WOMEN LEADERS & When She Preaches #MissioAlliance #TaraBethLeach

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Tara Beth Leach’s article ( below) is important. Having consulted for many churches with female pastors over the years, I have found one of the strongest bastions of male dominance is often the pulpit.  Once that ceiling is broken with her anointing, other walls may fall.  This is what Susanna counseled John Wesley (1791), and it seemed to work. John had originally asked a female preacher in the Wesleyan Connexion to refrain from calling her sermonizing: preaching.  Instead, he suggested, it could be called a “testimony.”  Susanna, John’s mother and by all accounts a better preacher than John’s father Samuel, told John to go, hear her and see for himself if the anointing rested on her.  Soon thereafter, John agreed that women could preach within the Methodist movement.

When She Preaches

Growing up, I sat at the feet of countless remarkable male preachers. Besides Beth Moore, I don’t recall ever hearing a woman preach until my sophomore or junior year of college. I witnessed countless men stand behind pulpits, open their Bibles, and preach the Word of God in awe-inspiring ways. I am thankful for these men, because at the feet of them, my faith was formed and challenged. But I often wonder what it would have been like for me to listen to a woman preacher before I myself preached for the first time. I imagine I would have been deeply encouraged and wildly inspired.

When women don’t preach, the church suffers. It is as Carolyn Custis James says in her book, Half the Church,

When half the church holds back – whether by choice or because we have no choice – everybody loses and our mission suffers setbacks. Tragically, we are squandering the opportunity to display to an embattled world a gospel that causes both men and women to flourish and unites us in a Blessed Alliance that only the presence of Jesus can explain.[1]

Because, when a woman preaches, something profound begins to happen in the pews, the ground begins to shift, barriers are torn down, and the once silenced mouths are opened.[2]

When She Preaches, Women in the Congregation Begin to Imagine Gifts Outside of the Traditional/Patriarchal Roles

When she preaches, the women in the pews can begin to undo the narrative that tells them they are inferior to men. Many women sitting in the pews on Sunday morning aren’t sure what to do with scriptures that tell them to “keep quiet in the church” and are even told that scriptures like this should be applied to all women in every context. However, when she preaches, other women in the pews are pushed to think critically about those tough passages; they are pushed to consider their own gifts; they are forced to ponder a false narrative that they have embraced for far too long – that they are somehow less capable or less gifted in the Kingdom of God. When she preaches, women see a super-natural talent embodied in another woman, empowered by the Spirit, and propelled to edify all of the people of God. And it is then that women in the congregation begin to ask: can I preach, too? Maybe they will unearth the talents that have been buried for far too long; maybe they will spread their wings and fly; maybe they, too, will use their gifts in new and inspiring ways.

[1] Carolyn Custis James, Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015), 19.

[2] See a powerful post on Sarah Bessey’s blog, Why Not Have a Woman Preach” right here.

Read more here … http://www.missioalliance.org/when-she-preaches/

SPIRITUAL GIFTS & Inventories to Help You Find Your Giftings

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 5/5/10.

…Traits, abilities, skills or behaviors[iv] can become supernaturally empowered by the Holy Spirit as manifestations or gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is important to note that these can be understood as gifts or manifestations. Theologian James D. G. Dunn observes that they are “gifts” because they are given, and “manifestations” because they attest to the reality of the unseen Giver.[v] And, according to the Scriptures these are given to all Christians:[vi]

1 Cor. 12:7     “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

Eph. 4:7          “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

(Robert) Clinton states that at this waypoint the leader now “recognizes that part of God’s guidance for ministry comes through establishing ministry priorities by discerning gifts.”[vii] Discerning or determining a leader’s gift-mix can take place through the following four actions.

Action 2.1: Learn About Your Gifts

The route toward discovering a leader’s gift matrix begins with a study of the gifts in Scriptures. Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4 along with secondary gift lists in 1 Corinthians 7, 13-14; Ephesians 3 and 1 Peter 4 describe approximately 25 gifts of the Holy Spirit. Yet, because none of the gift lists are complete in themselves, it is reasonable to conclude that there may be other plausible gifts if they can be Scripturally verified.[viii] Therefore, I have listed an additional gift of “artist” that is not mentioned in the main gifts lists, but which appears to have attestation in Scripture and church history.

(The above is excerpted from Spiritual Waypoints: Helping Others Navigate the Journey [2010] or click on this link for a list of gifts and the rest of the chapter.)

Below are Spiritual Gift Inventories that can help you or others find your spiritual gifts:

The United Methodist Church’s Explore Your Spiritual Gifts, http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.1355371/k.9501/Spiritual_Gifts.htm.

My friend Larry Gilbert at ChurchGrowth.org produces The Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts Inventory, available at https://gifts.churchgrowth.org/cgi-cg/gifts.cgi?intro=1

An easy to take, online inventory has been produced by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and is available here: http://www.elca.org/Our-Work/Congregations-and-Synods/Faith-Practices/Assessment-Tools

The Rock Church in San Diego produces (and updates) their Spiritual Gift Inventory at http://www.sdrock.com/giftstest/new/

But probably the most carefully crafted is the Spiritual Gifts Survey by my friend and colleague, Dr. Elmer Towns available at http://elmertowns.com/?page_id=5

PRAYER & How to Find the Intercessors: The Differences Between Roles & Gifts

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 11/27/15.

We often have trouble getting people to attend prayer meetings. And, this may be because those who have the gift of intercessory prayer, don’t know they have it. Let me explain. When you invite everyone to a prayer meeting before the service, only a few people (probably those with the “gift of helps”) show up. The problem is that you have not identified those with the gift of intercessory prayer, and those with other gifts are only half-heartedly joining in.

But, the “gift of intercessory prayer” is listed as one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in James 5:14-16, 1 Tim. 2:1-2 and Col. 1:9-12, 4:12-13.  So how do we “find the intercessors?”

First, let’s look at a definition of “the gift of intercessory prayer.”

These are people who have the special gift for “passionate, extended and effective prayer, c.f. James 5:14-16, 1 Tim. 2:1-2; Col. 1:9-12, 4:12-13 (see this excerpt from Spiritual Waypoints: Helping Others Navigate the Journey, Wesleyan Publishing House). C. Peter Wagner estimated that about 5% of a congregation has the gift of intercessory prayer (1979, 1984, p. 70).

Secondly, how do you help those with the gift, “find it?”

A student once said,

“How can you even know if you have the gift of intercessory prayer? Is it if you like prayer? That seems like more a product of personality than gift. Is it because you see more results when you intercede? How can that even be measured? Do you just know it or feel that it is your gift?  Dr. Whitesel, in your post you talk about a “supernatural charge or anointing”… I can get pretty jazzed when I preach and I can feel like I am “in the zone” but does that mean it is my spiritual gift?  I am sorry to ask all these questions but perhaps I am just that young adult like the original student refers to who just hasn’t fully developed a mature prayer life.”

Here is how I replied, “My professor Pete Wagner wrote a book on Spiritual Gifts and he suggests these five steps to finding yours (Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow, Regal Books, 1979, 1984, pp. 68-70.)

  1. Explore the possibilities (e.g. the Bible and Spiritual Gifts Inventories)
  2. Experiment with as many gifts as you can (obviously the gift of martyrdom for example 😉
  3. Examine your feelings (you are doing that with preaching)
  4. Evaluate your effectiveness (are people growing in learning when you are in the zone?)
  5. Expect confirmation from the body.”

Thirdly, Everyone Has the Responsibility to Pray (because there is a difference between “roles” & “gifts”).

A student once responded, “I really do not see how intercessory prayer is a gift and I think we are selling ourselves and our congregations short when we consider it so.  I think prayer, period, is a discipline. I am convinced that the reason why more people do not pray corporately is that they have no basis to do so. They can’t pray because they don’t know how. They don’t know how because they never do it. I found this true existentially. I never could pray when I was a late youth, early adult and that was because I had no prayer life. But once God developed within me a passion for prayer.”

These are good thoughts.  However, the distinction that Peter Wagner would make is that everyone has the “role” of prayer, but not everyone has the supernaturally empowered “gift” (see Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow, Regal: 1979, 1994, pp. 85-87).

For example, I think I have the gift of teaching (1 Cor. 12:28, Eph. 4:11-14, Romans 12:7, etc.). Though someone may have to teach on occasion without the gift, they cannot say they do not need teaching abilities. They do.  But they don’t get the supernatural charge and anointing that those with the gift regularly experience. Now, I’m not saying teaching is such a great gift. I think the gift of intercessory prayer is more critical. But, I have the role of intercessory prayer, and am called to exercise it regularly.

Thus, when like the student above I began to mature in my Christian discipleship I discovered that I had a gift for teaching that as a shy teenager no one could have foresaw. But, I must be careful that I do not view everyone through my lens (i.e. gift) of being a teacher. If I do, I may unfairly criticize them for not teaching with the same passion as I. And especially so, because they may have another gift, such as the gift of intercession.

Thanks for allowing me to elaborate on the important need for everyone to practice the “roles” and for specially endowed people to operate in their gifts.

Here is how one student used “command and gift” as substitutes:

Matt said, “This discussion (roles and gifts) is very similar to the discussion on evangelism we keep having here. Some older member keep pushing back that they don’t need to because they aren’t good or they can’t do it unless the spirit prompts them to. I keep bringing it back to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) which is the universal command, and the scattering of the seeds (Mark 4:1-20) the reality of the command. With those as a frame work we then discuss the difference between gift and command. Some people are gifted in evangelism and they will win droves of people to Christ, everyone else needs to evangelize and their harvest is what it is.”

I responded that I think “role” is a better better word that command.  That is because everyone has the command, and thus should undertake a role in evangelism.  But some have the gift, and we should position and empower them for more effective ministry.

Another example is the gift of teaching (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11-14, Rom. 12:7, Acts 18:24-28, 20:20-21).  Everyone has the role (such as in teaching your children, c.f. Deuteronomy 4:9) but some have the gift and might develop a career of teaching.

Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)  “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

GLOSSOLALIA & Speaking in Tongues in the Bible

by Megan Sauter, Biblical Archaeology Review, 07/13/15

“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”
—Acts 2:4

hogegalust-gnunetsi

SPEAKING IN TONGUES IN THE BIBLE. This Armenian manuscript was illustrated by Zakaria Gnunetsi in 1575. It depicts Acts 2 when Jesus’ disciples receive the gift of speaking in tongues at Pentecost. Some believe this is the first instance of glossolalia in the Bible, but others maintain that the disciples are speaking human languages.

What happened at Pentecost in the New Testament?

Acts 2 describes a miracle: During the festival of Pentecost, Jesus’ disciples are given the Holy Spirit, and they begin speaking in tongues (other languages). Are the disciples speaking in human languages, or is this an instance of glossolalia in the Bible?

Glossolalia—speaking in angelic tongues—is described as a spiritual gift in 1 Corinthians 12–14. Webster’s dictionary defines glossolalia as “prayer characterized chiefly by incomprehensible speech, originating in primitive Christianity and now practiced by Pentecostal groups in ecstatic forms of worship.”

Ben Witherington III addresses what happened at Pentecost in his Biblical Views column “Speaking in the Tongues of Men or Angels?” in the July/August 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. While some believe that Acts 2 is the first instance of glossolalia in the Bible, he maintains that it is not.

When the disciples begin speaking in tongues, Acts 2:6 says that the crowd of Diaspora Jews who were in Jerusalem for the festival of Pentecost “gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.”

Those who believe this is an instance of glossolalia in the Bible say that two miracles took place: The disciples were speaking in angelic tongues, and each person heard the message in his native language. However, Ben Witherington III contends that just one miracle occurred. The disciples miraculously began speaking other human languages, which is supported by the Greek grammar of Acts 2:6. Witherington explains:

The phrase “in their native language” modifies the verb “speaking” in verse 6, not the verb “hearing.” So there is exactly one miracle of speech at Pentecost—a miracle my Greek students regularly pray for, namely, the ability to suddenly speak a foreign language without further study! In short, the Pentecost story is not about glossolalia, despite the name of the modern Protestant denomination. If you want to find a story about glossolalia in a story about conversion in Acts, then you should turn to the story of Cornelius in Acts 10…

Read more at …vhttp://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/speaking-in-tongues-in-the-bible/

SPIRITUAL GIFTS LIST & How to Help Others Discover Their Ministry Calling #SpiritualWaypointsBook

by Bob Whitesel, excerpted from Spiritual Waypoints: Helping Others Navigate the Journey (2010).

Waypoint 2: Ministry Emergence

“So remember, every picture tells a story don’t it.” – Rod Stewart and Ron Wood, musicians and songwriters[i]

Spiritual Waypoints [104KB]Artistic Emergence (the true life story of author/worship leader Sally Morgenthaller)

Though not yet three years old, Sally climbed on the piano bench and began pounding out a song. Soon Sally added words, and much to her mother’s surprise Sally began to weave a song describing God’s restoration of a destroyed world. “The song began very ominous,” remembered Sally. “The music began dark and sad because humans had done such evil to the world. But then the music turned cheerful, and I played very lightly. I began singing about how God was restoring happiness and joy to the world. I like the word emergence, Bob,” continued Sally, “for from a very young age I had a sense of an emerging divine presence and a special gifting to make Him known.”

By the time she was a teenager Sally carried a camera wherever she went. “I wanted to use pictures to tell stories of how God works. I looked for God’s divine activity in everyday life. I felt it was through artistic gifts that I was created to share God’s message.”

Slowly Sally’s artistic bent shaped her writing as well. One day in church the worship leader said, “In worship we should encounter God.” “So I began reporting on what God was doing during worship in my life and in the lives of others,” recalled Sally. “God united my artistic gifts with my writing talents. The result was a book called Worship Evangelism about how people are reencountering God through worship.”

“But my journey is really about how telling God’s story through artistic expression. I want to bring to people a hope in God. And, I want to help people see His subtle but obvious presence.”

Waypoint Characteristics:

Signs of Travelers at Waypoint 2

Travelers may experiment with a variety of ministries. At this juncture the traveler may yearn to try their hand at numerous ministries that the seasoned traveler may feel are unsuitable for them. But some experimentation, within spiritual, moral and theological boundaries, must be allowed. This is because the traveler must learn to discern the difference between spiritually empowered gifts and those whose that have their genesis in human aspiration. The importance of personal spiritual confirmation will be explored under Action 2.4.

Travelers may focus too narrowly on one ministry. While some travelers will try many ministry options, others will focus too narrowly, smitten with the first Spirit empowered ministry they experience. The community of faith must encourage the traveler to see God’s diverse matrix of gifts as well as realize that all ministry requires a mixture of gifts. A leader’s unique assortment of gifts is what Clinton calls a “gift-mix.”[ii] And, this mixture may be received in different proportions and in different strengths. Rarely do Christians have just one gift, for God’s creation is customarily a wonderful synthesis of diversity. Sally Morgenthaler most likely has a gift mix of encouragement, artist and prophecy.[iii] And, these might just be the most noticeable ones, for God’s creation is customarily comprised of a splendid array of elements. The community of faith must encourage the wayfarer to not just focus on the first gift that emerges in their ministry, but to continue to explore God’s endowment for their lives.

Actions That Help W2 Travelers

At this waypoint traits, abilities, skills or behaviors[iv] can become supernaturally empowered by the Holy Spirit as manifestations or gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is important to note that these can be understood as gifts or manifestations. Theologian James D. G. Dunn observes that they are “gifts” because they are given, and “manifestations” because they attest to the reality of the unseen Giver.[v] And, according to the Scriptures these are given to all Christians:[vi]

1 Cor. 12:7     “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

Eph. 4:7          “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

Clinton states that at this waypoint the leader now “recognizes that part of God’s guidance for ministry comes through establishing ministry priorities by discerning gifts.”[vii] Discerning or determining a leader’s gift-mix can take place through the following four actions.

Action 2.1: Learn About Your Gifts

The route toward discovering a leader’s gift matrix begins with a study of the gifts in Scriptures. Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4 along with secondary gift lists in 1 Corinthians 7, 13-14; Ephesians 3 and 1 Peter 4 describe approximately 25 gifts of the Holy Spirit. Yet, because none of the gift lists are complete in themselves, it is reasonable to conclude that there may be other plausible gifts if they can be Scripturally verified.[viii] Therefore, I have listed an additional gift of “artist” that is not mentioned in the main gifts lists, but which appears to have attestation in Scripture and church history.

Here is a annotated expansion of the list the reader first encountered at Waypoint 11:[ix]

Gift Explanation Scripture
Administration Effective planning and organization 1 Cor. 2:28; Acts 6:1-7
Discernment Distinguish between error and truth 1 Cor. 12:10; Acts 5:1-11
Encouragement Ability to comfort, console, encourage and counsel Rom. 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 con-fidence the will & purposes of God 1 Cor. 12:9, Acts 11:22-24, Hebrews 11, Rom. 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[x] 1 Peter 4:9, Rom. 12:9-13, 16:23, Acts 16:14-15, Heb. 13:1-2
Intercession Passionate, extended and effective prayer James 5:14-16, 1 Tim. 2:1-2; Col. 1:9-12, 4:12-13
Knowledge[xi] 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
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[xii] Providing guidance by explaining & proclaiming God’s truth 1 Cor. 12:10, 28; Eph. 4:11-14, Rom. 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[xiii] A tactical gift that identifies steps and processes in tasks. 2 Tim. 1:16-18, Rom. 12:7, Acts 6:1-7
Pastor Long-term personal responsibility for the welfare of spiritual travelers. Eph. 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[xiv] To have insight into how to apply knowledge 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[xv] Various explanations of this gift include: (a) to speak to God in a language they have never learned and/or (b) to receive and communicate an immediate message of God to his people.[xvi] Another option is that this can mean an ability to speak a foreign language and convey concepts across cultures. 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.[xvii] And/or it can mean “those who help build bridges across cultural, generational and language divides.” [xviii] 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[xix] Ability to undergo suffering for the faith even to death, while displaying an attitude that brings glory to God 1 Cor. 13:3
A gift that is not mentioned directly in the New Testament gift lists,

but which is seen at other junctures in the Scriptures and Church history.

Artist[xx] The ability to communicate God’s message via artistic mediums. 1 Chron. 5, Psalm 33:3, 42:8, 74:21; 149:1, 150, Col. 3:16 & Eph 5:19.
Action 2.2: Find a Need.

The next step is to look for a need that must be filled. The Scriptures say that “…to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7), so that “each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others” (1 Peter 4:10). Since the purpose is “the common good” and to “serve others,” areas in need of serving become a required starting point. Therefore, the community of faith must help wayfarers begin their discovery process not with leader, nor with the gifts, but with the needs of others that beg to be filled.

Action 2.3: Test Your Gifts.

Ray Stedman said, “you discover a spiritual gift just like you discovered your natural talents.”[xxi] Gift discovery often continues with testing various gifts that can meet the needs identified in Action 2.2. There are certainly some gifts that do not lend themselves to experimentation, such as the gift of martyrdom. But for most gifts, researching and testing is a way to discover your gifts.

Still, sometimes a need is so vital that experimentation is not recommended. In such cases there are spiritual gift questionnaires that can assist a wayfarer. Most of these questionnaires are based upon the work of Richard Houts.[xxii] Many denominational offices have theologically distinct versions available as well.

However, I have noticed that gift inventories are often given without subsequent follow-up or exploration. Churches often require congregants to take such inventories but do little with the results. Such inventories will only help if they are followed by testing, where under the supervision of a trained mentor the person puts into practice their perceived gift.

Action 2.4: Expect Confirmation

A supervisor should give confirmation. Because all ministry involves human souls and spiritual destinies, it is critical that all testing be supervised. James Dunn points out that Paul encouraged supervision in Corinth to prevent overindulgence in the more unusual gifts.[xxiii]

The person exercising the gift should expect confirmation. God gives good gifts to His children (Matt. 7:11) and thus while exercising in giftedness, leaders should sense an anointing in their work. In The Greening of the Church, Findley Edge labels this the “eureka” factor, because a person senses that “this, really, is what I had rather do for God than anything else in the world.”[xxiv]

The recipient should give confirmation. Testing should not be done in an autocratic or detached manner, but rather in close partnership with the recipient. This is called “action research” for it signifies research that is conducted with the active involvement of the recipient and their input. The recipient is not a guinea pig, but rather a soul formed in God’s image. As such, the recipient possesses valuable feedback for the minister.

The community of faith should give confirmation. When a leader operates with a God-given gifting, one that has been given “for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7) and “to serve others” (1 Peter 4:10), then the community of faith should perceive and appreciate that common good as well as the appropriateness of that service.

[i] Rod Stewart and Ron Wood, “Every Picture Tells a Story,” album by the same title (Los Angeles: Polygram Records, 1971)

[ii] Clinton, The Making of a Leader, 32.

[iii] See the definitions and Scriptural explanation of these gifts in Figure XX.X.

[iv] Leadership scholar Peter Northouse describes traits, abilities, skills and behaviors as the basic building blocks of leadership (Introduction to Leadership, 2-3). Traits are inherent and endowed qualities, abilities are aptitudes developed by experience, skills are methods for carrying out leadership, and behaviors are what leaders do with traits, abilities and skills. Northouse makes a persuasive argument that all leaders develop these elements of leadership. 1 Cor. 12:7, Eph. 4:7 and 1 Peter 4:10 appear to indicate that such predilections take on supernatural vigor when empowered by the Holy Spirit.

[v] James D. G. Dunn, Jesus and The Spirit: A Study in the Religious and Charismatic Experience of Jesus and the First Christians as Reflected in the New Testament (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1975), 205-209.

[vi] The author is indebted to Eddie Gibbs for this comparative structure from I Believe in Church Growth (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1981), 325.

[vii] Clinton, The Making of a Leader, 32.

[viii] Wagner holds that witnessing a gift in use in the Body of Christ verifies its legitimacy (Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow, 67). I disagree with Wagner here, who embraces in my view a too open-ended approach to spiritual gifts I find Wagner’s viewpoint interesting, and possibly supportable if there is spiritually mature verification (c.f. 1 Corinthians 12-14). However, this may be forcing the text to express too much from silence. I see the lack of comprehensive nature in the three gift lists suggesting other Biblically verifiable gifts, but not going so far as to support just any gift that appears in the Church. For more on a Scriptural three-criteria assessment of spiritual gifts, see Dunn, Jesus and The Spirit, 293-297.

[ix] 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). Note that the list tendered here is not definitive, nor exhaustive. Rather it is a codification of the above gift inventories and designed to provide a holistic list for Christian communities seeking to help travelers at Waypoint 2. For a chart of the gifts correlated with their Biblical attestations, see George Elton Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1974), 534-535.

[x] The gift of hospitality is often primarily associated, though erroneously, with church assimilation programs such as hosting newcomer tables, greeting church visitors, etc.. However, when the Scriptures discuss the gift of hospitality, something more radical and basic is indicated by the context. For example, Peter admonishes the church in 1 Peter 1:9 to offer hospitality in scenarios where grumbling might be the normal reaction. The context of Peter’s admonition (1 Peter 1:1-11) indicates that Peter is talking about giving hospitality not only to the Christians, but also to those that heap abuse upon Christians. Such radical hospitality means meeting what Maslow described as physiological and safety needs before that person is ready to have their needs met for belongingness and love met (Abraham H. Maslow, Motivation and Personality, p. 300-394; and Abraham H. Maslow, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature, p. 300).

[xi] This is a gift for which there are several interpretations. Assemblies of God writer Donald Gee sees the gift of knowledge as a supernatural forth-telling (Donald Gee, Concerning Spiritual Gifts [Springfield, Missouri: Gospel Publishing House, 1972). Others like Wagner (Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow) take a less supernatural route, noting that “those who have this gift are superior learners” (190). It is not this author’s intention to side with one interpretation over the other, for readers from various backgrounds and theology will use this book. Therefore, this book is designed to describe the gifts from varying perspectives, to allow the reader to embrace the interpretation that best fits their understanding, tradition and theology.

[xii] Here again there are several perspectives. For examples of the differences see Donald Gee’s Concerning Spiritual Gifts and Kinghorn’s Gifts of the Spirit.

[xiii] The gift of service is sometimes attached too exclusively to administrative tasks (Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow, 258), when in the context of verses such as 2 Tim. 1:16-18, the gift of service indicates organizing to meet the needs of all others. Thus, the gift of service should not be primarily a service to the church, but equally indicate serving the needs of those outside the church.

[xiv] This is another gift which has a more supernatural tenor in Donald Gee’s Concerning Spiritual Gifts. Kinghorn (Gifts of the Spirit) and Wagner (Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow) see the gift of wisdom differently, as those possessing insight and perception into problems and solutions.

[xv] See the United Methodist Church’s definition in “Explore Your Spiritual Gifts,” http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.1355371/k.9501/Spiritual_Gifts.htm, 2009.

[xvi] Regarding this gift, see Wagner’s Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow for a Charismatic viewpoint and Gee’s Concerning Spiritual Gifts for a Classical Pentecostal viewpoint on this gift.

[xvii] The Charismatic and Classical Pentecostal viewpoints are best described by Wagner in Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow, p. 256-257.

[xviii] 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

[xix] For the stories of five missionary martyrs, see Wagner, Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow, 62-63.

[xx] Some authors list craftsmanship and music as gifts of the Holy Spirit (c.f. Christian A. Schwarz, The 3 Colors of Ministry [St. Charles, Ill.: ChurchSmart Resources, 2001], 157), but these designations are actually sub-categories of artist. To use these sub-categories, ignores the important Scriptural attestations to the Old Testament artisans who worked in varied crafts and mediums. Thus, for a more holistic understanding artist better sums up this categorical gift. Needless to say, Sally Morgenthaler’s story illustrates the various permutations of what may be an artistic gifting.

[xxi]Ray Stedman, Body Life, (Ventura, Calif: Regal Books, 1972), 54.

[xxii] Richard Houts originally published his thoughts in Eternity Magazine (Philadelphia: Evangelical Foundation, 1976). He also penned the Houts Inventory of Spiritual Gifts: A Self-assessment Instrument to Help Ascertain Your Ministry Gift, or Gifts, And the Related Opportunities for Christian Service (Pasadena, Calif.: Fuller Evangelistic Association, 1985). Other authors have adapted the Houts questionnaire to specific audiences and denominational perspectives, including Ruth Towns and Elmer Towns, Women Gifted For Ministry: How To Discover And Practice Your Spiritual Gifts (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001); David Stark, Sandra Hirsch and Jane Kise, LifeKeys: Discovering Who Your Are (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 2005), Aubrey Malphurs, Maximizing Your Effectiveness (Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Books, 2006), 199-208; Larry Gilbert, Spiritual Gifts Inventory: Discover Your Spiritual Gift in Only 20 Minutes (Elkton, Maryland: Church Growth Institute, 1999); and specifically for teens Jane Kise and Kevin Johnson, Find Your Fit: Dare to Act on God’s Gift for You (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1999).

[xxiii] James D. G. Dunn, Jesus and The Spirit:, 291-300.

[xxiv] Findley B. Edge, The Greening of the Church (Dallas, Texas: Word, 1971), 141.

SPIRITUAL GIFTS & Links to the Most Popular & Diverse Inventories #WaypointsBook

Excerpted from Bob Whitesel, “Waypoint 2: Ministry Emergence” in Spiritual Waypoints: Helping Others Navigate the Journey (2010, pp. 195-197).

Spiritual Waypoints [104KB]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]

  1. Administration: Effective planning and organization (1 Cor. 2:28; Acts 6:1-7).
  2. Discernment: Distinguishing between error and truth (1 Cor. 12:10; Acts 5:1-11).
  3. Encouragement: Ability to comfort, console, encourage and counsel ( 12:8; Hebrews 10:25; Timothy 4:13).
  4. Evangelism: Building relationships that help travelers move toward a personal relationship with Christ (Luke 19:1-10; 2 Timothy 4:5).
  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)
  6. Giving: Cheerfully giving of resources without remorse (Romans 12:8; 2 Cor. 8:1-7, 9:2-8; Mark 12:41-44).
  7. 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).
  8. Intercession: Passionate, extended and effective prayer. (James 5:14-16, 1 Timothy 2:1-2; Colossians 1:9-12, 4:12-13).
  9. 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]
  10. Leadership: To cast vision, set goals and motivate to cooperatively accomplish God’ purposes (Luke 9:51; Romans 12:8; Hebrews 13:17).
  11. 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).
  12. 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).
  13. Helps: Investing time and talents in others to increase other’s effectiveness (1 Cor. 12:28, Rom. 16:1-2, Acts 9:36).
  14. 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).
  15. 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).
  16. 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).
  17. 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).
  18. 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).
  19. 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).
  20. 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).
  21. 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).
  22. 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).
  23. 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).
  24. Celibacy: To remain single with joy and not suffer undue sexual temptation (1 Cor. 7:7-8, Matt. 19:10-12).
  25. 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).

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[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