“What does my spiritual gift profile tell you?”* Michael asked. Michael was eager for any insights that could help him more effectively lead his church-planting team.
We began with his strongest gift. “Your gift of compassion means you are especially attuned to people’s emotions. You care passionately about helping people feel better and protecting their feelings.”
Michael agreed this was accurate.
“Now let’s look at where you’re least gifted: prophecy. Prophets (sometimes called perceivers) speak God’s truth to others. They tend to be more black and white. Prophets call us to repent and avoid compromise, to do what’s right and avoid what’s wrong. According to your profile, that isn’t your strength.”
Again, Michael agreed.
“Your compassion is a great asset in church planting, because people sense how much you care. The flip side is that you are vulnerable to being a people-pleaser. And because you don’t have the gift of prophecy, you will at times be tempted to ignore what’s right or maybe even lie to protect people’s feelings or make them feel better. So it’s critical that your team include someone with the gift of prophecy, and that you ask that person to hold you accountable when you are tempted to operate in people-pleaser mode.”
“Wow!” Michael said. “That’s so me! And the good news is, one of my team members has that gift, and he does call me on it whenever I’m tempted to compromise principle.”
There’s a missing piece in how many of us think about spiritual gifts. We know it’s helpful to know what our gifts are so we can use them intentionally (Romans 12:6-8). But here’s what we get wrong: we tend to view areas of non-gifting as weaknesses. We may even feel guilty about them and try to turn them into strengths.
When we do that, we sabotage God’s design. The Spirit gives each of us certain gifts and intentionally withholds others. Why? So, “the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’” (1 Cor. 12:21 NIV).
God designed the body for interdependence. The gifts God withholds are not flaws, but part of my spiritual DNA. While I sometimes can and should develop some basic skills in areas of non-giftedness, I mostly need to recognize those areas as pointers to who God wants me to partner with.
Michael needs to partner with someone with the gift of prophecy. I need to partner with people who have the gifts of serving and compassion. You need to partner with people who are gifted where you are not. Not because you are flawed, but because God designed you for team ministry.
- In which of the areas listed in Romans 12:6-8 (sometimes called motivational gifts) are you least gifted?
- Are you intentionally partnering with people gifted in those areas? Do you need to pray for new teammates?
* Our team uses the Discover Your Gifts test (discoveryourgifts.org).