This fall is an excellent time to acknowledge and affirm individuals’ spiritual gifts, with church leaders in new positions preparing to serve next year in ministry roles.SpiritGifts Patricia Brown cvr

When it comes to spiritual-gifts resources, the best book I’ve found is Patricia D. Brown’s SpiritGifts. The practical part is that it’s about not only gifts discovery, but also finding a place to use one’s gifts in ministry and to work together as a ministry team. It also defines spiritual gifts as distinct from talents, abilities, works of ministry, and roles.

But what I like best is how Brown describes the gifts and puts them into three categories:

Gifts of word – what we say,

Gifts of deed – what we do, and

Gifts of sign – ways and signs that point to God.

Get her book to read the refreshing gift definitions, but note how she clusters them in a helpful way:

Gifts of word – Apostleship, encouragement, evangelism, knowledge, pastoring, prophecy, teaching, and wisdom.

Gifts of deed – Assisting, compassion, faith, giving, and leadership.

Gifts of sign – Discernment, healing, interpretation, miracles, and tongues.

She also unpacks the meaning of every gifts with a paragraph about someone with that gift in the Bible, and a following paragraph that describes a person with that gift today.

I’ve used SpiritGifts as the basis for an all-church retreat. But Brown suggests multiple ways to use it, including as a class for group leaders and for new members, and as a way of clustering like-gifted people in small-group ministries. A creative approach!

Your partner in ministry,

Betsy Schwarzentraubv


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