Spiritual Gifts DNA

Your Spiritual Gifts weren't meant to be used in isolation.

Yes, they are individual to you in expression, they serve a bigger purpose as described in Ephesians 4:

Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.

However, whom God calls into a community isn't going to meet a text-book distribution. Most leaders, however, have no idea what the makeup, the Spiritual Gift DNA, of their people are. Without knowing that, you are flying blind.

I thought I would share mine.

I have a readership/community who subscribe to my teachings, and a good percentage of them have joined my IGNITE online community.

I will say that I have not found out how to spend enough time to really activate the community and it is something I am still leaning into. Part of it is just time: since I'm not a religious professional, I cultivate my community in between work, teaching, and serving in the local church.

Anyway, on the left is a picture of who my readership/community is based on a sample of those who filled out my short 20-question "spiritual gift assessment."

Side note: as I share in my online course on spiritual gifts, I believe the assessment is just the beginning. There are deeper exercises one takes to really discern the mix and makeup. But the assessment does help directionally.

The real gains in life, however, come from acting on and developing your spiritual gifts. This is where most ministries fall short, and I am working to develop. Spiritual Gifts can come to life in the real-world in genuine, practical ways at work, in relationships, and in leadership.

So how do I interpret this spiritual gifts "DNA"?

Well, my community is strong in the Prophetic and in Shepherding. The Prophet/Shepherd axis is a powerful dynamic that most churches get wrong to their detriment. And it is usually because the leader leans one way and hasn't cultivated balance.

The benefit of a heavy Prophetic community is that, when properly trained, they keep the leaders aligned with God's word. This is surprisingly a more necessary task than one would hope. I had been at a church where the lead pastor slow "driifted" but he didn not equip prophets to speak because he did not want to hear. So when I start to press into his teaching, he couldn't receive it (his church just closed and he moved out of the city).

Prophets are the ones who addressed leaders and confronted them: Nathan confronted David; Moses faced off with Prophet; I'd argue Esther had the gift of the Prophet in confronting her King; Jonah to the King of Nineveh; and of course Jesus, himself, who confronted leaders and servants alike to repent and belief.

A community this heavy on Prophets can also have challenges: Prophets are not good at relationships compared to the others. Their focus is on the "truth" and sometimes see too much of the "bad" in people.

This is the opposite of the Shepherds, who are more comfortable in the gray area of the truth for the sake of maintaining the relationship. They enjoy the 1:1 and often think about the care-and-feeding of the lost and hurting.

But Shepherds, of all the five gifts, can often be the most passive and indirect.

Shepherds can balance out the truth and call for repentance of the Prophets. Prophets can spur Shepherds out of passivity, but will have great difficulty without the partying Evangelists.

So from a cultural DNA perspective, I have a strong axis of a call to repentance and desire for truth, and then a caring-and-feeding. The problem is caring and feeding isn't enough in the face of our sin. We need hope in Christ clearly and compellingly articulated. of the ways to address this is for me to begin to activate this more. By sharing more hope and less Truth (which is my own tendency and gifting).

Truth will need to keep and activate the Prophets who keep me on my toes.

But sharing the hope in Christ is necessary to soften the blow and to energize the caring and feeding.

Every body will be different: it will depend on the mix of gifts, as well as the gifts of the leaders who are charged with shoring up weaknesses and activating potential areas of strengths.

The best way is always pointing towards Christ who embodies all five. These are attributes in how we grow. I find some pastors over-spiritualize and make these "offices." It's a religious, hierarchical view that can lead to categorization and control.

Christ is freeing of religion. It is the most important accomplishment that we too easily forget.

The spiritual gifts serve this mission. They do not add more religious "cruft."

They give us a path to face our sin -- yes, we often sin through our gifts -- and redeem them through the Holy Spirit's expression of those gifts in us.

So explore what the spiritual gift DNA of your community is to begin to appreciate and activate the unique combination and makeup. 

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