I somehow completed my Bachelor in Christian Ministry without having a sense of what my spiritual gifts might be. Not long after, I participated in a seminar called “L.I.T.E. – Lay Institute To Equip” by Pastor Jim Garlow. It provided a strong historical and theological foundation for the ministry and spiritual giftedness of every believer. It was then that I completed a spiritual gifts questionnaire and a personality profile and began to think intentionally about how God had wired me to serve him.

I was so enthused I created a course called “B.E.A.M. – Believers Enabled As Ministers” for use in our newly planted church. The majority of those attending in the launch season of Kentwood Community Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, confidently declared “I am a minister!”

Discovering gifts and strengths helped me to know how I could contribute in the functioning of the body of Christ. It also helped me to determine where my contribution would be limited, and who I needed around me. Serving Christ is not a do-it-yourself endeavor!

I’ve completed a variety of spiritual gifts questionnaires which indicate most my giftings are in leadership, encouragement and prophecy. It has helped me select a biblical role model related to those giftings:

  • Barnabas (Acts 4:36), leadership and encouragement
  • Nathan, prophet to King David (2 Samuel 7 and 12; 1 Kings 1)

Employees at The Wesleyan Church Headquarters have completed the Clifton StrengthsFinder (now the CliftonStrengths assessment) profile, which assesses and identifies one’s strengths. My top strengths include:

  • Strategic
  • Futuristic
  • Maximizer
  • Belief
  • Relator

One of my mentors shared an insight that has deeply shaped my life: “Either an absence of strength or overextension of a strength can be a weakness.” For instance, if I lacked the ability to be strategic, that could be a weakness. But if I overextended my capacity to be strategic, I could end up relying on a strategic plan rather than keeping in step with the Holy Spirit.

Gifts and strengths can only take you so far. It is why I deeply respect and seek the anointing (I Samuel 26) and favor only God can provide.

It is no mistake that one of Paul’s conversations about spiritual gifts (Romans 12:3 – 8) is preceded by the need for personal transformation and self-awareness. It’s followed by the value of our relationships in the body of Christ. What a reminder that gifts are meant to be stewarded in the context of the Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22: 37 – 40) — to love God and love others arising out of love for a transformed self.