Life looks drastically different in this season, as does church, ministry and so much more. The way you normally use your spiritual gifts has more than likely been interrupted. But as the world weathers crisis and subsequently changes, it is so important for Christians to be in tune with the Holy Spirit and bring Spirit-filled contributions to the Church and the world.
That’s not meant to make us feel pressure. The Bible tells us that the Spirit gives each of us different gifts which together form one body, the Body of Christ. We don’t need to feel like we need to do everything. We’re simply called and equipped to do our unique part faithfully.
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.”
– 1 Corinthians 12:12
Here are 10 spiritual gifts and suggestions on what it might look like to use them in the midst of our changing reality.
Note: If you don’t know what your spiritual gifts are, there are many spiritual gifts tests available online. You should also talk to your pastor and church community to help you determine your spiritual gifts!
One meaning of the Greek word for administration (kubernesis) is ‘to steer’. As we continually hear the metaphor about being in different boats during this shared experience of a storm, that translation of kubernesis feels incredibly relevant.
People with the gift of administration are task- and detail-oriented leaders, organizers and planners. They do the practical things (like steering!) to get us where we need to go.
If you have the gift of administration, here are some ways you might be able to use it in this time:
- Organize meal or grocery deliveries for people in need.
- Set up ways for people to connect—group chats, video calls, virtual game nights.
- Organize a fundraiser for your favourite organization’s COVID-19 response.
- Plan the logistics of transitioning into a ‘new normal’—timelines, communication and careful planning will be so important in the many months ahead.
Apostles are influencers and innovators. They are people who envision and develop new things for the Kingdom. As the world changes, the need for innovative new ideas is bigger than ever. We’re already seeing the Church innovate in new ways because of COVID-19—from small groups over Zoom and livestreamed church services to national virtual worship nights.
Once we are slowly able to return to everyday life and activity, it’s unlikely that the world will look and function exactly the same as it did before. The Church will be looking to people with the spiritual gift of apostleship to help innovate in a new reality.
Here are some ways to use the gift of apostleship in this season:
- Connect online with other Christians (such as through networks like FaithTech) who are envisioning ways forward for churches, non-profits and beyond.
- If you’re bored at home, spend time intentionally brainstorming. Think of new ideas for your workplace, church, family or community.
- Be the voice for change. Where others might be afraid, you will see opportunity. Particularly if you also have gifts like prophecy or exhortation, speak words that encourage the Church to embrace new things.
Those with the gift of discernment are able to distinguish truth from untruth—to discern whether or not something comes from God. They protect us from being led astray by things that distract us from God’s heart.
The gift of discernment can be particularly important in times of confusion or crisis, as people can be vulnerable to untruths. In these confusing times, here are some ways the gift of discernment can be used:
- Reach out to someone who is isolated and who might need to be reminded of the truth of God’s love and care for them.
- If you are still working, find ways to be aware of co-workers who might be working out of a place of stress and anxiety and help them see the truth of God’s rest and peace.
- Social media can sometimes be an anxious and confusing place in desperate need of truth. If you use social media, share messages of hope and remind people of God’s truth.
Evangelists are ‘ones who bring good news’—they are gifted in sharing the gospel with others. People with the gift of evangelism feel a particular burden for those who do not yet know Jesus and have a particular boldness and effectiveness in communicating the gospel and engaging others in conversations about Jesus.
During this time, many people are searching for meaning, asking spiritual questions and also might have more time to engage in conversations about faith. Evangelists may find themselves with new opportunity to engage. Here are some specific ways to use the gift of evangelism:
- Run Alpha online! Learn more on Alpha Canada’s website.
- Spend time in prayer and ask God to bring someone to mind who might be searching for Jesus. Reach out to them, even if it’s been a long time since you’ve connected.
- Post on social media about what you’re currently learning about Jesus. You never know what conversations might arise.
Exhortation is also known as the gift of encouragement. People with this gift are called to motivate and challenge others towards spiritual growth. This can be particularly important in strengthening people’s faith when they feel unsteady.
No doubt, this time has created great need for encouragement and motivation—whether to simply push through another week of social distancing or to really dig deep and continue to have faith when the world seems bleak.
Here are some ways to use the gift of exhortation in this time:
- Encourage those who are discouraged! Send a note in the mail, call a frontline worker or message a parent of young kids.
- Invite friends to try something new to strengthen their faith during this time.
- Write an encouraging letter to the child you sponsor.
- As people get quarantine fatigued, encourage them to stay the course and continue to do their part to keep their community safe and healthy.
People with the spiritual gift of giving enjoy providing for needs. They give generously and joyfully. They are excellent stewards and are likely to structure their lives around generosity—making sacrifices or adjustments to live simply so they can effectively respond to needs.
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant, often overwhelming need in our own communities and around the world. People with the gift of giving can respond in powerful and inspiring ways. They know their contributions make a difference, even when the need is immense.
Here are some ways to use the spiritual gift of giving in this season:
- Continue giving to your local church! As churches adjust to a new normal, steady financial support is vital.
- Pray and research. It’s not practical or strategic to give indiscriminately to every need that you come across. Do your research on what the needs are and which organizations are responding. Pray and ask God to help you discern what, where and how to give.
- Take inventory of how your lifestyle has changed in this season and consider how God might be calling you to change your habits long-term to be able to respond to needs more effectively.
Healing and Miracles
The gifts of healing and miracles are perhaps the gifts that are most difficult to understand—because God doesn’t always heal or perform miracles, even when we ask. But that doesn’t stop those with these spiritual gifts from praying and asking boldly.
COVID-19 has touched almost every single one of us by now, as we know and hear of people testing positive, or perhaps have become sick ourselves. Beyond this, the pandemic has affected those who have mental illnesses or are immunocompromised, amongst many others. Not just in the realm of health, there has been plenty of need to pray for miraculous intervention during this time.
Here’s how the gifts of healing and miracles can be used as we face the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Pray! Especially if you find yourself with more free time at home, pray consistently and boldly for healing in our world. Go on a walk and pray for your community.
- Organize time for your church community to gather virtually to pray for those you know who are sick and for God’s miraculous intervention in these difficult times.
- Encourage others with your faith. Many are discouraged and losing hope in this season—let them know you’re still believing and praying for healing and miracles.
Many people mistakenly think prophecy is about predicting the future, but it is actually about the ability to receive a divinely inspired message and deliver it to the Church. Those with the gift of prophecy are called to make God’s heart known to His people. They speak prophetic words not just for the future—they also encourage, challenge, rebuke and call up the Church for the present moment.
As the world changes, it is important to listen to God and know His heart. Through prayer, scripture and community, those with the gift of prophecy are able to call Christians closer to God’s heart as we navigate this season.
Here are some ways to use the gift of prophecy in this season:
- Spend time listening to God—praying, meditating on scripture and embracing quiet or silence. If you want, try new things as you do this, like going for a walk, sitting outside or moving your body.
- Pay attention to words God might be giving to you to share with fellow Christians, for this current moment and for what’s to come. It doesn’t always have to be a huge thing—perhaps it’s just a word of encouragement for your local church, your pastor or a friend.
- Call the Church up in responding to COVID-19 at home and around the world. Are your community’s responses to the pandemic in line with God’s heart?
People with the spiritual gift of service express their love for their community by helping to practically fill gaps in ministry. They serve and help out with joy, often behind the scenes. They are joyful knowing that their contributions bless the Church and create space for others to flourish.
It might not be as easy, in this season, to serve in the way that we’re used to. Inviting others into our homes, creating spaces for people to gather and sharing with others in-person just isn’t the reality right now. But in this time of heightened need, there are still plenty of ways to serve—here are a few suggestions:
- Cook and deliver meals for a frontline worker or someone in need.
- Do a contactless food drive in your community: Drop a paper bag and a note on your neighbours’ doors and let them know when you’ll be back to pick-up. Remember to wash your hands frequently and wear the proper protective gear!
- Grocery shop for an immunocompromised neighbour or community member.
- Offer homework help over Zoom.
People with the gift of wisdom have an intimate understanding of God’s word. They are able to see through confusion and misunderstanding. They wisely and boldly speak life when others are disoriented, confused or in need of counsel.
The COVID-19 pandemic is no doubt a confusing time for many. Those with the gift of wisdom can be effective and peaceful guides—bringing a sense of steadiness with their sober words of wisdom. They’ve done their research and know what needs to be said to point others in the right direction.
Here are some ways the gift of wisdom can be used in this time:
- Share what you know and have researched about the pandemic—help people understand so that they can make wise choices and plans.
- Offer counsel to those who ask. Balance anxiety about the future with comforting advice and wisdom.
- Help people understand the global realities of this pandemic and how they can help.
How are you using your spiritual gifts in this season?
Share in the comments!
Cover photo by Leone Venter