As we saw in our sermon from Eph. 4:7-16, spiritual gifts play an important role in building up the body of Christ and demonstrating Christ's glorious victory among his people. Christ gives his church all of his fullness, but he measures out his grace among each one of his body so that his fullness is only experienced as part of the whole.
The Motivational Gifts
In Romans 12, we see Paul record a list of spiritual “gifts” (grace-gifts), and he says to each believer, “use them.” At Oak Hill, we sometimes call this list the “motivational gifts” because they describe how God has transformed your motivations as he made you a new creation in Christ. They are distinct from talents or personality traits that any unbeliever might be given, and they are to be used for the Kingdom purposes of God to build up the body of Christ. We teach that every believer should be able to find a particular spiritual gift in this list that uniquely motivates them.
Read Romans 12:1-8, then read through the following descriptions of the spiritual gifts described. Prayerfully consider how God changed you through the gospel and how he equipped you through your conversion with a spiritual gift, seeking to identify what that gift is. Consider how God has already effectively used you to build up others in the body. Often your spiritual gift will be evidenced in a new motivation in serving God that was not otherwise naturally present or as strong. Note: these gifts do not determine what “ministry” you do, but rather how you approach any opportunity for service.
The Ministry Gifts
In addition to the motivational gifts, Paul lists a set of "ministry gifts" in Ephesians 4:11. These gifts are not given to every person in the church, though they benefit every person by mobilizing all the members of the body in five different parts of Christ's agenda. They appear to be assigned to a person who is then given to the church to equip the saints in that specific type of ministry. So the one who is an evangelist is called to both proclaim the gospel and to equip others in evangelism because we do not all have the gift, but we are all called to evangelize. It should also be noted that these spiritual gifts and not to be equated with an "office" in the church such as the office of "Apostle" (which phased out as those who witnessed the risen Christ died) or the office of "elder" (meaning that believers who do not hold this office may still be gifted to equip other believers in these areas).
Even though these ministry gifts are not given to everyone, you should not assume that you do not have one! You also should understand that you need equipped in all five of these parts of Christ's agenda. If you do happen to see a supernatural motivation and ability in one of these areas, that is a gift of God’s grace (so you cannot boast!), and he has given that gift to you to both lead out in the exercise of that gift and to equip others in it as well.
Read Eph. 4:1-16, then read through the following descriptions of the spiritual gifts described. Prayerfully consider if God has equipped you with one of these gifts. Then consider how he wants you to use the gift for the building up of his body and the equipping of his church. Also ask if there is a specific part of his agenda in which you feel like you need more equipped, and seek out the right people to do it.
At Oak Hill, we say that spiritual gifts are:
Discovered in Practice - We don't typically like to use spiritual gift assessments because they say more about what you want your gift to be, or even how you are feeling on a particular day, than they do about your spiritual gift. The truth is you discover your gift as you serve others.
Confirmed in Community - Ask other believers who know you well what they think your spiritual gift might be, especially if you already have a sense of how you might be spiritually motivated. Make sure to ask people whom you can trust to "speak the truth in love."
Expressed in Service - Once you know your spiritual gift, you can fan it into flame through even more service. It will not necessarily determine where you serve, but it will guide how you serve as you rely on the Spirit.
In all this, the key is that we look to the source of the gifts. He is the one gifting and directing, and he has prepared good works before the foundation of the world for us to walk in. Let's live out the glorious reality of the church as members one of another.