The Bible reveals that God has given you certain spiritual gifts. Would you like to know what they are? Read on!

In Spiritual Gifts Reimagined (SGR), I critique the “how-to” approach taught by the popular view of gifts. I believe that view has made gifts all about what you do. It says little to nothing about how the ways you serve (your gifts) connect with who you uniquely are.

The popular view also applies the “how-to” approach to the question of how to discover what your gifts are. You may respond, “What’s wrong with that?” In this blog, I’m about to tell you how to discover your gifts according to The Journey View. The popular “how-to” approach, however, is highly non-relational: it usually focuses on taking a test. The Journey View points to loving relationships as the environment for gift discovery.

I don’t think the popular view is all wrong. There’s a place for talking about the specific activities we do as we serve with our gifts. And the use of tests can sometimes be helpful. It’s a matter of emphasis. So here’s how that all shakes out in The Journey View.

Think of it like a target archers use when practicing with their bow and arrows—a target with three rings.  This target represents discovering your spiritual gifts.  You want to know the specific ways God has gifted you!  In the outer ring are some helpful ideas; in the middle ring are some even better ideas; but in the bullseye—that’s where you’ll hit gold in terms of discovering how you’re gifted.

So what is in each of these rings? In the outer ring are spiritual gift tests. There might also be tests that measure other aspects of your personality, strengths, and characteristics. The value of these instruments is that, among all the different types of people there are, you can clarify what category you’re in. This knowledge can be insightful and encouraging, and can help teams function better. But the focus is on knowledge and categories, and what we find in the other rings goes beyond that.

In the middle ring is serving. Some writers on the topic of gifts emphasize that if you will just dive into serving others, such as in your church, you will discover the specific ways you’re gifted to serve. The idea is that you’ll be quite effective in some serving roles, and not so effective in others. There’s a lot of wisdom in that, and it goes beyond just getting the head knowledge that tests can give you. It also tunes you into other people rather than just thinking about your own gifts.

So with tests you can clarify the categories you’re in, and through serving you can use trial and error to find specific ministries you fit well in. But consider this:

  1. You are a unique human being, not just a member of a category
  2. God wants to use the unique gifted you, not just your deeds, to impact others
  3. Where you’re at in your growth journey affects your gifted serving of others

You are not simply a Christian who’s had some new abilities (called spiritual gifts) added to you. The whole you God created is a unique expression of himself. As that unique expression you can have an amazing impact on others for God’s glory. But because of sin and immaturity, all of us must grow into that amazing expression of God we each are.

The bullseye for spiritual gift discovery is loving relationships because it’s in those deeper relationships that your uniqueness becomes seen, affirmed, and celebrated.  It’s in those truth-in-love relationships (Eph 4:15) that we learn how to impact others by sharing our authentic Christlike selves with them. And it’s in those vulnerable relationships that others will fight for us as we fight the necessary battles in our own growth journeys.

In SGR I explain how Scripture teaches that gifting is a journey. And in each of the main New Testament sections about gifts, agape love relationships are highlighted. They are the bullseye for spiritual gift discovery and development, and I devote many pages in SGR to explaining how those relationships work. Check it out, talk to your pastor about this idea, and let’s together grow into our gifts!

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