Understanding your results
Now that you have taken the survey what will you do with the results? Learn more about Baptism, service, mission, and how to discern (know with God's help) which of your results are truly charisms.
You will find brief descriptions of each of the 22 charisms from the survey, below. In the descriptions and throughout this website the words "gift" and "charism" are often used interchangeably.
The articles in the right column discuss various topics related to the survey. Discover what it means to be “equipped for mission” and learn more about how the Church defines charisms.
Below the charism descriptions, you will find links to suggested resources and books.
Descriptions of the 22 Charisms of the Activate Survey [click to reveal]
The gift of Administration assists persons who have been tasked with leadership roles to provide organization and leadership to bring about an expansion of the Kingdom of God.
Romans 12:7 "Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service [administration], in our serving [administration]…”
The gift of apostleship provides additional help to those who engage in work to spread the Christian Faith in a variety of contexts, including formal Church activities and ordinary daily sharing of the gospel through word and deed.
Matthew 4:18-22 "As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen; And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed him; And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zeb'edee and John his brother, in the boat with Zeb'edee their father, mending their nets, and he called them; Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him."
Acts 14:21-22 "When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Ico'nium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God."
The gift of artistry helps the Christian artist to communicate Beauty, Truth, and Goodness by creating a variety of works of art (writing, art, photography, film/video, crafting sacred vessels, etc.). Through their artistry, God is mysteriously revealed in ways that may not be easily explained by skill alone.
The gift of discernment of spirits assists a disciple to exercise wisdom on behalf of others by accurately perceiving God’s activity in a person’s life. Often this person will also have a sense of the presence or activity of demonic forces and may be able to assist in their identification and source. The expression of this charism seems to be rare.
Through this charism the Holy Spirit empowers disciples to be especially effective when sharing the Gospel message. Many people can be effective at sharing the Gospel, but when this charism is active the response of hearers is beyond what one may normally expect in responding to God’s invitation and grace. Often those who have this gift will be able to share the Gospel with great boldness and be effective in circumstances that would ordinarily be very difficult to share about Jesus and the Good News.
The gift of encouragement makes a disciple of Jesus even more capable of manifesting God’s love to those who are hurting or despairing when they reach out to them to provide comfort or guidance. Often this charism is expressed in such a way that those who receive it are encouraged beyond what mere words of advice can offer because of the action of the Holy Spirit through the disciple who exercises it through a ministry of presence or accompaniment.
The charism of giving is something altogether more than the ordinary Christian virtue of giving through almsgiving and the corporal works of mercy. For the disciple who is empowered by this charism, giving is not seen as a duty, but rather as a great joy. Often those who possess this charism give generously and actively seek to avoid recognition.
Through the charism of healing a disciple is able to be an avenue of God’s grace of healing. This is a relatively rare gift that leads to healings and cures for those who are ill when restoration or healing is unlikely or unexpected.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 1508 “The Holy Spirit gives to some a special charism of healing so as to make manifest the grace of the risen Lord.”
Luke 10:9 “Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; heal the sick in it and say to them, `The kingdom of God has come near to you.”
Disciples with the gift of helping are supernaturally enabled to assist others to succeed in efforts they make to build up the Kingdom of God. The person exercising this charism will usually be more interested in helping another person with their task than with directly working on that same task themself. The difference this person can make in a supporting role can magnify the efforts of another beyond a mere 1 to 1 ratio.
See 1 Corinthians 12:28.
The disciple who acts in cooperation with this charism is empowered to offer care and comfort to those in need. All Christian disciples are called to welcome the stranger and offer hospitality, food, shelter, etc. The disciple who exercises this charism is energized by being hospitable and many even get excited by unexpected guests. Their efforts are received by others in a way that often leads to joy and sometimes even conversion.
All Christians are called to pray for one another. When the disciple who has the gift of intercessory prayer answers this call to pray for others their prayers effectively communicate God’s assistance to those in need, frequently leading to remarkable or even miraculous results. Those with this gift often have an intense desire to pray for others immediately after learning of their needs and sometimes even have an uncanny sense of how to best pray for someone or even that someone needs prayer for a specific, unspoken thing.
The gift of knowledge enables a disciple to better understand God through learning and share their insights and understanding in a graceful way that leads others to encounter truths that lead them closer to God. This charism does not include the phenomenon of a “word of knowledge” which is an intuitive insight that is properly part of the charism of prophecy. It may also be distinguished from the charism of wisdom which empowers disciples to help others make good decisions or help them solve specific problems.
The charism of leadership enables a disciple to lead others towards a clear vision. This person will often provide a spark of inspiration or have a clear vision for a group that is working to build up the Kingdom of God. Exercising this gift often leads to recognition of problems, obstacles, or needs that may hinder a group’s efforts along with clarity about creative solutions. This charism provides vision and solutions, while the charism of administration helps order and manage the tasks to make the vision a reality.
The charism of mercy provides grace to love God’s people with exception empathy and compassion. This charism builds upon the Christian virtue of mercy and is often activated within the context of the disciple when performing the Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy. While all Christians are called to be merciful, disciples with this gift are especially effective in this area, their efforts often bear significant fruit and provide those served with genuine and noteworthy comfort. Usually they are profoundly sensitive to the needs of the suffering and needy and sense that they cannot avoid responding to those in need.
This charism should not be confused with the call to all disciples to be missionaries in their everyday life by loving and serving others and sharing the Gospel message of salvation with them. Disciples with this charism are helped by the Holy Spirit to joyfully share the Gospel in cultures other than their own in a way that is especially effective. Through this charism the person is supernaturally able to share the Good News in ways that transcend culture and or communicate in ways that speak to another culture is a way that leads people closer to Christ. Sometimes this gift is exercised by those who travel to another country, but it can also be exercised in relation to those of different cultures within one’s home country.
The gift of music helps disciples to exercise their natural musical talents at the service of performing music and leading others in the worship of God. It also can assist in writing or performing music that causes hearers to experience beauty and goodness that leads to the recognition or contemplation of God. This gift is being used when the musician calls forth spiritual hunger in others even if the content or context is not specifically religious.
“The one who sings well, prays twice.” -St. Augustine
Through this gift a disciple exercises uncommon trust in God’s providence and acts upon this confidence in radical ways. This person has utter confidence that God’s grace will be sufficient in moments and circumstance which most people would find improbable. Disciples with this charism are able to joyfully and without worry press on with their efforts even when success seems unlikely, when there are not enough resources or money to accomplish a goal, or when it will take a miracle to get it done. This is why this charism is sometimes also called the working of miracles because this person’s confidence in God is so empowered by the Holy Spirit, that small and sometimes even big miracles follow in the wake of their apostolic work.
The gift of prophecy assists the disciple to communicate divine wisdom and apply the truth of the Gospel to direct or inspire God’s people to respond to specific situations. Prophetic words are not infallibly true and must be accepted and often discerned by those who receive them. This kind of prophetic activity is not ordinarily concerned with predicting future events. When this gift is exercised authentically it is used to help God’s people respond wholeheartedly to his call today, calling them to conversion and providing insights into the application of God’s word in daily life or apostolic works. Like the charism of discernment of spirts, this charism requires docility to Church authority and pastoral guidance so that it will benefit the faithful in fruitful ways.
The charism of service enables a disciple to recognize needs or obstacles that inhibit the work of a ministry, apostolate, or other endeavor and to personally respond to overcome the obstacles or help meet the need. Christians who are living out this gift are energized by service and often solve problems joyfully without seeking attention or recognition for their efforts. When this charism is active, others may perceive this person as someone exercising the gifts of administration or leadership. One thing that may clearly distinguish the exercise of service is that this person will not easily delegate tasks to others, they feel compelled to do the work themselves, not direct other’s efforts.
The gift of teaching applies specifically to the particular dimension of teaching that leads individuals to embrace their potential more fully as disciples of Jesus Christ. Disciples who have extensive training or even formal education and degrees in the field of catechesis may find it difficult to distinguish between the exercise of this charism and their skill and knowledge of teaching methods. Sometimes this charism may help a teacher to present non-religious topics in an extraordinary way that communicates a love for learning and discovery of the truth for their students. Most often this charism is given for the sake of building up the Church and students on the receiving end of this charism will frequently experience moments of discovery and epiphanies that lead to a deeper commitment to God’s plan for their life.
The gift of voluntary poverty helps the disciple to live a joyful, even cheerful life of voluntary simplicity and poverty to self-identify with the poor and suffering. Living out this charism can radically increase the apostolic and evangelizing efforts of the disciple. This charism can serve a prophetic purpose as well, announcing to the world the reality of God’s providential nature as Our Father who provides our daily bread. Giving from abundance is an act of justice. When active, this charism is a joyful embrace of poverty for the sake of the Kingdom and not merely giving the extra one may have to the poor nor even the charism of giving which empowers acts of giving or service. Here it is important to distinguish between the charism of voluntary poverty and the discipline of poverty which is lived by members of religious orders and some laity as part of their religious community’s commitments or vows.
The charism of wisdom enables the disciple to provide remarkable insights or solutions to specific problems. While wisdom is one of the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit and is given to help the Christian with wisdom for their own decisions; this charism builds upon the Baptismal Grace of Wisdom and is specifically is given for the sake of serving others.
There is also a difference between the charism of wisdom and the charisms of discernment of spirits and knowledge. Discernment of spirits refers to one’s perception of God’s activity (or influence by the Evil One) in a person’s life. Knowledge more properly applies to sharing insights with others that lead them to know God’s will more closely and the charism of wisdom provides direct insights that lead to a solution or plan of action to deal with a problem or obstacle in their life or apostolic work.
It is also not the same thing as the discernment that every Christian must exercise as they seek God’s will in their decision making and judgments.
1 Corinthians 12:27-30
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
Articles to Discover More
For many Catholics the thought of taking a survey to learn about their charisms (gifts for service and mission) may seem like a bit too much. Those who are hesitant may discover in this brief article some helpful guidance regarding when one may be ready, or not yet ready to engage in taking the Activate Survey and engaging in a discernment process to learn about the results and what to do with charisms they have been given.
Let’s begin with a good definition of two aspects of faith that will help answer this question. The...Read more
Charisms are extraordinary graces given to individual Christians for the good of others, for service and mission. They assist Christians in their efforts to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. These graces can be distinguished from the graces given for personal sanctification through the Sacraments of Initiation and from other graces directed at the individual disciple’s own growth in holiness, such as the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Though many Catholics may not know what charisms are or how they operate, they remain a central element of Catholic...Read more
This website is inspired by the work of The Catherine of Sienna Institute. We highly recommend that you visit them to learn about their Called and GiftedTM Discernment Process which includes live workshops and online course options. The charisms on our survey do not match theirs, however, they are a great resource for going deeper in your discernment as an individual or parish community.
The best resource for use in a parish setting from the Sienna Institute is the workbook, Discerning Charisms.
You may also find Sherry Weddell's book Fruitful Discipleship very helpful. It contains detailed descriptions of charisms, guidance on how to discern your charisms and use them in daily life.
We also recommend the work of Victoria Harris and her Arise Ministry. She wrote an insightful book on this subject Holy Spirit 101 and a companion online course Holy Spirit 101. This course is also available for parishes to host live in the form of a workshop.
***We do not receive any compensation for these recommendations or through these links.