Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Spiritual Gift Inventories

I was asked on my blog if I like to use spiritual gift tests in my church context. I thought you might all want to hear my answer:

For the most part, I do not use gift surveys, I believe they tend to do a few negative things.

Spiritual gift tests...
  1. Peg someone for life. We do not need the "I don't have that gift" excuse any more!
  2. Carry authority they should not. A survey doesn't tell you your gift. The Holy Spirit working through the body does.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
If the temptation to use surveys is just too much to bear, I suggest you have people take multiple tests just to bring some balance to the concept. At least then the people see that one test doesn't have authority and that they have different slants. I still think this can present a problem.

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

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.


Ali said...

Love this! Your points are dead-on.

JG said...

I absolutely agree.

What Does God Want Me To Do? said...

I also don't like the spiritual gifts test because I have a different opinion on Spiritual Gifts than most.

But I disagree about the usefulness of surveys. I've seen tons of people takes surveys and get language to explain why they do what they do. I think this is empowering. It gives them permission to be themselves.

Neil Cole said...

Hmm, interesting that a survey is what gives people empowerment and permission for service. Are you sure that is what you want?

I do agree that these tests make people feel good about themselves, that is true, I'm just not sure that they are all that good for people. Sort of like junk food with "health food language", tastes good, fills the stomach, but not as nutritionally sound as people might think.

That's what I think. I think that when it comes to gifts we should be focussed more on lifting up others rather than empowering ourselves.

Reiki Master Guide Robert said...

It is interesting how we can agree and disagree with different ideas on things and if it is that way across the board. Each persons life stream is guides by supreme intelligence and there is really know way we can say this is good for everybody or not. How in our limited human concept can we ever know the greatest good for another souls awakening. Interesting point though.
Reiki Robert

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Pamela Lipscomb said...

When I first came to the Lord, I only knew that I had a desire to bring hope and healing to people.

I also had a strong desire to tell others about Jesus Christ and lead other to the Lord. As I acted on these desires, my calling began to manifest.

Edelito C. Sangco said...

People have varied views about spiritual gifts, including, among others the contradicting opinions whether its really a spiritual gift or not. Hence, no more need for a survey on the matter. I like the post. Being a person who enjoys island life, your posts are spiritually enlightening.

Victor said...

Hey the blog is really interesting, especially the best line being survey is what gives people empowerment and permission for service. The surveys are very useful to collect information about what people think and what they expect from the services.
Thanks for an interesting blog.

DiamondDenisa said...

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LucyGray said...

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