Gifts_from_GodI regularly come across gifted prophetic people who wonder why they are not being given opportunities to minister in the area of their spiritual gifts and passion.

There are two contexts in which this can happen:

  • You may be aware that you have a gift of prophecy, or another spiritual gift. In fact, you may have exercised that gift or ministry in the past, and even seen great results as the Holy Spirit touched people through your ministry.
  • You may be newly emerging in your spiritual gift. You are aware that you have a gift and Spirit-given ability—so why is it that others do not see it?

Maybe you can identify with the following questions:

  • ‘Why does it seem as though my gift is hidden?’
  • ‘Why am I not receiving opportunities to exercise my gift?’
  • ‘Why don’t leaders in my church recognise my ministry?’
  • ‘Will I ever fulfil the call of God on my life?’

These are questions that I have asked myself at various times in the past. If you can relate to this today, I have some things that  I would like to share with you on a personal level.

Blaming Others will Disempower You

It can be very easy to blame others when we are not being given opportunities to exercise our gifts in church life.

We perceive that leaders especially, have the power to release or hold back possibilities for us to minister. It may seem that they are blocking the achievement of God’s call on our lives.

But the reality is that as long as we are blaming others for our lack of ministry fulfilment—whether it is a spouse, pastor, ministry leader or anybody else—we are actually disempowering ourselves and limiting God.

Invariably, we will begin to voice our frustration and resentment, for as Jesus said, ‘Out of the abundance of our hearts our mouths speak.’ (Luke 6:43-46)

Eventually, discouragement, disappointment and frustration pervade the atmosphere around our lives, creating a cycle of barrenness. But I have good news for you today: you can break free!

Reasons why Your Gifts are not Being Used

Firstly, you need to remember that God is sovereign. No human on the planet can hold back the fulfilment of His call on your life—except you.

You are empowered. You do not need to look to someone else to release your ministry.

So, if your spiritual gift or ministry call seems to be hidden, here are some possible reasons why this might be happening, along with some suggestions to help you move forward: [1]

1. You are Waiting for Appointment Unnecessarily

Sometimes we wait for an invitation, role or position when Jesus just wants to love people through us.

For example, if you have a gift of prophecy, you can use it at the basic level of encouragement in a small group and everyday life amongst family and friends. Remember, though, that if you have a word that goes beyond simple encouragement, the principles of accountability apply.

If you want to be used in the area of healing, start offering to pray for people—and so on.

The key is to stay within the appropriate context in the use of your gift. [2]

2. You Need to make your Desires and Dreams Known

Sometimes we think that ministry leaders are aware of our gifts and calling and should open doors for us. They would—if only they knew what was on our hearts.

I can remember one time in particular where I was frustrated because a ministry leader wasn’t giving me an opportunity. When I eventually broached the subject, he asked me why I hadn’t mentioned it, and happily provided a pathway forward for me.

Leaders aren’t mind readers. Sometimes we think that they are supermen and superwomen who should be listening to God about our personal gifts and situations.

They may simply need the opportunity to hear from us firsthand.

3. You are Beginning and Need to Step out.

Sometimes we wait too long for encouragement, when we should be stepping out of the boat ourselves.

Understandably, when you are new in your gift, this can be a bit daunting.

When a seedling emerges from the soil, there is a last push to break through the earth. When a butterfly is emerging from a chrysalis, there is a final wrestling to break free.

This is the kind of motivation that the Apostle Paul talked about when he said, ‘Desire spiritual gifts.’ (1 Cor 14:1) Is your desire strong enough that you will seek tangible ways of moving forward in your gift? [3]

4. The Delay is about God’s Timing

Wilderness seasons are a Biblical theme—remember Moses, Joseph, David, John the Baptist and the Apostle Paul? [4]

Some reasons that God ordains a time of hiddenness may include:

  • Timing as He brings circumstances and people together
  • Strengthening other gifts and skills in your life that will be needed in the long run
  • Preparation of our character or gift

If God has ordained a season of waiting, He is faithful and will release you at the right time.

5. You may Benefit by Adjusting Something in Your Ministry Approach.

This is a vital point. Many times I have seen people held back because there is something unsuitable in their approach to using their gifts—and yet they are completely unaware of it.

Here are some checks we should do regularly in relation to our gifts and ministry:


  • Am I willing to serve in small ways?
  • Am I present at meetings, even when my gift is not being called on?
  • Am I honouring my leaders in my conversation and actions?
  • Am I being self-centred, i.e. it’s about my gift and my ministry, or others-centred—“What can I do to help you?”

Culture and Style

  • Does the style of the way I use my gift fit with the culture of my church?
  • What about my language—terminology and expressions?
  • Do I use any methods or ‘formulas’ when I minister that my leaders do not use?
  • Do I use actions, gestures or manifestations, e.g. when I pray for people, which are not in keeping with the culture of my church?

If a movement we have been brought up in, imparted to, or taught by, is different from that of our church, this is something that we need to especially consider.

We need to be willing to lay these methods aside and align our ministry style with the culture of our church or ministry organisation.

Vision and Values

  • Do my values and vision for ministry differ from that of my church?

A friend of mine observed that a church is like a train—led by God and our leadership with a definite destination in mind. We need to decide whether we are willing to get on board and to serve in the direction that our church is going.

So long as we are nurturing our own desires for a different destination or culture of church life, our leaders will perceive this. They need to know we are pulling with them—not against them.

Why not ask?

You may benefit by approaching someone in leadership—perhaps sharing this article with him or her—and reviewing any possible reasons why you seem to be stuck in relation to your gift or ministry.

This will only work if you take an open and humble approach and are willing to listen to suggestions without becoming hurt or offended.

Often leaders do not address situations such as I’ve mentioned above because they know that their observations will not be well received. If you initiate the conversation, and are willing to make adjustments, you may be surprised at the results.

Do you have any experiences or questions to share on this topic? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment in the comments box below. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.


[1] Another reason our gift or ministry may be hidden is because we are hiding ourselves—due to fear or hurt. We will be covering these topics in the next few weeks.

[2] Every church has unique protocols for the operation of spiritual gifts. See Prophetic Ministry In Church Life: Why Have Guidelines

[3] If you believe you have a gift of prophecy emerging, see the following post for ideas:

How To Develop Your Prophetic Gift: Where To Begin 

[4] Here is a post on the topic of wilderness seasons that you may find helpful:

Going Through A Testing Season In Your Spiritual Gifts

Related Posts:

11 Signs That Your Prophetic Gift Is Being Held Back

Do You Have A Ministry Call?

Break Free Of Hurts That Are Blocking Your Prophetic Gift

© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church

31 thoughts on “Why Is My Spiritual Gift Or Ministry Not Being Released?”

  1. Thank you so much you confirmed what God said a out a season of being hidden, my Pastor tells me that I am one of Gods secret weapons hidden in the house. Wow I feel 10 Pounds lighter, bless you and your husband and the ministry that God has called yo too.

  2. I am 26 years a believer.and i believ i have a prophetic and healing gift.i use to be dreaming of praying for the sick and for th bewitchd and they get wel.i use to tell my spiritual fathr but nevr said anythng.God show me a 2yr old gal who wasnt walking and i told th mther.i startd praying for after 1mnth she startd walking.i thank GOD FOR IT.

    1. What a great testimony, Mirtha! May you see even more miracles as you continue to faithfully minister in prayer and your gift.

      1. still continuing seeing things.and am really thanking my God everyday for giving me this gift and still want to grow more on faith like our ancestor Abraham.

  3. Thanks for this teachings and impartation. God’s grace will increase upon you.
    We must see God as our inheritance, that way once you are clearly sure you’ve pleased Him, praises or recognition of men won’t mean a thing and your joy will know no bounds.

  4. I’m truely bless to have come across your article it has enlightened me. about everything in regards to gifts being dormant I’m experiencing them but I know understand it better thank you so much you are helping people in the body of Christ all around the world. God bless you,your family and ministry.

  5. Dear Helen,

    This is such a great article. It is full of sound biblical wisdom and exhortations. It is clear to me that when we ask ourselves”Why is my ministry gift not being recognized or released” that most times the first person we need to look at is ourselves. But what about when you are under a leadership which sits their ministers or people with ministry gifts down by sanctioning them from doing certain functions in the ministry as a means of discipline? Or as a means to get them to perform in a way that the leadership wants them to perform. Is this biblical? If so, if a leader finds this necessary, should they inform the individual as to why they are being sat down or what the expectation is? I see this type of treatment as controlling and manipulative. Please help me to see God’s perspective on this type of action that leaders exercise. Please tell me to what end is this neccessary.

    1. Thanks for your question – it’s a very important one, but not one that I can easily answer (in terms of making an observation about your own situation) from a distance. Sometimes church leaders make decisions or have sets of protocols / ways of doing things that don’t make sense from an outside perspective, but they themselves have a bigger picture of what is going on and there may be reasons for leadership actions that are not immediately apparent. For this reason I would not make a judgment call.
      However you do raise a very important point. Sometimes leaders make less than perfect decisions. Sometimes there are degrees of unhealth in leadership or in church culture. And all of us who are under oversight…well it doesn’t take long for us to see the weaknesses. They WILL be there. So – in times we observe issues or concerns – what should we do about it? First question – has God planted me in this church? If He has – assuming an imperfect environment, but NOT a severely abusive situation which it’s not God’s will to stay in – then I believe our Biblical mandate is to honor our leaders. The trials, being stepped down or aside… all of these kinds of things, being misunderstood – all of these provide for a Joseph opportunity and build humility and character that’s invaluable. I’m speaking from the experience myself of having trials with leadership in years past. And I know God is sovereign and faithful over and above all of that. And if we do have issues – we approach our leaders to share honestly without negative attitudes, judgments and underlying criticism. If you would like to work through this further, I recommend you read my whole story in my book Prophetic People in a Changing Church.
      I realize it’s a complex issue 🙂

  6. Thanx helen for the one of the guys who think in a negative way.i used to prophesy in the former church i used to go to,nowadays it has stopped um only dreaming and i am in a new church and this had made a confusion in me to think maybe it has gone.Um dreaming more than before .Maybe God is making my gift grow before i go out to a big place,i have joined the intercession team and um liking it and for now noone knows what i dream of and i keep it secrect .Um 25 years of age

  7. Thank you very much for this article, God has talking to me through dreams about starting ministry and am excited, I realize it’s about his time and he is allowing me to read articles and blogs to better be equipped. Thank you sir God bless you

  8. HI…i have a question to the Culture and Style of church..personally, i do have a different style, i was not raised with any church culture, but the Lord has given me an ample zeal for HIS KINDGDOM, and i am naturally charismatic …and def holy spirit filled. the church i have been attending is thriving, but, i am def different . I feel like if i were to shrink in the gifts God gave to me “fit in” w/ my church style and culture, it would be wrong. Please help???..

    1. Camillia Wilkins

      Stephanie Caffrey, that is exactly what I was thinking. Helen Calder is approaching this teaching to follow the Church or the way that a Pastor has set up his church……this will definitely hinder the calling that God has on your life. YOU MUST FOLLOW THE LORD and not the traditions of men which God has warned us not to do in the bible.

      1. Hello Stephanie and Camillia,
        I’m sorry to hear of the struggles Stephanie and do understand.
        Regarding your thoughts Camillia, the verse about not following the traditions of men relates in context to following detailed traditions of Judaism of the times, however, there are plenty of Scriptures throughout the New Testament regarding the way God has set up the church and it’s leadership and how we are to serve and honor, I do know sadly, church life is not always a healthy environment (see my detailed comment above).
        If the DNA match is not the same, the question is, has God planted me here? If you are in the church but not ‘following the way of the church’, what is the fruit/outcome of that?
        Yes, honoring leadership is one of our core values. For a more detailed response, links and Scriptures, see our recent post:

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