I didn’t know I would become a preacher. I always had great respect for them. My father still preaches on a volunteer basis for the church I grew up in—and I think he’s fantastic at it. But, I always thought I would do something else.

I thought I’d be a baseball player or a lawyer…perhaps start my own business.

But, not a preacher.

I have fellow preachers who knew from an early age they were meant to do it. Mine was a gradual call. I’ve always loved Scripture. I’ve always loved listening to sermons. But, it took time, the influence of others, spiritual discernment, and some exploration before I recognized God’s direction and felt led to pursue it all the way.

No matter what age you are, you may not have yet explored fully how God wants to use you. “To each has been given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good (1 Cor. 12:7).” The Spirit has gifted you, just as He chose (12:11, 18). God has blessed you with something valuable for the sake of His Body. Glorifying Him through its use will bring us joy as we live according to His purpose and build up the Body as it carries out His mission.

Here is a really simple, short guide to discovering your spiritual gifts and beginning to put them to use.

  1. Purify. If there is any ongoing sin in your life that needs to be confessed and repented of, start here. Sin quenches the Spirit, repentance ignites the Spirit’s work in us.
  2. Pray. Ask God to help you discern how the Holy Spirit has gifted you, and begin asking Him to make a way for you to fan it into flame with a pure heart. Prayer is something we should engage in throughout the process. Don’t just pray at the beginning of the process, pray continually for guidance, humility, and discovery.
  3. Explore. Sometimes, trying certain things out is a good idea. Try teaching a children’s class, giving a Communion thought, leading a short Bible-study, signing up to be a greeter, etc. It’s OK to test-drive some things. Churches would do well to allow for this as they create church systems of involvement.
  4. Confirm. There are a few times when no one thinks you ought to do something, but God hath clearly spoken. Noah built the ark, Jesus went to the cross. But, that’s about it. For most of us, listening to the wisdom of others is wise. Form a group around you of three or four people who know you, are spiritually minded, and will tell you the truth. Ask them to help discern with you through this process…and be ready to hear feedback you may not want to hear.
  5. Apply. Once you’ve got a sense for your passion and gifts, use them for the common good (12:7). Do so liberally.
  6. Develop. Continue to develop these gifts to their fullest. Learn, practice, read, and enjoy.

What a waste it would be to live out your days without discovering or using the immense gifts of the Spirit God has blessed you with. What a blessing it will be to your life and the advancement of the Kingdom when you lean fully into God’s mission and your part in it.