to undergo suffering for the faith even to death, while displaying a victorious attitude that brings glory to God (1 Cor. 13:3).
Download the chapter here: BOOK EXCERPT Spiritual Waypoints on GIFTS
[i] Adapted from the United Methodist Church’s Explore Your Spiritual Gifts (http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.1355371/k.9501/Spiritual_Gifts.htm, 2009), Jack W. MacGorman’s The Gifts of the Spirit (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1974), Kenneth C. Kinghorn’s Gifts of the Spirit (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1976), and C. Peter Wagner’s Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow: How to Find Your Gifts and Use Them to Bless Others (Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books, 1994). For an extended discussion of these gifts see Waypoint 2.
[ii] For this gift there are several interpretations, c.f. Donald Gee Concerning Spiritual Gifts (Springfield, Missouri: Gospel Publishing House, 1972) and Wagner, Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow.
[iii] Here again there are several perspectives, c.f. Donald Gee, Concerning Spiritual Gifts and Kinghorn, Gifts of the Spirit.
[iv] Varied perspectives exist here as well, c.f. Donald Gee, Concerning Spiritual Gifts, Kinghorn, Gifts of the Spirit, and Wagner, Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow.
[v] For varied interpretations, see Wagner, Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow and Gee, Concerning Spiritual Gifts.
[vi] The United Methodist Church, “Explore Your Spiritual Gifts,” http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.1355371/k.9501/Spiritual_Gifts.htm, 2009.
[vii] See Wagner, Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow, p. 256-257 for the Classical Pentecostal viewpoint.
[viii] For another viewpoint of this and other gifts see the United Methodist Church’s definitions in “Explore Your Spiritual Gifts,” http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.1355371/k.9501/Spiritual_Gifts.htm, 2009