For the most part, I do not use gift surveys, I believe they tend to do a few negative things.
Spiritual gift tests...
- Peg someone for life. We do not need the "I don't have that gift" excuse any more!
- Carry authority they should not. A survey doesn't tell you your gift. The Holy Spirit working through the body does.
- Have an unwritten bias in the test that slants people. Whoever develops the test has a point of view that slants the questions and gets tainted results.
- Take the focus off of the body and put it on the individual. We are all prone to be self absorbed already, these tests just get us looking in on ourselves and makes spiritual gift discovery about fulfilling our own needs...the opposite of what gifts are about.
- Make gift discovery simply a matter of personal preference rather than true effectiveness. All the surveys are more about what you prefer than what you actually do. The spiritual life is not to be driven by personal preference.
- Suggest that gift usage is a matter of job placement rather than HS led effectiveness. In most institutions, the roles available have a tendency to determine what usage of the gifts are defined as and limits all creative expression. Your gifts can be useful in many more avenues than a typical local church allows.
As tests go, I do like the idea of a 360 view where ten of your friends you know best take your test for you (such as on Alan Hirsch's APEST gift test online http://www.theforgottenways.org/apest).
There is nothing like serving others in the body to discover what you are called to do. Failure is also a great instructor, but it tends to cost a bit more than the typical survey does.