For the past half year or so, I've been considering what God wants me to do for the rest of my life to glorify and honor Him. I took a spiritual gift test, and it turns out (unsurprisingly) that my gift is leadership. Even before I took the test, I had been thinking about becoming a pastor, something that has always mildly interested me. I'm not at all sure what to do, beyond praying.
The concept of taking a spiritual gift test to determine which spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit has given a person is very common today. Unfortunately, it is only one person’s opinion – the one taking the test. Most spiritual gift tests assume that the person will have strong leanings in the direction of the spiritual “gifting.” Unfortunately, the test may only be measuring your desires and natural abilities, and not your spiritual enablements. It is easy to bias a test’s results while taking it. The true test of a person’s spiritual gifts is how others respond to the ministry of that person. The written test can be a tool, but it is not the deciding factor.
Spiritual Gift Tests
For example, the Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to not neglect the spiritual gift that was given to him in 1 Timothy. Then in 2 Timothy, the apostle told him to use it.
Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed upon you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. (NASB) 1 Timothy 4:14
And for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. (NASB) 2 Timothy 1:6
This implies that Timothy was not using the spiritual gift which was given to him. Apparently he was not interested. If he had taken a spiritual gift test, he would have probably failed in the area of his “gifting.” Today the true test of a person’s spiritual gifts is how effective the ministry of their gifts are in the body of Christ.
Gift of Leadership
The spiritual gift of “leading” (Rom 12:8) or leadership refers to one who has an unusual gift for graciously and lovingly leading and guiding others in spiritual things. The Greek word translated “leading” is proistemi. It has the sense of caring for others. It means more than just leading others. This man has a shepherd’s heart for others. This is one of the qualifications of an elder (1 Timothy 3:5; 1 Timothy 5:17). An elder can be what we call a pastor. All elders should be pastors in heart. I would encourage you to seek the opinion of others. Ask God to lead you.
The most important principle in determining if God wants you to serve Him as a pastor or missionary is found in the answer to two questions, “Do you love God with all your heart?” and “Are you seeking an intimate relationship with God?” God’s great passion is that we love Him, want to know Him, and are seeking an intimate relationship with Him. After His return to life, Jesus’ first question to the Apostle Peter was, “Do you love me more than anything else?”
So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” (NASB) John 21:15
That is the ultimate question for anyone who is thinking about serving God in any way – pastor, elder, or missionary. Your desire should not be to become a pastor or a leader. Your desire should be to serve God. Your desire should be to serve Him in this way because you believe He wants you to do this. Your desire to do this should be driven by an inner desire to please your friend, the Lord Jesus.
There are several previous questions that I would encourage you read. The first one is entitled, “Should I become a pastor or a missionary?” The next one is, “Who are the elders?” These first two are very important. Here are the others, “What are the pastor’s duties to a church?“, “What is a real church?“, “Should the institutional church exist?“, and “How should I go about teaching my congregation about church leadership?” May the Lord bless you as you seek to love Him.