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Toward an ecclesiocentric model of spiritual gift identification

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Robert William Pochek
Abstract:
This dissertation seeks to answer the question: "Is the use of a spiritual gift identification instrument the best way for people to find their place of joyful service within the church?" Chapter 1 provides a history of the Church Growth Movement (CGM) through 1972 as an important backdrop for the development of spiritual gift identification instruments, the first of which was the SGI-McMinn. One of the key factors in the early popularizing of the SGI-McMinn was the CGM's emphasis on every member serving in the church by using his or her spiritual gift. The early 1970s saw a marked increase in the interest of spiritual gifts and their identification that was largely due to the influence of the CGM. This emphasis led to the popularization of the SGI-McMinn, which had been in development since the mid 1960s. The popularization of the SGI-McMinn led to the problematic issue of whether the instrument was based on solid theological and methodological ground. Chapter 2 provides a thorough examination of the historical development of the SGI-McMinn. This chapter includes an assessment of the relationship between the CGM's emphasis on spiritual gift utilization and the development of a tool for spiritual gift identification. This chapter examines the development of spiritual gift identification instruments beginning with the SGI-McMinn (1972), moving to the SGI-L (1984), the SGI-WHMQ (1979), and SGI-Gilbert (1986). Chapter 3 demonstrates that spiritual gift identification instruments are dependent upon defining spiritual gifts as abilities that may be accurately self-reported. Further, the design of spiritual gift identification instruments is inherently influenced by the biblical and theological bias of those designing them. Two popular spiritual gift identification instruments will be compared to demonstrate this dependence: the SGIWHMQ and the SGI-Gilbert. Biblical bias is demonstrated as some spiritual gift identification instruments hold firmly to a set, unchanging number of gifts tested for, while other instruments are modified significantly over time. This biblical bias is problematic as it lends to creating confusion over the number and identity of spiritual gifts. Theological bias is demonstrated by the tendency of such instruments to focus on the individual rather than the New Testament purpose for gifts as a blessing to the local church. An excursus on the problem of self-assessment concludes the chapter. Chapter 4 brings together a number of empirical analyses of spiritual gift identification instrument construct, validity, and reliability. Regardless of the supposed biblical or theological basis for utilizing spiritual gift identification instruments, the research into the construct of the instruments themselves is vital to determining their usefulness in the church. The empirical analyses demonstrate that the methodology inherent in the development of spiritual gift identification instruments is not demonstrably valid or reliable to reveal individual spiritual gifts, but is reliable for revealing broad gift categories. Chapter 5 presents an alternative approach to spiritual gift identification in which spiritual gift discovery and service is rooted in the life of the church. The chapter begins with a quick review of the inherent tendency of spiritual gift identification instruments to place the focus on the individual will be undertaken. Following that, the biblical basis for an ecclesiocentric model for spiritual gift identification is presented. A key component of that model is addressed next, namely, that spiritual gifts are best defined as ministries in and for the church. Finally, the role of the church and church leadership in particular to spiritual gift discovery is examined, including a five-step strategy to implement an ecclesiocentric model of spiritual gift identification. Chapter 6 concludes the dissertation with final thoughts on spiritual gift discovery and how further study of spiritual gift identification might be pursued.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii

PREFACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . viii

Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Thesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Delimitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

2. THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE SPIRITUAL GIFT IDENTIFICATION INSTRUMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 A Brief History of the CGM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Need for Tool to Raise Awareness of and Identify Spiritual Gifts . . . . . 26 Development and Assessment of the SGI-McMinn (1972) . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Development of the SGI-McMinn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Assessment of the SGI-McMinn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Development and Assessment of the SGI-L (1984) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Development of the SGI-L . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Assessment of the SGI-L . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Development and Assessment of the SGI-WMHQ (1979) . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Development of the SGI-WMHQ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

v Chapter Page Assessment of the SGI-WMHQ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Development and Assessment of the SGI-Gilbert (1986) . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Development of the SGI-Gilbert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Assessment of the SGI-Gilbert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 3. BIBLICAL AND THEOLOGICAL BIAS IN THE DESIGN OF SPIRITUAL GIFT IDENTIFICATION INSTRUMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Biblical Bias in the Design of SGI-WMHQ and SGI-Gilbert . . . . . . . . 59 Nature of the Gift Lists in SGI-WMHQ and SGI-Gilbert . . . . . . . 59 Nature of the Gift Lists in the New Testament . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 The Influence of Historical Setting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 “Conceptual Glue” of the Gift Lists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Theological Bias in the Design of SGI-WMHQ and SGI-Gilbert . . . . . 73 The Purpose for Spiritual Gifts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Evidence from Content of Gift List Passages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Excursus: The Problem of Self Assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 4. EMPIRICAL ANALYSES OF SPIRITUAL GIFT IDENTIFICATION INSTRUMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 The Importance of Empirical Analyses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 Frederickson’s Evaluation of SGI-McMinn/SGI-L . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Ledbetter and Foster’s Analysis of the SGI-Hocking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 Cooper and Blakeman’s Analysis of SGI-Fortune . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Kehe’s Evaluation of SGI-WMHQ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 Implications Resultant from Empirical Analyses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 Comparison of Factor Analyses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105

vi Chapter Page The Potential of a Two/Three Factor Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 Role of Gender and Spiritual Gifts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 An Alternative: The Open-Ended Survey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 5. TOWARD AN ECCLISIOCENTRIC MODEL OF SPIRITUAL GIFT IDENTIFICATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 Emphasis on the Individual in Spiritual Gift Identification Instruments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 The Biblical Basis for an Ecclesiocentric Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123 Gifts as Ministries In and For the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137 The Role of the Church in Spiritual Gift Identification . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158 6. CONCLUSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160 Issues Raised and Answered . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161 Areas for Further Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166 Final Thoughts and Reflections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167 APPENDIX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205

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LIST OF TABLES Table Page 1. SGI-McMinn Sample Triplet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

2. SGI-WMHQ and SGI-Gilbert list comparison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

3. Gift lists in the Pauline corpus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

4. Berding’s “List of Lists” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

5. Summary of empirical analyses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106

viii

PREFACE Although this work bears my name, it is the culmination of the efforts of many people who saw something in me that I was not sure was there. Because this is an academic work, I would be remiss if I did not begin by thanking the professors at the three institutions at which I have been blessed to study: Hannibal-LaGrange University, Covenant Theological Seminary, and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Space is not adequate to list every professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who has impacted my life. Dean Charles Lawless challenged me to think critically and constructively about theology and practice in the local church. Professor George Martin helped me see God’s heart for the nations on every page of Scripture. And, Professor Tim Beougher demonstrated that it is not a contradiction to have both the mind of a rigorous theologian and the heart of an evangelist. I also wish to thank my cohort group – Steve Crouse, David Prince, Grady Smith, and Matt Spradlin – for their constant encouragement. I extend my deepest appreciation to the churches I served during my doctoral pursuits: Lighthouse Community Church in Nashville, Illinois and Raleigh Road Baptist Church in Wilson, North Carolina. I would be remiss if I did not extend special thanks to Mike and Rhonda Eatmon, members at RRBC, who graciously opened their beach house to me so that I could complete this project. A special thanks to the pastoral and support staff at RRBC for their encouragement. In particular, I extend my deepest appreciation to Pastor Greg Carr for his editorial advice throughout this process. Though my ministry has been enriched through this process, it is my great joy to be able to give my full attention to the local church once again.

ix Without a supportive family, it would be impossible to pursue an undertaking such as this. My parents, Charles and Rosie Pochek, provided encouragement from the beginning. It was their love of God’s Word and his Church that first birthed in my heart a desire to answer the research question contained herein. In a lot of ways, this work is an extension and culmination of their early discipleship of their son. To our children, David and Jessica, I say thank you for allowing me to study and write, write and study, and then study and write some more. May God restore the years that this doctoral pursuit has eaten. More than that, may they both become all that God intends for them to be for the sake of his glory. I do not have words adequate to thank my wife, Susy. For nearly half of our 22 year marriage I have been pursuing one degree or another. She has selflessly allowed me to pursue every one of them, because she believed in me and in the potential for God to use me in some way to benefit his Kingdom. Words are not enough to thank her, so I pray that God will honor her sacrifice as we move to the next chapter of our lives. Finally, I thank my Heavenly Father, who saved me and called me to be an equipper of his people (Eph 4:11). It is a constant surprise to me that God would allow me to be a vessel to speak (or write) anything that would benefit his people. I pray that he has allowed me to do so here. SDG.

Robert W. Pochek

Wilson, NC December 2011

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Since approximately 1972 1 segments of the North American church, particularly those influenced by the Church Growth Movement (CGM), have increasingly regarded a conscious understanding of spiritual gifts and the utilization of those gifts in the life of the church as important for individual followers of Christ. 2 C. Peter Wagner, a leader in the CGM for over thirty years, is a strong advocate for the use of spiritual gifts in the life of the church. 3 Wagner contends that there is no “dimension of the Christian life that more effectively joins the teachings of Scripture with the day-to-day activities of

1 Although this date is not intended to be exact, C. Peter Wagner states in Your Church Can Grow (Ventura, CA: Regal, 1976), 71, “I believe the real turning point [on the matter of spiritual gifts] to be the publication of Body Life, written by Pastor Ray Stedman of Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California. The unusual popularity of that book in 1972 is due largely to the receptive climate for spiritual gifts that had already been five years in the making.” 2 “Spiritual gifts” is the term used to refer to the broad range of concepts described by the Greek words pneumatika and charismata in 1 Cor 12:8-10, 28-30; Rom 12:6-8; Eph 4:11; and 1 Pet 4:10-11. Transliterations of pneumatika and charismata will be used throughout the project for the sake of consistency as a number of sources do not use the original language spelling. 3 Although the CGM addresses more issues than spiritual gifts, Wagner is widely regarded as the authority in the CGM on this particular subject. According to Thom Rainer, The Book of Church Growth: History, Theology, and Principles (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1993), 113 n. 1, Wagner’s Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow (Ventura, CA: Regal, 1994) was “the first complete monograph on the subject relating the gifts specifically to church growth.” While recognizing there is some diversity of opinion on the subject of spiritual gifts within the CGM, Wagner will be primarily cited throughout this project as representing the CGM perspective on spiritual gifts.

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the people of God than spiritual gifts.” 4 Thom Rainer, founding Dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a recognized authority on the CGM, indicates that the CGM encourages Christians to discover their spiritual gifts and then use those gifts to build up the body of Christ, which will result in the church’s growth. 5

Over the past thirty-five years or so, an increasingly large amount of material on the subject of spiritual gifts has been produced. This material includes books, seminars, and spiritual gift identification instruments (both paper based and online), frequently called “spiritual gift inventories.” Of these resources, the “spiritual gift inventory” has become a frequently used method by which churches aim to help believers discover their spiritual gifts. 6 Yet, is the use of a spiritual gift identification instrument the best way for people to find their place of joyful service within the church? Four passages within the Pauline corpus provide the primary biblical basis from which the conventional view of spiritual gifts is derived: 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28- 30; Romans 12:6-8, and Ephesians 4:11. 7 The understanding of the spiritual gifts described in these passages and defined primarily as “God-given abilities” has become

4 C. Peter Wagner, Leading Your Church to Grow (Ventura, CA: Regal, 1984), 131. 5 Rainer, The Book of Church Growth, 113. 6 Because several documents under review in this dissertation bear the title “spiritual gift inventory,” the term “spiritual gift identification instrument” will be used throughout this project when referring to spiritual gift inventories in general. Those documents bearing the title “spiritual gift inventory” will be indentified by SGI, followed by the primary author of the document (i.e., SGI-McMinn). 7 In addition to the Pauline texts, 1 Pet 4:10-11 includes what are often regarded as two additional gifts: speaking and serving gifts. The Petrine text will be important later in this study as a way of categorizing gifts, rather than a listing of additional gifts.

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the conventional view in much of evangelicalism. 8 According to the conventional view, for individuals to properly understand God’s place and purpose for them within the church, and for the church to function and grow as God intends, conscious knowledge and use of spiritual gifts is indispensable. At this point it would be helpful to define the term “spiritual gifts” as used within the aforementioned resources. Wagner defines a spiritual gift as “a special attribute given by the Holy Spirit to every member of the Body of Christ, according to God’s grace, for use within the context of the Body.” 9 Leslie Flynn provides a similar definition in stating “a gift is a Spirit-given ability for Christian service.” 10 Bruce Bugbee, Don Cousins and Bill Hybels define spiritual gift(s) as “spiritual gifts are special abilities distributed by the Holy Spirit to every believer according to God’s design and grace for the common good of the body of Christ.” 11 Other examples could be cited that all utilize a similar definition. 12 The term spiritual gifts will be defined here as “the God- given calling and equipping to serve in the body of Christ in order to advance the

8 Kenneth Berding, What Are the Spiritual Gifts? Rethinking the Conventional View (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2006), 25. 9 C. Peter Wagner, Discover Your Spiritual Gifts, updated and expanded ed. (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2005), 20. 10 Leslie B. Flynn, 19 Gifts of the Spirit (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1978), 21. 11 Bruce Bugbee, Don Cousins, and Bill Hybels, Network: Leader’s Guide (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 78. 12 The following is a sample of the books and materials concerning spiritual gifts and their use within the church that utilizes a similar definition of spiritual gifts: Wagner, Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow; idem, Discover Your Spiritual Gifts; Bruce Bugbee, Don Cousins and Bill Hybels, Network: Participant’s Guide (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994); Dan Reiland, Spiritual Gifts (Atlanta: Injoy, 1998); Ray C. Stedman, Body Life (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1972); Greg Ogden, The New Reformation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990); Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995); Craig Keener, Gift and Giver: the Holy Spirit for Today (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001).

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Kingdom of God.” There are three common elements in these definitions: the source of spiritual gifts is the Holy Spirit; the purpose of spiritual gifts is the building up of the Body; and the nature of spiritual gifts as God-given abilities. There is some question as to whether defining spiritual gift(s) as “ability” is consistent with the intention of the biblical writers, or whether the concept of ability has been imported onto the text by modern translators. It is this element of defining spiritual gifts primarily in terms of ability that is tied directly to the use of spiritual gift identification tools. Chapter Three will address the issue of how spiritual gifts are defined from a biblical and theological perspective. In addition, significant question remains as to whether the spiritual gift identification instruments actually reveal the abilities they purport. Chapter Four will address the issue of the reliability and validity of spiritual gift identification instruments by examining previously published empirical analyses of a select number of instruments. Based on the findings of the empirical analyses reviewed, the use of spiritual gift identification instruments will be subjected to further examination. Thesis At least three major areas of concern are associated with using spiritual gift identification instruments. First, such instruments are dependent upon defining spiritual gifts as abilities that may be accurately self reported, which may not accurately represent the New Testament teaching regarding the nature of spiritual gifts. Second, in addition to utilizing a suspect definition of spiritual gifts, spiritual gift inventories have been constructed in a way that has not been demonstrably reliable. Finally, spiritual gift inventories have tended to hyper-individualize the entire process of spiritual gift discovery and use, placing the individual as the center of attention rather than the church to whom and for whom the gifts have been given. The aforementioned reasons provide the basis for a scholarly examination of the development of spiritual gift inventories and

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the presuppositions underlying them in order to argue for an ecclesiocentric model that more accurately reflects the New Testament evidence and emphases. Because spiritual gifts have been defined primarily in terms of ability, it has been assumed that such gifts could be discovered primarily through observation and personal self evaluation. Thus, spiritual gift identification instruments have been developed to discover those gifts. The initial instrument devised for the discovery of spiritual gifts was entitled the Spiritual Gift Inventory (SGI-McMinn) and was developed by Gordon McMinn, a professor at Western Conservative Baptist Seminary. 13 In addition to the SGI-McMinn, this dissertation traces the development of two spiritual gift identification instruments (the SGI-Gilbert and SGI-WMHQ) widely used in evangelical circles. Both the SGI-Gilbert and the SGI-WMHQ share design characteristics found first in the SGI-McMinn, and the first major revision of the SGI-McMinn, the SGI-L. 14

The SGI-McMinn is a forced answer ipsative instrument, which means that individuals are given two statements or words and asked to choose which response most accurately describes them. 15 The ipsative format of the SGI-McMinn presented a number of difficulties for researchers and individuals, including the length of time required to complete the instrument, the difficulty of generating normative data, and the difficulty of individuals to accurately respond to the array of possible responses. As part of her research investigating the validity of the SGI-McMinn, Frederickson developed a version of the instrument that utilized a modified, four point

13 Susan E. Fredrickson, “The Construction and Preliminary Validation of the Spiritual Gift Inventory, Research Version” (Ph.D. diss., Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, 1985), 28. 14 Two additional spiritual gift identification instruments will be examined in Chapter Four as they are each the subject of an empirical analysis examining reliability and validity of spiritual gift identification instruments. 15 Fredrickson, “The Construction and Preliminary Validation of the Spiritual Gift Inventory, Research Version,” 38.

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Likert response format, referred to as the SGI-L. 16 The majority of spiritual gift identification instruments have followed this pattern, with the greatest difference between them being the way in which the Likert scale is constructed in each. However, the underlying problems associated with using instruments based largely – if not solely – upon self-assessment have not been adequately addressed from a theological perspective. The theological problems associated with self-assessment will be one aspect of the overall reliability of spiritual gift identification instruments examined in this dissertation. During the 1970s two additional spiritual gift identification instruments were developed: the SGI-Hocking (developed by David Hocking in 1975) 17 and the Wagner- Modified Houts Questionnaire (developed by Richard Houts in 1976 and later adapted and modified by C. Peter Wagner in 1979). 18 To date, the historical development of neither the SGI-Hocking nor the SGI-WMHQ has been extensively investigated. Due to Wagner’s influence and prolific writing, the SGI-WMHQ is likely the most widely used spiritual gift identification instrument in North America; therefore, the SGI-WMHQ will be one of the two prominent tools investigated in this dissertation. The SGI-Hocking is the subject of one of the empirical analyses that is examined. in Chapter Four. The second prominent spiritual gift identification tool investigated in this dissertation is the Team Ministry Spiritual Gift Inventory. 19 Larry Gilbert developed this tool and will be described throughout the dissertation as the SGI-Gilbert. This particular spiritual gift identification tool became available in written form in the mid-1980s and is

16 Ibid., 39. 17 David Hocking, Spiritual Gifts (Orange, CA: Promise Publishing, 1992). 18 Wagner, Discover Your Spiritual Gifts. 19 Larry Gilbert, Spiritual Gift Inventory (Elkton, MD: Church Growth Institute, 2005) [on-line]; accessed 24 April 2007; available from http://www.churchgrowth.org/ analysis/ intro.php; Internet.

Full document contains 230 pages
Abstract: This dissertation seeks to answer the question: "Is the use of a spiritual gift identification instrument the best way for people to find their place of joyful service within the church?" Chapter 1 provides a history of the Church Growth Movement (CGM) through 1972 as an important backdrop for the development of spiritual gift identification instruments, the first of which was the SGI-McMinn. One of the key factors in the early popularizing of the SGI-McMinn was the CGM's emphasis on every member serving in the church by using his or her spiritual gift. The early 1970s saw a marked increase in the interest of spiritual gifts and their identification that was largely due to the influence of the CGM. This emphasis led to the popularization of the SGI-McMinn, which had been in development since the mid 1960s. The popularization of the SGI-McMinn led to the problematic issue of whether the instrument was based on solid theological and methodological ground. Chapter 2 provides a thorough examination of the historical development of the SGI-McMinn. This chapter includes an assessment of the relationship between the CGM's emphasis on spiritual gift utilization and the development of a tool for spiritual gift identification. This chapter examines the development of spiritual gift identification instruments beginning with the SGI-McMinn (1972), moving to the SGI-L (1984), the SGI-WHMQ (1979), and SGI-Gilbert (1986). Chapter 3 demonstrates that spiritual gift identification instruments are dependent upon defining spiritual gifts as abilities that may be accurately self-reported. Further, the design of spiritual gift identification instruments is inherently influenced by the biblical and theological bias of those designing them. Two popular spiritual gift identification instruments will be compared to demonstrate this dependence: the SGIWHMQ and the SGI-Gilbert. Biblical bias is demonstrated as some spiritual gift identification instruments hold firmly to a set, unchanging number of gifts tested for, while other instruments are modified significantly over time. This biblical bias is problematic as it lends to creating confusion over the number and identity of spiritual gifts. Theological bias is demonstrated by the tendency of such instruments to focus on the individual rather than the New Testament purpose for gifts as a blessing to the local church. An excursus on the problem of self-assessment concludes the chapter. Chapter 4 brings together a number of empirical analyses of spiritual gift identification instrument construct, validity, and reliability. Regardless of the supposed biblical or theological basis for utilizing spiritual gift identification instruments, the research into the construct of the instruments themselves is vital to determining their usefulness in the church. The empirical analyses demonstrate that the methodology inherent in the development of spiritual gift identification instruments is not demonstrably valid or reliable to reveal individual spiritual gifts, but is reliable for revealing broad gift categories. Chapter 5 presents an alternative approach to spiritual gift identification in which spiritual gift discovery and service is rooted in the life of the church. The chapter begins with a quick review of the inherent tendency of spiritual gift identification instruments to place the focus on the individual will be undertaken. Following that, the biblical basis for an ecclesiocentric model for spiritual gift identification is presented. A key component of that model is addressed next, namely, that spiritual gifts are best defined as ministries in and for the church. Finally, the role of the church and church leadership in particular to spiritual gift discovery is examined, including a five-step strategy to implement an ecclesiocentric model of spiritual gift identification. Chapter 6 concludes the dissertation with final thoughts on spiritual gift discovery and how further study of spiritual gift identification might be pursued.