Gifts Discernment

Research has shown that helping people discern their gifts is one of the keys to a healthy church. When people of all ages discover the particular gifts God has given them, and are equipped to use these gifts, both they as individuals and the whole community of faith are enriched and invigorated. Through a wide variety of resources, congregations can help people match their gifts with vital ministries that embody God’s reconciling love. Below you will find some of the resources that can help your congregation get started.

The purpose of this section is to assist congregations to create, expand and support a ministry of all the baptized through a gifts discernment program. To begin, visit the websites below and then make contact with a parish which is currently using one of them. Ask some questions about suitability and then see if it is possible for a parishioner (and possibly a priest) to attend the workshops. Assess the resource that fits with your parish and make contact with the program representatives. Alternatively, contact the program directly as most have comprehensive training manuals that make implementation a snap.

  • Life Keys is an 11-hour workshop spread over two or more days or evenings that is designed to help you discover and affirm who you are, why you’re here and what you do best. Fun exercises help you look at yourself through five lenses—life gifts, spiritual gifts, personality, values, and passions—to see how God has uniquely designed you. This program is used at Christ Memorial Church, Oshawa, Trinity, Streetsville, and St. Bride, Clarkson.
  • Stephen Ministry Gifts Inventory is an eight-hour course that helps congregations discover their spiritual gifts and become involved in gift-related ministries. The purpose of the program is to: help individuals discover their spiritual gifts with a Haugk Spiritual Gifts Inventory; educate about calling and discipleship; and motivate for ministry. Contact St. John the Evangelist Peterborough.
  • The Three Colors of Ministry is a product of the Natural Church Development program developed by Christian Schwarz. It is a research-based tool that includes a questionnaire for the individuals and two outside assessors who know the person well. The scored questionnaires provide information about both “manifest gifts” and “latent gifts.” Outside facilitation is recommended for discerning individual gifts within the context of the congregations.

Online assessments for individuals and teams

Gifts discernment requires prayerful exploration and is best done in dialogue with the community of faith where one is known. Individuals may explore their gifts through one of the self-administered questionnaires that are listed below. But always remember: gifts not only need to be discerned but they need to be affirmed by those around us in the community of faith.

Find Your Spiritual Gifts, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Gifted 2 Serve, from, Andrew Kulp, a Baptist ministry consultant.
Spiritual Gifts Test, a United Methodist resource.
Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts Analysis, from Ephesians Four Ministries.

Other helpful resources

Discerning God’s Will Together: A Spiritual Practice for the Church, by Danny E. Morris (The Upper Room) connects the ancient traditions of the church with contemporary gifts discernment resources.
Listening Hearts: Discerning God’s God in Community, by S.Farnham, J. Gill, R. McLean, S.Ward (Morehouse Publishing) draws on classic Christian literature to help individuals and groups recognize God’s call.
Sharing the Ministry: A Practical Guide for Transforming Volunteers into Ministers: Jean Morris Trumbauer (Augsburg Press) blends gifts discernment resources with good volunteer management principles.
Created and Called: Discovering Our Gifts for Abundant Living, by Jean Morris Trumbauer (Augsburg Press).
Unwrapping All Our Gifts: A Neglected Key to Evangelism, by Rev. Judy Paulsen.
Evangelism is an over-flowing of life in a healthy congregation. Judy Paulsen shows us ways to grow a healthy congregation by helping members discover their gifts so that as the congregation works together there is an overflow into fruitful and lasting evangelism.

For more information, please contact Janet Marshall, Director of Congregational Development, 416-363-6021 ext. 274 (1-800-668-8932).