Spiritual Gifts Assessment
Taking a spiritual gifts assessment assists Christians in understanding the specific areas of ministry for their talents. Biblical scholars across denominational lines appear to agree that all Christians have at least one God-given gift that is to be used in service to others and for His glory. Often, believers have difficulty identifying their own talents. Several churches and other Christian organizations have developed websites that offer a spiritual gifts survey that individuals can complete to discover their strengths. Four specific Biblical passages provide the foundation for teachings about spiritual gifts, namely Romans 12:1-12; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31; Ephesians 4:1-15; and 1 Peter 4:7-14. The apostle Paul instructed the Corinthian church that: "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal" (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). The apostle Peter wrote, "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (1 Peter 4:10). These verses suggest that God gives every Christian a specific gift of service to be used in ministering to others.
Some of the listed gifts are considered supernatural, such as speaking in tongues, prophesying, and miracles of healing. Churches differ in their beliefs on whether these manifestations occur today or if they were limited to the early church and ended soon after the apostolic age. This ongoing theological controversy is avoided when the assessment providers exclude questions about supernatural gifts in the questionnaires. Most assessments focus on identifying Christian qualities, such as faith, wisdom, or discernment, and an individual's personal strengths and talents that can be used in ministry, service, and other activities designed to glorify God. For example, skills in leadership, administration, or hospitality may be highlighted in the results. Most people know when they have a visible talent such as a good singing voice or the ability to play musical instruments. Even so, a spiritual gifts assessment may include questions to help identify this type of gift.
The assessments vary in the number and complexity of the questions and in their scoring methods. The questions are actually statements that test-takers answer either yes or no or on a scale, perhaps from zero to five, depending on the degree the statement reflects their current thoughts and activities. To gauge an individual's level of hospitality, for instance, a test may have a statement like this: I enjoy having people over to my house, even on short notice. The scoring mechanism may be a simple yes or no. But the better assessments provide a range so that tendencies emerge. For the hospitality statement with a zero to five scoring range, for example, a zero might mean "totally disagree" and a five would mean "totally agree." By answering multiple questions designed to determine both strengths and weaknesses of several different gifts, the final analysis provides relevant information on the areas most suited to the test-taker's interests and abilities.
Because a spiritual gifts survey is actually a self-analysis of an individual's strengths and interests, there are no right or wrong answers. The questions or statements should be answered as honestly as possible to get a helpful result. This is no time to feel guilty because an honest response might shock other people. It may be hard to check a low number on an evangelism question because Christians know how vital it is to share God's Word with others. On the flip side, neither is this the time for undue humility. A person with strong writing skills or obvious musical talent should not mistake objectivity with pride. It's just as important to take a high score for the statements that reflect a person's strengths as it is to accept a low score for weaknesses. Skewing the results out of a fear of pride or undue guilt only hinders the spiritual gifts assessment process.
Scoring mechanisms vary according to the design of the spiritual gifts survey. The test-taker may be given directions for scoring his or her own analysis after it is completed. The test may be assessed by an automated program after it is submitted and the results may either be available immediately or sent to the individual's email address. It's not unusual for the survey host to request such personal information as the individual's name and email address and to ask permission to add the person to the group's mailing list for newsletters or other information. Each person will need to decide whether the receiving the results is worth providing the requested information. The format of the results also differs between different groups that offer assessments. Some suggest ways the identified strengths and talents can be used in ministry. Others provide personalized reports about the most dominant gifts that emerge from the answers given on the survey.
Taking a spiritual gifts survey is only a single step on the path to Christian service and maturity. The results guide the individual to an understanding of both strengths and weaknesses. Taking two or more analyses can confirm specific talents, but may also prove confusing when one assessment shows, for instance, exhortation as a strength and another lists it as a weakness. Guidance from a person's trusted friends and mentors can provide clarity on such contradictions. Seeking God's will through reading His Word and in prayer also confirm the avenues that He has prepared for service. In fact, spending time with the Bible and in prayer may be the best spiritual gifts assessment of all.
Spiritual CounselingBiblical counseling is using the Bible as a means to finding purpose in life, living a life that is abundant in joy (even in difficult circumstances), and using the Lord and godly men and women as a source of comfort and healing. Since the fall of man, life on earth has been a difficult journey to maneuver; some difficulties are results of our own choices while others difficulties just seem to happen for no apparent reason. Relationships between friends, marital partners, families, and business associates are difficult to manage and maintain over the course of time and many turn to outside help to get perspective and to obtain the tools needed to manage the emotional upheavals that plague the life of every person. Professional counselors are abundant today, offering a listening ear and objective advice. While these well-trained and helpful professionals offer many resources and guidance, the Bible claims that the Lord Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor and that the Word of God can bring healing to any situation. Spiritual counseling offered by godly men and women and professional Christian Counselors addresses the entire being of a person: the emotional, the spiritual, and the physical. Before there was ever such a thing as a Licensed Professional Counselor, the Bible was bringing truth and comfort to thousands who experienced the same traumatic circumstances that the people of today face.
To comfort someone is to soothe in distress and to bring consolation or hope. The Bible claims that our God is the God of all comfort, not just our counsel or guide. Through his tender methods of guiding us through life, He also provides healing and hope. Comfort is found not in the absence of pain but in the midst of it. "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort" (2 Corinthians 1:3). Biblical counseling can not only open our eyes to the truth of any given matter, but can also serve to usher in the presence of the Almighty God who extends a soothing touch. "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you: and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem." (Isaiah 66:13) Through this passage we come to understand that God actually desires to extend comfort, just as a parent longs to comfort a crying child. Experiencing times of troubles and tribulations are opportunities to experience the God of all comfort. Spiritual counseling teaches the counselled to turn to this magnificent source of super-natural emotional healing and experience a mighty force with a gentle touch of love. For more important issues like encouragement, faith, and God's love, visit our Bible resources.
And in understanding that the Lord God desires to heal and comfort those who are hurting, we can begin to glimpse purpose in our pain. In the book of Philippians, chapter four, we discover that the Lord also offers a peace that surpasses all understanding. This peace, we are told, cannot be found in temporary earthly things or relationships. The peace God offers is unexplainable and an experience that no secular advice or guidance can compare to. Through biblical counseling, we find that peace is not the absence of pain. We would not be offered a Comforter or supernatural peace, or need it, if our lives were perfect with unending bliss. When we have pain and suffering, we have a God who draws very near. And, it is in the pain and suffering that we discover more about Him, experience the Lord in new ways, and become empowered to carry Christ's message of hope to others. "Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (2 Corinthians 1:4).
Those who are not yet familiar enough with the Bible to immediately access the many promises of God that apply to every situation in life, may want to first seek the help of godly counsel. The Bible explains that spiritual counseling offered by the mature Christian is one way to keep a healthy perspective on circumstances and on life. "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful" (Psalm 1:1). Any man or woman who wants to experience the healing touch of the most powerful source in the universe will not want to seek advice from others just because they are successful, popular, or claiming to have answers. The man or woman who follows Christ will also not let pride stand in the way of reaching out for Christian biblical counseling. Christians must understand that life is a process and that we always have more to learn about the glory of our God and how our lives play out within His plans. Sharing our troubles with one another is biblical.
Anyone who is in the midst of a struggle can find compassion and hope by seeking spiritual counseling. Biblical counseling will also offer those seeking the opportunity to grow in Christ, the opportunity of maturing to a level where they can, in turn, help another person someday. The Word of God commands that Christians comfort and encourage one another, being the very body of Christ to those in need. To discover more about Christian counsel and how Jesus can become a source of healing, click the link above and take the quiz.