"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth" (3 John 1:4).

One of the greatest privileges and responsibilities we have as Christian homeschooling parents is helping our children grow spiritually. A big part of that growth is experienced when a child discovers his spiritual gifts and exercises them through the Holy Spirit's power. By teaching our children how to tap into their spiritual gifts, they find the key to answering life's age-old question, "What makes me special in God's kingdom, and how can I best serve Him with my gifts?"

Unfortunately, it's not always easy for parents to see their children as God sees them. Because children are young and immature, their gifts and spiritual abilities are not easily recognized. However, when one reads through key Bible passages on spiritual gifts, there's no doubt that spiritual gifts are not just for adults. No matter what the age of a person, every believer who has come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ has at least one spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12:7).

Children have a significant role in the body of Christ. Like adults, God's will desires that young people exercise their gifts for the common good of the church and His people. So, how do we as parents help our children discover their spiritual gifts and provide opportunities for those gifts to be used for God's glory? Here are five valuable guidelines for homeschooling parents to help our children discover their motivational gifts, so they can experience the Holy Spirit's joy, serve the Lord faithfully, and grow into spiritually mature adults.

Pray for wisdom.
Prayer is important. James 1:5a says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God." The one who knows us best and exactly how we are gifted spiritually is the gift-giver Himself, the Holy Spirit. As homeschooling parents, we can ask God to show us how our children are gifted, so we can help them use their spiritual gifts for His glory.

Dig into God's Word.
Let your children know that as a Christian, God has a unique plan for their lives. Read 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, 1 Peter 4, and Ephesians 4 together to show them that spiritual gifts are real gifts from God. The apostle Paul gives this list of seven in Romans 12:

    • Prophecy - One who boldly speaks God's Word
    • Service - One who meets others needs by working or laboring
    • Teaching - One with the skill to make others understand God's Word
    • Exhortation - One who can motivate others
    • Giving - One who gives what others need
    • Administration - One who is organized and able to lead others
    • Mercy - One who acts on feelings and compassion for others
Explain spiritual gifts and how they work.
Your children won't know there are gifts available if you don't teach them, so mention spiritual gifts on a regular basis. Explain that God wants to build up the body of Christ by using the spiritual tools He has placed in each person who receives Jesus Christ as Savior. Be sure to note that since God's work is spiritual, the tools used must also be spiritual. More than natural, intellectual, or physical abilities like singing or excelling in math, spiritual gifts are an exhibition of the Holy Spirit's power in your children's lives, so others will be blessed.

Give your child a spiritual gifts survey.
While surveys should not be fully relied upon, a spiritual gift survey like the one in the LIFEPAC® 12th Grade Bible Unit 1 Worktext from Alpha Omega Publications® or the Spiritual Gifts Survey for Kids can definitely help homeschool parents understand their children's special gifts.

Provide service opportunities.
The best way to help your children discover their spiritual gifts is to let them serve or shadow other family members in a variety of ministry situations. Let them assist in the church nursery, lead Sunday school singing, greet people on Sunday mornings, help younger children recite their Bible verses, set tables or clean up during church potlucks, run the sound board or slide show during a worship service, visit the sick and shut ins, collect donations for food pantries, organize youth ministry events, and more. As your children interact with people and participate in these activities, note how they best serve and what emotional and behavioral traits they display. Keep track of what excites them and talk to them about their thoughts and feelings after each new ministry opportunity.