“Scripture identifies eighteen spiritual gifts. As you read through the list, consider which gifts you might have or want to learn more about.”
By Shayne Moore and Carolyn Castleberry Hux, adapted from the book Women at Halftime
While strengths describe your natural talents and areas of excellence, spiritual gifts are given to everyone who is a follower of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul describes spiritual gifts as a “manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7, ESV), and states their purpose as “building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12, ESV). Every believer has at least one spiritual gift, and it’s not uncommon to have multiple gifts. God not only wants you to be aware of your spiritual gifts, he wants you to use these gifts and grow in them each day. Remember, you are God’s workmanship, a masterpiece created by, through, and for Jesus Christ.
Scripture identifies eighteen spiritual gifts. As you read through the list, consider which gifts you might have or want to learn more about.
1. Administration: the ability to plan, organize, and/or provide leadership to a church or ministry (1 Corinthians 12:28; Romans 12:8)
2. Apostleship: the gift of individuals who go out into the world to preach the gospel, such as missionaries and church planters (Ephesians 4:11-12; Acts 13:6-12)
3. Discernment: the ability to bring wisdom to situations and to individuals who wish to follow God’s teachings (1 Corinthians 12:10)
4. Evangelism: the gift of teaching the message of salvation and spiritual truths (Ephesians 4:11-12)
5. Exhortation: a gift that goes beyond teaching by offering support and encouragement, a spiritual cheerleader (Romans 12:7-8)
6. Faith: unwavering belief in God and in Scripture (1 Corinthians 12:9)
7. Giving: a gift that enables a person to give generously and with pleasure and purpose (Romans 12:8)
8. Healing: the ability to heal and restore others, physically and otherwise (James 5:13-15)
9. Helping: the gift of supporting another member of the body of Christ so that they are free to use their gifts (1 Corinthians 12:28)
10. Hospitality: the ability to welcome others into a home or church with warmth and a serving spirit (1 Peter 4:9-10)
11. Knowledge: a gift expressed in a desire to study the Bible and the ability to analyze Scriptures and retain information for the furthering of the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 12:8)
12. Leadership: the ability to motivate others in the body of Christ to achieve Kingdom objectives; often seen in pastors, teachers, evangelists, and lay leaders (Romans 12:8)
13. Mercy: the gift of sensitivity to the needs and suffering of others (Matthew 5:7)
14. Prophecy: the ability to speak into the lives of others on behalf of God (1 Corinthians 14:1)
15. Serving: a gift similar to helping in which individuals have a heart to serve the church and other believers in practical ways (Romans 12:7-17)
16. Speaking in tongues: the ability to speak a spiritual language while filled with the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12–14)
17. Teaching: the ability to clearly teach the Bible, doctrine, and church history to others (Exodus 4:12; 1 Peter 4:11)
18. Wisdom: the ability to see clearly in complex situations and arrive at solutions (1 Corinthians 12:8)1
Although the Bible doesn’t provide a set formula for identifying spiritual gifts, there are four steps that have helped many women we coach to discover their gifts. We encourage everyone we coach to pray, serve, consult others, and take an assessment.
As with all things, and especially in this process, the first step is to start with prayer. Ask God for guidance and discernment. Rely on this promise: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7, NIV).
Begin serving at your church or volunteering with a charitable organization. Author and pastor Charles Stanley says, “Probably the best way to discover your gift is to serve in a variety of ministry situations. When you find the area that suits your gift, you will know it.”2
Wonder if you have the gift of mercy? Look for a prison or hospital or hospice ministry. Think hospitality is right up your alley? Offer to be a greeter at your church or to host new member coffees or receptions for visiting teachers and missionaries. There is no limit on how or where God can use your spiritual gifts. Begin serving and discover where your sweet spot is.
Ask the Christian friends who know you best which spiritual gifts they see in you. These conversations can bear much fruit and can also be incredibly encouraging and affirming. In addition, you may wish to consult a ministry leader, pastor, elder, or small group leader who knows you well and who has experience in helping others identify and use their spiritual gifts. Many churches also offer classes for those wishing to go deeper into identifying and utilizing their spiritual gifts.
Take an assessment.
There are multiple books and online resources, some of them free, that provide assessments to help you identify your spiritual gifts.3 We find that these tools are most effective when used in combination with the previous steps—praying, serving, and consulting others. Continue to seek God’s guidance and invite trusted friends and mentors into the process as you identify your spiritual gifts.
Through coaching, getting free from what held her back, trying out some paths forward, and finally, pressing into her true identity, Camille was able to understand herself at a deeper level. Camille’s primary spiritual gift turned out to be giving. She is an excellent steward of her resources and always on the lookout for an opportunity to help others. In addition, she is a joyful giver. Camille also has the gift of discernment as she can easily distinguish between truth and lies. Her challenge is to use this gift and trust her God-given instincts in this area. Camille also ranked high in the gift of faith. Here you can see where spiritual gifts and strengths begin to work together. Her gift of faith resonated with her strength of connectedness. Camille has a confident faith that there is a greater purpose and she is connected to her benevolent Creator.
1. “Your Spiritual Gifts: How to Identify and Effectively Use Them,” Unfolding Faith (blog), accessed December 2, 2021, https://www.tyndale.com/sites
2. Charles Stanley, “About Spiritual Gifts: How Can I Discover My Spiritual Gifts?,” Believers Bible Study, accessed December 2, 2021, https://
3. SpiritualGiftsTest.com offers a free online assessment. See “Spiritual Gifts Test: Adult Version,” https://spiritualgiftstest.com/spiritual-gifts-test
You’ve been reading from
Women at Halftime by Shayne Moore and Carolyn Castleberry Hux
Are you feeling adrift as you face transitions in a new season of life? It’s time to start dreaming again . . .
Have you made personal sacrifices to pursue something—a career, a relationship, or a quality family life—and now it has changed, gone away, or just doesn’t feel as rewarding anymore? If so, you may be looking for a new source of energy, significance, and joy in the next season. Shayne Moore, a former client of the Halftime Institute, and Carolyn Castleberry Hux, a coach with Halftime, which was founded by the author of the bestselling book Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance, know from experience what it means and how difficult it can be to navigate this territory. In Women at Halftime, Shayne and Carolyn offer you the building blocks for getting unstuck and finding renewed joy and purpose.
Shayne and Carolyn set out to ask you key questions like:
- • Whose voice in your head still silences your voice and your dreams—and what can you do about it?
- • How can you evaluate the activities, people, and places in which you invest your time?
- • Where do you need to embrace freedom from limiting beliefs, fears, perfectionism, or other obstacles holding you back?
Know you are not alone. Transformative growth takes time, but the end result is worth it.
About the Authors
Shayne Moore is the author or coauthor of five books including Women at Halftime: A Guide to Reigniting Dreams and Finding Renewed Joy and Purpose in Your Next Season and Ending Human Trafficking: A Handbook of Strategies for the Church Today. Shayne served as director of operations at the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College Graduate School, and she taught the course on anti–human trafficking for Wheaton’s MA program in humanitarian and disaster leadership. Her book Refuse to Do Nothing: Finding Your Power to Abolish Modern-Day Slavery was named Resource of the Year by Outreach Magazine. Her first book, Global Soccer Mom: Changing the World Is Easier than You Think, chronicles her work with the HIV/AIDS pandemic. With an MA in theology and with varied interests, Shayne holds a certificate in the professional program in screenwriting from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television. Moore is also a contributing editor for Everbloom: Stories of Deeply Rooted and Transformed Lives. Shayne has traveled the world to see firsthand the realities of poverty and modern-day slavery and is a speaker on the topic of human trafficking.
Carolyn Castleberry Hux, MA, CPC, PCC, is a certified executive coach and transformational change coach with a passion for helping individuals and teams succeed. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and Genos Emotional Intelligence Practitioner, currently serving as a leadership coach with CACI and IPO, LLC: International Possibility Organization. She also serves as a certified coach with the Halftime Institute, working one-on-one with women to help them invest their second half of life where it matters most. Carolyn is an author and a former television news anchor and cohost for Living the Life, which aired on ABC Family Channel. Her book It’s About Time: 10 Smart Strategies to Avoid Time Traps and Invest Yourself Where It Matters provides strategies for maximum impact and significance. In the spirit of giving back, Carolyn is the founder and president of Faith and Women Ministries, Inc., a nonprofit public charity. She facilitated an event in Rome with Springtime of Faith Foundation to promote open and positive dialogue between Protestants and Catholics.