The BIG IDEA:
God provides the ability to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks for his glory through spiritual gifts given to his people by the Holy Spirit working within us.
Often we don’t realize the gifts we have or that God has a unique and valuable role for us in his kingdom work.
By faith learn to exercise the spiritual gifts he has given us.
The hammer and nail represent the skills and talents of the carpenter. While we may not all be master hammerers, God has created us each uniquely with our own special gives, skills, and interests. The question isn’t, “Is my ability as great as his ability?” but rather, “How can I serve God with the abilities that he has given me?”
What I want the group to know and understand: The purpose of spiritual gifts is to further God’s kingdom work. All gifts are valuable and necessary for God’s work. A beginning understanding of what our personal gifts might be.
What I want the group to experience: A desire to use our gifts for the good of the body of Christ.
How I want the group to respond: To begin putting our gifts into practice without comparing ourselves to others.
The SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
Scripture tells us that “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1) Jesus tells us in John 15 that whoever abides in him will bear much fruit, but apart from him we can do nothing. God’s work requires God’s strength and ability, and he provides it through giving different gifts to the members of his body, the church, to accomplish it. There are several passages in the Bible on spiritual gifts. The key themes are: ultimately spiritual gifts are provided to equip us to glorify God, every believer has at least one gift, all spiritual gifts are important, and they are meant to work together in the body of Christ.
You’re sitting at home and you are hungry and you want to eat some pizza — What parts of your body do you need to make that happen?
Have them walk through from thinking about it (mind) to picking up their phone (hand, voice, etc.) to walking to get the pizza (legs) to eating (eyes, nose, mouth, teeth) to digesting (stomach), and maybe you should stop there.
What part of the body is most important in the pizza job? What if the hand or another part decided not to do its job?
1. Imagine a task that is huge, never been done before, and needs to be done perfectly. God gives such a task to the people of Israel when he gives them instructions to build a place for worship him called the tabernacle. How detailed and complex were his instructions? Have someone read Exodus 25:8-9 and 26:1-8.
They can read it rather quickly, but have the group imagine that they are in a desert, and explain this is just part of the instruction they are getting from the Lord — he goes on to give five more chapters of instructions. The purpose is to give them a feel for the task.
2. If you were receiving these instructions and knew they had to be accomplished perfectly down to the tiniest detail, how would you feel?
Discuss as a group.
3. Read Exodus 31:1-11. How does God ensure that the work can be accomplished?
He specifically chooses one person to lead the effort and equips him with wisdom, knowledge, and artistic ability and skill to do all the different kind of crafting required. He provides an assistant for him, and he equips everyone working on the tabernacle with the ability they need to accomplish the work. He provides all the ability that is needed!
4. God has given us as followers of Jesus a seemingly impossible task as well. What is the work he is calling us as believers to do and how does he provide the means to accomplish the task?
Make disciples of all nations and take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. (See Matthew 28:18-20. Acts 1:18). Just like God gave gifts to the people of Israel through the Holy Spirit to accomplish his work in the building of the place to worship him, he gives his followers spiritual gifts to accomplish his work today.
5. Some of the key passages in the New Testament on spiritual gifts include Romans 12:3-8, 1 Peter 4:10-11, 1 Corinthians 12:1-31, Ephesians 4:4-8, 11-16. Break the group up into smaller groups to explore different passages and have them each share with the group what they find. Have someone write down each group’s answers and summarize, answering these 2 questions:
a.) What do you learn about spiritual gifts?
b.) What are some of the spiritual gifts God gives?
Some answers for what you learn might include:
- There are different kinds of gifts
- Not every person has the same gift
- Every follower of Jesus has at least one spiritual gift
- We should use the gifts we have been given
- Our gifts are to be used to serve others
- Gifts are for the common good
- The purpose is for God to be praised
- Spiritual gifts equip his people for works of service
- The body of Christ (the church) will be built up as people use their gifts
- God provides the strength
- All gifts are important
Some of the spiritual gifts include:
- Prophecy (the ability to declare God’s truth boldly no matter the consequences and call people to get right with God)
- Service (ability to identify and meet the practical needs of others)
- Teaching (the ability to study and explain God’s word to others)
- Exhortation (encouraging and challenging with words)
- Contribution (giving)
- Mercy (ability to comfort those in distress, and provide practical relief for people’s hurts and suffering)
- Wisdom (ability to apply Scripture to specific situations in order to make right choices and help others move in the right direction)
- Knowledge (ability to seek out and gather facts)
- Healing (ability to be used by God for a person’s physical or emotional need)
- Speaking other languages, interpreting other languages.
6. Do you know what your spiritual gifts might be? Are there any in the above passages that seem to describe you? (It’s okay if you don’t know. People discern their spiritual gifts through service over time, but share if there are any areas that you feel passionate about or think you might enjoy.)
Allow the group to discuss. Affirm that if they don’t know yet, that’s okay. The following questions might help them discover their gifts.
7. These questions might help you discover more about your gifts: “When you are involved with activities at your church or with Cru, what needs do you notice first?” “Which activities am I involved in that the Lord seem to bless?” “What have other mature Christians who know me well (like parents, disciplers, youth leaders) noticed about me?” Share your answers with the group.
8. What are some things you are going to do in the next week to seek to discover or use your spiritual gifts?
Some possible answers might be: Pray for God to show me how he’s gifted me. Ask one of my Cru or youth group leaders what gifts they might have observed in me. Talk to my Cru leader about starting to lead a Thrive Study (the gift of teaching). Organize an outreach at my school (leadership, evangelism). Help with set up and cleanup at an event or weekly meeting (service).
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
If you would like to take an online spiritual gifts test, here is one designed for youth. http://www.spiritualgiftstest.com/test/youth