Lack Evidence of Spiritual Gifting?

All Gifted for Effectual Ministry but Some Lack Evidence of Spiritual GIfting

God gives believers spiritual gifts as His means of empowering them for the ministry He intends for them to do. While some may be unsure about what their spiritual gifts are, others may doubt if they’re even gifted.

The Bible says all believers have at least one spiritual gift.

Written in the context of spiritual gifting, we find verses like the following:

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

… he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Cor. 12:11)

But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them just as He wanted them to be. (1 Cor. 12:18)

God’s Word also exhorts us to use whatever gift He has given us. The following verse can’t be clearer about God’s endowment of at least one spiritual gift on “each” believer as well as His expectations about what “each one” of us is to do with that gift(s):

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others. (1 Pet. 4:10)

If all believers have at least one gift, why do some lack evidence of spiritual gifting?

The reason could differ from one person to another. Some possible reasons include:

  • ignorance about spiritual gifts and God’s design for the Body (1 Cor. 12:1)
  • disobedience (1 Pet. 4:10-11)
  • neglect (1 Tim. 4:14)
  • not in fellowship with the Lord (Jn. 15:4-5)
  • failure to develop their gift (2 Tim. 1:6)
  • lack of love which exhibits itself in self-centeredness (Jn. 14:15; 21:15-17; Gal. 5:13)

Each person needs to examine their own heart and take appropriate steps which could include learning more, repenting, equipping, or growing spiritually.

Everybody Has a Part: Getting a Grip on Spiritual Gifts
Learn More in the Everybody Has a Part: Getting a Grip on Spiritual Gifts Book. (Click image for info.)

How Many Spiritual Gifts Are There?

How Many Spiritual Gifts Listed in Bible

People frequently want to know how many gifts there are when learning about spiritual gifts. After researching it, they still may not be sure because different Bible scholars list varying numbers. Why?

How many spiritual gifts listed depends on the criteria being used.

1) Many look at the key passages on spiritual gifts (Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4) and limit the gifts to the ones listed therein — 20 gifts. Go to: List of Spiritual Gifts

However, you’ll find discrepancy even within that listing. Some people say the gifts of administration (1 Cor. 12:28) and leadership (Rom. 12:8) are the same gift. And, some claim service (Rom. 12:7) and helps (1 Cor. 12:28) are the same gift. That would then change the total number of gifts.

Consider this: If you look at the original Greek words used for the gifts listed in the key passages, each has distinct meanings. Why would different words be used if God didn’t intend for them to be unique gifts?

2) Some people add in craftsmanship and music because of the skilled people God brought in to help with the Old Testament tabernacle. Exodus 31 says God filled Bezalel “with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts …” From passages similar to that one, people have concluded that craftsmanship and music are spiritual gifts. Others stick with the gifts listed in the New Testament.

Consider this: We do not find actual references to spiritual gifts in the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit is not said to indwell people during that time like He does believers today. Yes, the Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:7-11) but just because the Spirit came upon the workers on the tabernacle doesn’t mean their skill should be considered a spiritual gift such as God gives to the Church today. Is it possible that those using craftsmanship to God’s glory are actually exercising the gift of service? Is it possible music is a vehicle for exercising the gift of exhortation?

3) Others will include intercession as a spiritual gift. One person who labels intercession as a spiritual gift does so because he can’t imagine it wouldn’t be since prayer is so important.

Consider this: God’s Word never identifies intercession as a spiritual gift. Could it be that prayer is a vehicle through which those with the gifts of faith, healing, or miracles operate?

4) And, some people add the possibility of a few other gifts — celibacy, hospitality, martyrdom, missionary, voluntary poverty — because the Greek word for spiritual gifts, charisma, can be found within the context of passages pertaining to them.

Consider this: Though not found in the primary passages about spiritual gifting, could the context of passages where these possible gifts are found open the door to them being gifts? Or, could it be that the word charisma appears in those passages for other reasons?

The exact number of spiritual gifts may not be known.

We must be careful about getting dogmatic on the number of gifts. God leaves it a little open-ended. If you look at the list of gifts in the three main passages, no list is the same. There is some overlap but each list has some gifts not listed in the others. No one list is comprehensive. Since no one passage is complete in itself, could it suggest that there are other gifts as well?

Rather than get consumed with the exact number of gifts, let’s make sure that whatever we do, whether using a spiritual gift or natural talent, that we do it through the strength and wisdom God provides and for His glory.


Bible Verses for Ministry Perseverance

Bible Verses for Ministry PerseverancePreviously we looked at how it is possible to persevere in ministry if we’re pulling on the right source to sustain and strengthen us.

If you’re struggling to persevere, take time to reflect on the following promises. Consider memorizing at least one verse that seems to most encourage you so you are able to recall it during moments of distress or discouragement.

Scripture Promises Related to Persevering:

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Rom. 5:3-4)

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Tim. 4:16)

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. (Heb. 10:36)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)

As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (James 5:11)

… he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. (2 Pet. 1:4-7)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Heb. 12:1-3)

Bible Verses about God sustaining us, making ministry perseverance possible:

You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great. (Ps. 18:35)

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. (Ps. 54:4)

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. (Ps. 55:22)

Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed. (Ps. 119:116)

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isa. 46:4)

Bible Verses about God strengthening us, enabling us to persevere in ministry.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (Jn. 15:4-5)

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:12-13)

How to Shepherd a Support Group

Training Category: Shepherding Ministry

Christian support groups can go well beyond helping people overcome addictions, cope with loss, and deal with other hurts and abuses. Support groups provide opportunity for spiritually shepherding its members. That happens when leaders, who serve as under-shepherds, guide people to the Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4) who cares in ways no one else can because He is good (Jn. 10:11), great (Heb. 13:20), and the guardian of our souls (Heb. 13:20-21).

Shepherding a Support Group Involves More Than Facilitating Group Time

The general responsibilities of a shepherd can well be applied to a support group leader who wishes to shepherd the members of the group.

Shepherding Responsibilities Apply to Support GroupsLoving the Sheep: Often people coming to support groups need an extra portion of love and grace.

Serving the Sheep: A leader who consistently serves without worrying about return will tend to make significant impact. In leading a support group, expect giving to be one way though the ultimate goal is for them to learn to reciprocate.

Being an Example to the Sheep: Telling people how to rise above is necessary but showing them how is when they will better understand. Telling people they need to walk the walk even when it hurts and give even when there is no return is important but modeling such behavior speaks to their hearts more than words ever could.

Leading the Sheep Gently: Tough love does not have to be gruff. Tough love should be filled with grace. Shepherds should never be quarrelsome or abusive with the sheep. Do not guise your own frustration and impatience with people as “tough love”.

Equipping the Sheep: A support group should not be to simply provide a place for people to vent their feelings. Rather, the objective should be to help people learn how to rise above and cope in healthy, God-honoring ways.

The Shepherding Ministry Manual contains the above content about how to shepherd a support group. It also includes the instruction at: Shepherding Ministry Venue: Support Groups

Certainly you can see how support group leaders who want to effectively shepherd must view their role as more than a group facilitator. They need the heart and mindset of a shepherd … specifically, of the Chief Shepherd.

For Materials You might Use in a Support Group, check out: Christian Support Group Resources: Books & Curriculum

Why Learn about Spiritual Gifts?

Learn about Spiritual Gifts in the Bible

God stresses the importance of spiritual gifts as evidenced by the amount of space given to this topic in the New Testament. If something matters to God, shouldn’t it also be important to us? If that doesn’t convince you of why you should learn about spiritual gifting, there are some other reasons.

3 Good Reasons to Learn About Spiritual Gifts

  1. Spiritual gifts are part of God’s design for the growth of the church.

God designed the church to grow as everybody does their part according to Ephesians 4:16. Click below to read more about this verse:

  1. Spiritual gifts are God’s power source for us to do ministry.

When we use the gifts we have been given, God is at work (1 Cor. 12:6). “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. …” (1 Pet. 4:10-11) Click below to read about God’s power needed to effectively serve.

  1. Spiritual gifts have pragmatic value.

Needs are met when we serve one another through the use of our spiritual gifts. Effective ministry therefore demands that we understand and use our gifts. Click below to read more about the practical side of everybody doing their part in this way.

Check Out: Resources to Learn about Spiritual Gifts


How can Busy Sunday School Teachers Do It All?

Training Category: Shepherding Ministry

While Sunday School obviously provides a platform for Bible teaching, it also can be a good venue for Shepherding Ministry. Check out the following articles for all a shepherd has to tend to in addition to feeding:

General Responsibilities of a Shepherd
Specific Duties of a Shepherd

But, can we expect already busy Sunday School teachers to do it all?

Simply put, the teacher CAN’T do it all. To adequately prepare a lesson, get to know the students, and spend a lot of one-on-one time meeting needs is too much for today’s busy teachers.

As with any kind of shepherding ministry, Sunday School teachers need to enlist the help of others. Some possible ways of networking to share the load could include the following:

  1. Develop a resource list of referrals within the church and also outside of the church to help with specific needs.
  2. Recruit helpers to do some of the work such as preparing visuals, setting up the classroom, keeping records, etc. to free you up to do some relationship building and shepherding.
  3. Equip members of the class to use their spiritual gifts to help serve and meet the needs of one another.
  4. Encourage members of the class to live out the one another commands of Scripture among each other.
  5. Pair up the more mature students with the less mature students to help with discipling and mentoring.
  6. Connect those going through loss or difficult struggles with others in the class or church who have had similar experiences.
  7. Build margins into your schedule so your time is not so consumed that you cannot possibly be available to your students in times of emergency or great need.
  8. Pray, pray, and pray some more. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:5-6).

Shepherding Ministry Manual Includes Sunday SchoolThe Shepherding Ministry Manual contains the above suggestions for Sunday School. It also contains content from the following articles, as well as some questions to guide you in thinking about improvements you might make to your church’s Sunday School ministry.

You May Also Find This Resource Helpful: Time Management for Teachers Worksheet