- Biblical and Theological Perspectives on Spiritual Gifts
- Spiritual Gifts Inventory, Print and Online (for purchase)
- Spiritual Gifts Inventory, Web-based (free)
- Related Ministry Resources
It is often difficult to separate literature on spiritual gifts from material on the bigger picture of Member Involvement through Gift-Based Ministry. Many resources on spiritual gifts, including inventories, are focused on gift discovery, but do not deal extensively with how to take members from the point of discovery to ministry involvement. The resources in this guide fit better into that category.
Many church leaders desire more comprehensive approaches that combine gift discovery with systems for mobilizing members into ministry, as well as how to organize ministry systems on the congregational level. These are listed in a completely separate resource guide on Ministry Involvement and Gift-Based Ministry. Certainly these two areas are related, and anyone interested in this topic will probably consult both guides. See also the related guides on Greeting and New Member Integration, Managing Volunteers, Ministry Teams. and Missional Lifestyle, Discipleship, and Spirituality.
Follow the links to the resources below for more detailed summaries. See also the list at the bottom of the page on related Ministry Resource Guides.
Biblical and Theological Perspectives on Spiritual Gifts
Theology is a missing component in today’s discussions on spiritual gifts. Many approaches center around self-discovery, self-affirmation and self-fulfillment. These are healthy in themselves, but at times these emphases place a layer of self-interest over our interpretation of the New Testament witness on spiritual gifts. In contrast, passages such as 1 Corinthians 12-14, Ephesians 4 and Romans 12 reveal a focus not on spiritual gifts but upon spiritual persons, i.e. spirituality expressed through servant-minded dedication to fulfilling God’s mission and building up the body of Christ.
Certainly spiritual maturity is partially contingent on each person using his or her gifts. Also, the ineffectiveness of today’s church is due in part to a failure to unleash the body of Christ into Spirit-directed ministry through the gifts of the people. That said, our pursuit of gift-based ministry should be governed less by frustration or self-interest and more upon a sound theology of servanthood. Toward that end, I suggest the following resources.
I have listed them in two categories: 1) Theologies of the Work of the Holy Spirit, which place spiritual gifts in a larger theological context; and 2) Theologies of Spiritual Gifts.
Theologies on the Work of the Holy Spirit:
- D. A. Carson, Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14 — An excellent scholarly work focused exclusively on 1 Corinthians 12-14, with special emphasis on tongues and prophecy.
- Gordon D. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul, also Paul, The Spirit, and the People of God — The most frequently consulted Pentecostal/Charismatic scholar on the subject of the Holy Spirit in the letters of Paul, with several insights on spiritual gifts.
- J. I. Packer, Keep in Step With the Spirit: Finding Fullness in our Walk With God, Second Enlarged Edition — Provides helpful insight into spiritual gifts through the rubric of an even-handed critique of the charismatic movement.
Theologies of Spiritual Gifts (in suggested order):
- Bryan Carraway, Spiritual Gifts: Their Purpose and Power – Probably the best popular level overview of spiritual gifts. Offers his own centrist view between charismatics to cessationists, and tries to capture the best of the gift-discovery movement while avoiding the excessive self-focus that often characterizes this genre.
- Kenneth S. Hemphill, You are Gifted: Your Spiritual Gifts and the Kingdom of God – Looks at spiritual gifts as it relates to ministry through the biblical texts of 1 Corinthians 12-14, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4. Also links to Hemphill, Mirror, Mirror.
- Kenneth Berding, What are Spiritual Gifts?: Rethinking the Conventional View – Contrasts the conventional view of searching for individualized spiritual gifts with the perspective of first discerning how one may best serve.
Other Works on Spiritual Gifts:
- Henry Blackaby and Mel Blackaby, What’s So Spiritual About Your Gifts? — Suggests a sequence of God’s unique assignment or calling, which is followed by supernatural empowerment.
- Lawrence O. Richards and Gib Martin, A Theology of Personal Ministry: Spiritual Giftedness in the Local Church – An older standard work on the subject, still referred to in most lists. A supplement to the volumes listed above.
Spiritual Gifts Inventory, Print and Online (for purchase)
- Uniquely You in Christ, Mels Carbonell, Ph.D. — Some of the most comprehensive sets of gifts assessment tools available, including instruments for youth, parents, and for those unfamiliar with church. Many of the profiles combine spiritual gifts with DISC personality styles.
- Life Keys Series, Jane Kise – A popular blend of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and spiritual gifts.
- God-Given Gifts Series, Don and Katie Fortune – An interesting categorization of gifts based on the major New Testament lists: the manifestation gifts (1 Cor. 12), the ministry gifts (Eph. 4), and the motivational gifts (Rom. 12).
- Phyllis Bennett and Traci Mullins, Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts. Zondervan, 1998. A six-session interactive Bible study from the Women of Faith series.
- Jim Burns and Doug Fields. The Word on Finding and Using Your Spiritual Gifts. Regal Books, 1999.
- Lloyd Edwards, Discerning Your Spiritual Gifts. Cowley Publications, 1997.
- Kenneth C. Kinghorn, Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts: A Personal Inventory Method. Zondervan, 1984. Pentecostal, a unique personal inventory method.
- David P. Mayer, Our Gifts: Identifying and Developing Leaders. Augsburg Fortress, 2002. Designed to develop lay leadership in the congregation through experience, example, feedback, learning, and teaching.
- J. E. O’Day, Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts. InterVarsity Press, 1985.
- Charles F. Stanley, Ministering Through Spiritual Gifts. Thomas Nelson, 1999.
- R. Paul Stevens, Spiritual Gifts. InterVarsity Press, 2004.
- Ruth and Elmer Towns, Women Gifted for Ministry: How to Discover and Practice Your Spiritual Gifts. Thomas Nelson, 2001.
- Jean Morris Trumbauer, Created and Called: Discovering Our Gifts for Abundant Living. Augsburg Fortress, 1998
- Jean Morris Trumbauer, Sharing the Ministry: A Practical Guide for Transforming Volunteers into Ministers. Augsburg Fortress, 1995.
- Alvin J. Vander Griend, Discover Your Gifts: And Learn How to Use Them, 3rd Edition. Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2008 Also Discover Your Gifts Leader’s Guide.
- Ruth Vander Zee, Discover Your Gifts: And Learn How to Use Them (Youth Version). Faith Alive Christian Resources, 1998. Designed for junior high and high school students.
- Peter C. Wagner, Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow. Regal Books, 2005. Also a Small Group Study Guide based on the book and the corresponding Finding Your Spiritual Gifts Questionnaire.
Spiritual Gifts Inventory, Web-based (free)
- Ephesians Four Ministries and Church Growth Institute. Personalized Spiritual Gifts Analysis (Web-based)
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Finding Your Spiritual Gifts Assessment, Evangelizing Church Project (Web-based)
- SpiritualGiftsTest.com – Adult Version and Youth Version.
Related Ministry Resources
See Other Ministry Resources on Ministry Involvement:
- Gift-Based Ministry, Involvement
- Greeting and New Member Integration
- Managing Volunteers
- Congregational Ministry Teams
- Spiritual Gifts
See Other Ministry Resources on Church Leadership and Renewal:
See Resources on Over 100 Areas of Christian Ministry: