Charisms: Gifts from the Holy Spirit

We each have our own individual strengths and limitations. It’s sometimes easy for one person to accomplish a certain task than another.

For one person, mathematics might come easily and naturally, whereas for another person it may be difficult and frustrating to apply, although not impossible.

In the mission of the church, God has equipped each of us with unique gifts to carry out specific tasks within the mission. It isn’t impossible for us to do other tasks, but it won’t be as easy as others that are aided by the charisms with which we have been gifted.

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to participate in a Called & Gifted seminar to learn more about these charisms.

Charisms are more than natural talents. They are a gift from God that, when used, achieves a supernatural purpose. When used, the person feels energized, at home, like they are praying. The effect is fruitful and without undue strain or stress to accomplish the task. Finally, the person feels real satisfaction and fulfillment afterwards.

What are the charisms?

Here are a list of the most common charisms:

  • Administration
  • Celibacy
  • Craftsmanship
  • Encouragement
  • Evangelism
  • Faith
  • Giving
  • Healing
  • Helps
  • Hospitality
  • Intercessory Prayer
  • Knowledge
  • Leadership
  • Mercy
  • Missionary
  • Music
  • Pastoring
  • Prophecy
  • Service
  • Teaching
  • Voluntary Poverty
  • Wisdom
  • Writing

I’m not going to go into the detail of each one in this blog post, but there are many references out there for example the St. Andre Bessetti, Laconia, NH website or the St. John the Evangelist, Indianapolis, IN website.

How do I find out what charisms I have?

To just quickly get an idea of your potential charisms, there are some free online “Spiritual Gift Inventory” online forms that can be used. One of them that seemed pretty close to the one in the seminar I went through can be found at St. John the Evangelist, Indianapolis, IN.

Filling out the form does not identify all your charisms absolutely as it also takes time to properly discern each of the potential charisms. If you are serious about this process, it’s probably better to go through the process with someone trained in the charism discernment process.

What are the benefits of knowing my own charisms or other people’s charisms?

Each of us probably have been in a group situation, whether it be a school or work project, or a volunteer group or ministry at church, where working together proves to be difficult, or having ineffective output despite the effort put in by the members. Is it not better to optimize a team by having the best people lead the specific roles or tasks in which their charisms help?

For example, in a youth ministry setting (which I’m most familiar), does it not make sense to have a person with the charism of teaching leading the proclaim talks and educating the youth? Or for a person with the charism of music leading the praise music? Or for a person with the charism of hospitality to lead the preparation of the environment and refreshments? Or for person with an administration and leadership charisms lead the group’s overall direction?

Of course I don’t mean that those people with the charisms should be the only people doing those tasks, because it is important for others to be trained in different aspects of the ministry. But the people exercising their charisms where they were intended should generally feel satisfaction, and having that satisfaction also prolongs people’s interest in staying with the ministry.

God puts together a group of people for a ministry with a mixed bag of charisms. I think it’s up to the people in the ministry to figure out their charisms to see where their charisms can be best applied in the ministry. This will will lead to more effective ministry work with less strain, and better overall satisfaction of the ministry members.

Header photo credit: Veni Sancte Spiritus” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by Lawrence OP


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