In the book of Acts, the apostles were baptized in the Holy Spirit after they already believed in Jesus Christ. Some churches have taken this to mean that being saved is a two-step process. What they forget is that the apostles were living in a unique time; the transition time between when Jesus ascended and sent the Spirit in His place to be with us on Earth. Since the event itself was a two-stage process, anyone living during that time would have experienecd it in this way. All believers after this era, however, receive the Holy Spirit at once, as they already live in the time of the Spirit. There is no need to wait for the Holy Spirit to come down from heaven and fill the new believer. He is already here.
The Holy Spirit gives the believer spiritual gifts to equip the believer for ministry. Some churches think of certain gifts, such as speaking in tongues, as symbols of spiritual maturity but this is not necessarily the case. Although it is true that mature believers are usually given more gifts or responsibilities, not each believer receives each gift and each gift is for God’s purposes, not the individual believer’s. God may choose to give a new believer a gift that is needed in his area of influence but may also choose not to give the same gift to a very mature believer because it is not necessary in her area of influence. In this case, the gifts do not signify spiritual maturity, but peer-group necessity. People with certain gifts do not enter the special “God club” that some denominations seem to emphasize. Gifts, although they usually occur while the believer dedicates more and more time to God, do not happen on any humanly-discernable timeline.
Although the list of spiritual gifts listed in the Bible is quite long and some denominations believe that general human talants, such as being able to clean or vacuum really well, can be looked at as spiritual gifts, the main gifts are prophecy, teaching, miracles, healing, tongues and interpretation of tongues, word of wisdom or word of knowledge, and distinguishing between spirits and spiritual warfare. Some denominations believe that all gifts have ceased, some believe that any one person can receive all of the gifts. Being raised a Catholic, then attending and being involved in ministry at an Assemblies of God church, then finding a new home at a Calvary Chapel, attending Biola University, and now attending Liberty Theological Seminary, I tend to look at the debate over spiritual gifts like the Calvinist/Arminian debate. Both sides have some Biblical backing and both sides have some Biblical mountains to climb. The real answer is somewhere in the middle. We, as fallen, created, finite beings just can’t understand the issue as God has chosen to reveal it.