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Discovering ministry gifts

When people understand their gifts and abilities and are permitted to use them, satisfaction, fulfillment, and effective ministry result.


Programs are created for people not vice versa. Ministries arise because God gives talents and resources to people, but people are not born merely to perpetuate programs. Therefore it is reasonable to believe that God's plan is to develop ministry around the gifts of a person and not to develop a person to fit a position or ministry. The Scriptures say that a man's gift will make room for him. A ministry will not force a person into a mold.

Paul encouraged Timothy to understand his gift and to use it. Consequently Timothy was effective because he ministered through the gifts God had given him.

Many Christians serve out of guilt, obligation, or fear. Or they do not serve at all. People cannot serve effectively if they feel guilty refusing or if they feel obligated or afraid they will jeopardize relationships with the people who asked them.

Further burnout, frustration, and apathy occur when people aren't serving in areas compatible with their gifts. Of course, the Word says, Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10, NIV). Still, when people understand their gifts and abilities and are permitted to use them, satisfaction, fulfillment, and effective ministry result.

How can we help people discover their places of ministry using their God-given gifts? There are numerous evaluation tools and questionnaires to help people discover their ministry gifts. Because the Scriptures are not explicit regarding the number of gifts, there is a variety of doctrinal positions concerning ministry gifts. It is helpful, however, to use a tool to help people find their places in ministry. The first of the following questionnaires was developed by Ed Weising, former Christian education director for the Northwest District. Permission is given for you to duplicate both questionnaires for your congregation.

Ministry Gifts Discovery Questionnaire

Instructions: Read each question to decide the degree to which the statement is true or false in your life. Then selecting from the following choices, write the numeral that represents your answer next to the question.

1 Never
2 Usually false
3 Partially true or false
4 Usually true
5 Always true

This test is to evaluate your past and present experiences, not future hopes and dreams.

  1. I am known for my directness and frankness in speaking to people about their spiritual lives.
  2. I am eager to pitch in and help when a menial task involving an individual or a group needs to be done.
  3. I love to research topics with the purpose of presenting what I discover in writing or orally to a group.
  4. I enjoy encouraging and comforting others who are going through trying times.
  5. I am among the first to give to a worthy cause.
  6. I enjoy coordinating the activities of others to reach a common goal.
  7. I am a caregiver. I want to ease the pain of people in distress.
  8. It hurts me deeply when I see Christians living sinful lives or not living up to their true potentials. I am not afraid to confront them about these things when I have an opportunity.
  9. I am good with my hands and have excellent physical stamina.
  10. It upsets me greatly when a speaker uses a Bible verse out of context.
  11. People with problems seem drawn to me, and they often ask me to help them resolve their problems.
  12. I try to be careful in managing my money so I can give more to the Lord's work.
  13. I enjoy leading a group of people to do something for God.
  14. I am concerned for the helpless (i.e. babies, young children, the retarded, the infirmed, the underprivileged, the sick).
  15. When I speak to a group or sit in a church service, I am concerned that people have an opportunity to find Christ or to straighten out their lives.
  16. I prefer to help wherever I am needed most in the church instead of accepting a regular ministry.
  17. When people ask me an important question about spiritual things, I tend to give them an involved answer and not a simple one because I do not want them to misunderstand. If I don't have an answer, I promise to do research and get back to them.
  18. When others share problems with me, I can visualize goals and the steps of action they need to take.
  19. I can make quick decisions about helping others who are in need.
  20. I can get others to work to get a job done for God.
  21. I am very sensitive about how others feel.
  22. I have a profound sense of right and wrong, and it hurts me deeply when I hear of people being treated unjustly or unfairly.
  23. I prefer to busy myself behind the scenes at a social gathering.
  24. I enjoy communicating God's truth to people, and I do so in a systematic, orderly way.
  25. I tend to forget time when listening to others sharing their hurts.
  26. I have no trouble tithing -- even giving beyond my tithe -- and I am concerned about Christians who don't tithe.
  27. I tend to assume leadership, organize, and delegate responsibility if no assigned leader exists in a group.
  28. I can identify with and comfort those who are suffering.
  29. I am insightful about people. l seem to know when there is something wrong in another Christian's life or when a group needs to be corrected.
  30. I often am called upon to help . I fix something or help with a task.
  31. I do not enjoy small talk. l enjoy a good discussion on ideas or truths in God's Word.
  32. When someone is hurting, I am able to say something that comforts him.
  33. I am greatly moved when I hear about a missionary project or missionary in need, and I try to rally others to support the project.
  34. I react inwardly when church business is not done in an orderly fashion.
  35. I enjoy visiting those who are hospitalized or shut-in.

Total your responses to the following sets of questions. The sums will indicate which of the following gifts is likely to be yours. For instance, if your highest total is in response to questions 5, 12, 19, 26, and 33 your gift is apt to be in giving.

1, 8, 15, 22, 29 = Prophecy
2, 9, 16, 23, 30 = Serving
3, 10, 17, 24, 31 = Teaching
4, 11, 18, 25, 32 = Exhortation
5, 12, 19, 26, 33 = Giving
6, 13, 20, 27, 34 = Leadership
7, 14, 21, 28, 35 = Mercy

Each gift area has a variety of ministry opportunities. For example, a person with a gift for serving could be a host/hostess, nursery attendant, member of a social committee, or greeter. Members of the Body, which is available free from the national Sunday School Department suggests ideas of areas of service for each gift.

After a person has completed the first questionnaire, he is then ready to move to the second.

Passion/Interest Questionnaire

1. List your passions, interests, and desires in order of preference. What do you really enjoy doing?

  1. ______________________________________
  2. ______________________________________
  3. ______________________________________
  4. ______________________________________
  5. ______________________________________

2. In the lines below, list five ways you have served in or through the church, beginning with the most recent.

  1. ______________________________________
  2. ______________________________________
  3. ______________________________________
  4. ______________________________________
  5. ______________________________________

3. On a scale of 1 to 5 rate each of the areas ( 1 = little satisfaction and enjoyment; 5 = great) as to your sense of satisfaction and personal enjoyment.

4. On the same scale rate each of the areas as to the level of results or accomplishment.

5. Rate each area as to the degree of affirmation and approval you received.

6. Of all the areas in which you have served, where did (do) you serve the best?

  1. ______________________________________
  2. ______________________________________
  3. ______________________________________
  4. ______________________________________
  5. ______________________________________

7. List the three areas in which you received the highest scores on your Ministry Gifts Discovery Questionnaire.

  1. ______________________________________
  2. ______________________________________
  3. ______________________________________

8. Based on your ministry gifts, personal satisfaction, results, and what others say affirming your effectiveness, how and where do you feel you can best serve in the church?

  1. ______________________________________
  2. ______________________________________
  3. ______________________________________
  4. ______________________________________
  5. ______________________________________

9. Considering your time, talents, ministry opportunity, and what the Lord is saying to you, how will you serve Him in the next 6 months?

In the next year?

What kind of time commitment are you willing to make each week for ministry?

__________ hours per week.

God's plan for His body is for each Christian to find a place of service and ministry for His glory. The church and Sunday school are only as effective as the collective ministries of those involved. Each person who discovers his ministry gifts and uses them for God's glory makes your church and Sunday school sing an anthem of praise to the King of kings!


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