Discovering Your SERVE Profile

Sep 13, 2021

With all the transitions within our IBC churches, we are always looking for new people to lead or to work within the ministries of our churches.  But how do we go about discovering these people, matching them to the needs of our church, and equipping them for service?

Several years ago, I discovered a study called Jesus on Leadership by Gene Wilkes.  It focuses on teaching leadership principles in the way Jesus led, discovering the leader within you, equipping people to serve, and forming teams for ministry.  One of the key things that Wilkes focuses on is the SERVE profile of each person.  What is a SERVE profile?  SERVE stands for five elements that make a person’s service profile.

S stands for spiritual gifts.  These gifts are given by the Holy Spirit to all believers.  Each believer has a gift, and it is his or her responsibility to discover and use the gift given.  Spiritual gifts include teaching, prophesying (or preaching), administration, leadership, hospitality, giving, wisdom, knowledge, evangelism, and apostleship.  The question to ask yourself is — What spiritual gifts has God given me?

E stands for experiences.  Everything that has happened in our lives — both the good and the bad — God can use to teach us something.  These are our experiences, and they mold who we are.  The question to ask your is — What experiences has God allowed me to have to guide me for His purposes?

R stands for relational style.  Relational style is how you relate to other people; it can also be known as your personality type.  Wilkes uses the DISC model in his book.  Each person has a tendency to relate to others in one of four ways:  dominant, influential, steady, or conscientious.  The question to ask yourself is — How has God created me to relate most often to others?

V stands for vocational skills.  Vocational skills are those things that enable you to do your work in the “real world.”  These skills, when thought about, can be applied or adapted for use within the church or ministry context.  The question to ask yourself here is — What vocational skills has God given me the opportunity to develop that can be used for His service?

The final E stands for enthusiasm.  Enthusiasm is probably the hardest one to define.  It is the identification of the thing that you have a passion for in ministry — the thing that makes your heart burn.  The question to ask yourself is — What area of ministry has God burned in my heart the enthusiasm in which to serve Him?

Still not sure what I’m talking about?  Let’s use the example of Paul’s life.  Paul’s spiritual gifts were prophesying, teaching, and evangelism.  His experiences included his study as a Pharisee, his conversion experience on the road to Damascus, and his call to ministry to the Gentiles.  Paul’s relational style was strong; he was a D (dominant personality, works toward achieving a goal, active, task-oriented).  Paul’s vocational skills before his conversion affected his ministry afterwards; he was a Pharisee where he first learned to interpret Scripture, and he was a tentmaker which enabled him to “fund” his ministry.  And Paul’s enthusiasm, his passion, was for all people to know Jesus.  That is what kept him going through beatings, imprisonments, and shipwrecks.

Take a moment and consider your SERVE profile.  Consider the questions for each of the letters.  How has God equipped you to serve in the church where He has placed you?  Are you serving where you should be?  If not, talk to your pastor or other leader in the church and get involved.  Now is the time!

A few years ago, I led one of the small groups at my church, Converge International Fellowship, Darmstadt, Germany, through this study.  As we got to the end of the SERVE profile section of the study, I asked the group to consider their profiles and how they planned to serve.  We had the normal answers of “I want to serve in children’s ministry” or “I want to work with the youth.”  Then a young Chinese student said, “I want to return to China and share the gospel with my country.”  What is remarkable about this is that this very student walked into our church three years earlier to practice his English, having never been to a church before and having never heard the gospel.  Having first given his life to Christ, he now knew how to serve.

If you would like to explore more about your SERVE profile, the study Jesus on Leadership is available through Lifeway.  The IBC has a discount available for IBC churches (contact  Gene Wilkes will also be the speaker at the Europe Ministry Leadership Conference, 25-29 March 2022 in Dubrovnik, Croatia.  Watch for more information coming to your church.  Finally, Wilkes has a self-paced online course on Paul on Leadership through B.H. Carroll Theological Institute.  Visit: for more information.

by Judith Lynn Maxwell

Highlights Editor and Developing Resources Core Strategy Director

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