Spiritual Gifts commentary
Heb. 2:4 (NEB) God added his testimony by signs, by miracles, by manifold works of power, and by distributing the gifts of the Holy Spirit at his own will.
TEACHER / PARTICIPANT INSTRUCTIONS
The test is so constructed that even if a few questions are misunderstood it should still be accurate as a whole. The idea is not to compare results with others, but to get relative rankings for each individual. Thus, any proclivities toward bias should not matter.
It is important to tell participants in advance that the results will NOT be shared in any formal exercise. If a person wants to share the results with someone, that is OK, but there will be no pressure to do so after the test (no “exchange papers now!”) nor should anyone be nosy about anyone else’s results. This keeps people more honest with God, rather then thinking about what someone else will or might think.
Next is a letter (that we originally sent out to the initial reviewers) that describes our motive and the utility using a test format to discover spiritual gifts.
Rom 1:11 (NIV) I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong.
I must admit that in general I’m not real keen on tests like this, because I suspect that–at their best–they only tell us what we already know. “So why bother?” You might ask. Well, perhaps because, when correct, they allow us an opportunity to focus our thoughts for a time concerning this subject and to have confidence in the conclusions.
The problem, of course, is if and when they tell us anything novel, which is probably incorrect, and thus we might end up with confidence in a false conclusion. This is much like the effect of a palm reader, no? Only it appears so Scientific!
The objective of this test is to tell the participant what he/she already suspects is true, and I pray that it does not show up anything novel. The test format merely provides the external discipline to think these things through.
Another point of explanation about the study is that I do not think that a test format is particularly good to discern gifts.You may ask “Well what do you think is the best way to discover spiritual gifts?” Actually gifts are to be confirmed by others, by “two or three witnesses”–if you will, and not merely by self assessment.
“So, Iftests are a poor application to gifts in particular, why must we do the Spiritual Gifts Inventory?” The problem is that gifts can be confirmed by others only after they have been exercised. And for many, gifts are laying dormant. You won’t have something confirmed by others if you don’t know you can, or should, serve the body in a particular way; or if you are fearful of stepping out in faith because of doubt. The objective of this inventory is to give people confidence, through the test, that they can, and should exercise their spiritual gifts. So, this study is basically… a sophisticated kick in the pants.
Assuming most Christians know their primary gifting, the real focus then is to get people moving on dormant gifts 2-5.
Ther are various published tests for this?” I found them all inadequate, some a dismal waste of time. The best I came across was Kenneth Cain Kinghorn’s“Discovering your Spiritual Gifts”, but even it had two flaws, one slight and one major. When Market research tests are structured with— “honesty checks”, asking questions positively and negatively, etc., and Kinghorn was one of the few who understood the science of this. His test was very well constructed, but long! This was the slight, or minor problem. After 200 random questions and 90 minutes of his test, one tens to give up and never calculated the answers! Thistest version by Dean & Laura VanDruffprovides a statistically significant sample size without (it is hoped) exhausting the participant. The questions also are grouped by topic towards the end, which breaks up the monotony. That this reveals more of the “key” , But has little effect that late in the game.
It’s best to give the test publicly, where a leader paces the group by reading each question aloud, and then waiting 10-15 seconds for participants to write in their response, and then going on. Thus the full test would take about 45 minutes.
The more serious problem was that Kinghorn, like most, conflates spiritual gifts with Psychological tendencies. Questions and definitions in his test were thus “laced”. So in this test some of his definitions are used (when correct) and basic test order, and selections from his questions where he was focusing on “spiritual gifts” and not natural inclinations (which may be diametrically opposed) soDean & Laura wrote the rest themselves, So the test structure was condensed into fewer questions at the same time.
All this was integrated with several sources, noteworthy of which was Anthony Jordan’s Spiritual Gift’s Outline. Given how much Dean & Laura borrowed from K.C. Kinghorn it is only fair that we plug his test, even though they thought it has the problems noted above. Still, it is a good test which will likely yield the same results, and is in a nicely packaged format as well. It can be ordered from amazon.com for only about R50 .
In any case, with this long-winded introduction, I hereby submit the “Gifts Inventory” Bible Study for your review and edification.
Remember, our goal is modest: to confirm, clarity, and encourage–not to generate something novel. So, if the results of this test come out that you have the gift of “winning the lottery”, I will be quite concerned, you can be sure.
May we all grow in the gifts [charisma] of grace [charis]!
Eph. 4:8 (NIV) This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.”