The Classification of Spiritual Gifts

A number of years ago I was taking a course taught by my personal mentor Dr. C. Peter Wagner. Peter made a comment about the term “fivefold ministry”. He says the term has a tendency to make people that don’t have one of the five Gifts feel like a second-class Christian. I full heartedly agreed.

It is interesting how the church seems to go through different cycles and patterns. The last 15 years we have always heard this term the “fivefold ministry”. What if you don’t have any of those five gifts? Does that mean you can never go in the ministry? Does that mean if you don’t have one of the five you are not a full-fledged Christian? The term or expression “five fold ministry” is not in the Bible. Yes it does mention the five gifts in a row but it never refers to them as a “ministry”. I sat down with my college dean one day and expressed my opinion and he fully agreed. However, he said that you could classify the different gifts under the five separate headings. I proceeded to take out a piece of paper and wrote down the headings as we together determined the classifications.

Personally, my strongest gift is the Gift of Administration. In my capacity as an administrator, what am I really doing? I’m helping others to get them, or businesses, or ministries organized and running more efficiently. In a sense, I’m helping them which makes me a pastor. Therefore the Gift of Administration falls under the classification of Pastor.

What does an evangelist need? Healing and miracles to prove to the unsaved the power of God so that he can evangelize them into the Kingdom. Therefore people that have Gifts of Faith or Healing or Miracles follow under the category of evangelist.

Below is the list that my bible college dean and I constructed. I showed Peter Wagner and although he did not disagree with it, he did not see the relevance. It took me a while to figure out where he was going with his line of thought, but eventually I saw his point.

Peter is a teacher of “new wineskins” not “old wineskins”. In his opinion the “fivefold ministry” is an “old wineskin” much like ordination is in his opinion. He believes the new wineskin is all spiritual gifts working in unison and instead of ordination “commissioning” is the new wineskin (remember, Jesus never went to bible school or was ordained, but was commissioned by His Father).

After praying about this I came to conclusion that Peter was absolutely right. In spite of my attempts to make myself and others feel better about not being second-class Christians because we don’t fall under the fivefold ministry category, what I was really doing was floundering around in an old wineskin. However as Peter has said, there is not necessarily anything wrong with an old wineskin. Further he has stated that there will always be people that will hang on to the traditional ways of doing things which is in that wineskin. Personally I’m not one that wants to be in the old wineskin (neither does Peter); I like following the new wineskin. However I am cognizant of the fact that others will stay in the old wineskin.

That being the case, this classification does serve its purpose.

The Five Main Gifts

Apostle Prophet Evangelist Teacher Pastor
Apostle Prophet Evangelist Teacher Pastor
Leadership Discernment Faith Wisdom Administration
Giving Exhortation Miracles Knowledge Hospitatlity
Celibacy Intercessor Healing Mercy Service & Help
  Tongues  & Interpretations Missionary   Worship
    Deliverance   Poverty (voluntary)

Have you not completed a spiritual Gifts Test? You can find them on Google, but I think Peter Wagners is the best.