God is sovereign! He sometimes chooses to do the same thing differently. Have you ever noticed how we attempt to put God in a box, lock Him into a routine? Whenever Jesus does something great in my life, I seem to catalog the event and expect God to always follow the exact same pattern. But God is God and He does things the way He desires to do them. In ministry, we must always beware of following a formula, a routine, rather than God. Yet, there is a pattern to His ways.
In my religious background there is an independent approach to one's relationship with the Lord. Spiritual growth is not dependent on others, except for teaching and counsel. In the areas of the Holy Spirit, the release of the Spirit, the filling of the Spirit, Spiritual Gifts, a person just individually relates to God. God being sovereign can empower a Christian in this way and often does, but the more normal way is through the laying on of hands by one in spiritual authority.
Impartation is the passing on of ministry from one to another, which occurs either as sovereign act of God or as an act of God through man. The grace gifts are received or released by impartation in one of three ways. Please study the following outline and scripture reference.
1) Sovereign: God can move to give grace gifts, ministries and offices as He desires. (Acts 2:1-4; 4:31; 10:44)
2) Laying On of Hands: This can be seen in the following cases:
a) Moses to Joshua (Deuteronomy 34:9)
b) The Seven Stephen, Philip, etc. ( Acts 6:6)
c) Ananias/Paul (Acts 9:17)
d) The Church at Antioch to Barnabas/Paul (Acts 13:3)
e) Elders to Timothy (I Timothy 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6)
f) "Do not be hasty..." I Timothy 5:22
3) Giving of Mantle
a) from Elijah to Elisha (1 Kings 19:19ff)
b) Jesus and the twelve (Luke 9:1,10)
Recently I taught on this particular subject and God dramatically illustrated the release of the gifts. So many think that when the gifts are released that God takes over totally and they have nothing to do. Since faith is involved, the individual is very involved; so involved that God's blessings can be stopped by a person's decision.
The particular group I was teaching had been learning about the Holy Spirit and His work for about four years. They were of Baptist background and spirit filled Christians. Spiritual gifts were evident in their lives, yet the idea that God should do all the work prevailed.
I began to lay hands on them, doing so as their pastor. We were in covenant together as the body of Christ and the anointing that came was corporate anointing. Each person was going to be more proficient than the others in a particular area.
--Dr. James L. Brittain