Share: Use your laptop or iPad to take an online Spiritual Gifts Test for youth. (See http://www.kodachrome.org/spiritgiftyouth/ ) There are several of these tests on the web. If you have been a Christian for a few years, you should use your personal experiences as the basis for your responses. If you consider yourself to be a new Christian, then your responses should be based on how well each statement describes the desire of your heart (even if you have not yet done what the statement talks about). The “test” should be used as a starting place to begin to discover your spiritual gifts, but not as an absolute indicator.
Our spiritual gifts are an expression of God’s love to the world, given to help you in your walk of faith and to bring others to Christ. Just as Jesus used His gifts, the good news is that we can do the same by obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit to go and be His witnesses, seek to bless people, love them, and lead them to faith in Christ.
What are the top three or four highest rated gifts identified through the gifts test?
If you were to ask others who know you, what one or two spiritual gifts would they say you had?
How does this line up with your view of yourself?
How does this line up with what you are currently involved in or want to be involved in?
How might you use these gifts identified to share the gospel with others and lead them to Christ?
There are opportunities all around you – every day.
There are opportunities that are given to us EVERY DAY that we can use to share Christ with others. As the list of spiritual gifts suggests, not everyone is called to be an evangelist—to go out preaching to the world. BUT, everyone is called to do evangelism—to share your faith with unbelievers and lead them to Christ whenever the opportunity presents itself. “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity” (Colossians 4:5, NIV).
God created you—your unique self—so that He can work through you to reach and bring others closer to Him. The Holy Spirit has already enabled you by giving you spiritual gifts. He has promised to speak through you, guide you, and assist you as opportunities to share the gospel present themselves to you.
Whenever you are with someone, consider it a “divine appointment” to share the good news of God’s love and forgiveness. Evangelism is only one responsibility Jesus wants all His children involved in. Because Jesus is Lord and we want to obey His leading in our lives in the use of our time, Jesus wants you to take advantage of whatever opportunity you have to share His love and forgiveness with others.
God wants you to have the joy of being actively involved in ministry and of seeing God’s work through you in the exercise of your spiritual gifts. And, as you pray and ask for His guidance, He will strengthen you in the gifts He has given to you and help you to function in ministries that correspond to your spiritual gifts.
The greatest gift you can give God and others is sharing the love of Jesus Christ with others. Jesus said “Give, and it will be given to you.”
DISCIPLE IN ACTION
Share with your accountability partner one or two of your top spiritual gifts. Talk about specific things you could do in the following areas to put your gifts to work. Come up with at least two ideas for each area:
Church (outside of youth group)
Other (your choice)
Form an “exploration group” of persons who share your top one or two spiritual gifts and share your ideas for where those gifts can be put to work. Look for how you can partner with others in the group to continue exploring the spiritual gift through implementing the ideas shared.
God Invites You to Join Him
“You must get involved to have an impact. No one is impressed with the won-lost record of the referee.” --Napoleon Hill
Remember that we are in a love relationship with God. In His time He will reveal to you where He is working so you can join Him. God always takes the initiative to involve His people in His activity.
Pay attention to these principles modeled by Jesus:
The Father has been working all along.
Now the Father has me working.
I do nothing on my own initiative.
I watch to see what my Father is doing.
I do what I see the Father is doing.
The Father loves me.
He shows me everything that He, Himself is doing.
You must be living in an intimate love relationship with God for Him to reveal your spiritual gifts and to show you where you should be at work.
ask God to open your spiritual eyes so you can see what He is doing.
that as you strengthen your relationship with Him, He shows you the spiritual gifts He has given you.
that He will mold you into the person He wants, and that you will obey His call and use your spiritual gifts to make the most of the opportunities to share the gospel in your daily life.
for His power to respond in obedience, so when God shows us what He is about to do, we can step out, assured that the Lord will accomplish His purposes.
Introducing Youth to Spiritual Gifts
Identify a Spiritual Gifts Inventory designed specifically for youth. You may want to divide the spiritual gifts activity into two sessions: Session 1 for taking the inventory; Session 2 to review and discuss the results. If the youth you are working with have been Christians for a few years, encourage them to use their personal experiences as the basis for their responses. If a youth considers himself/herself to be a new Christian, then advise them that their responses should be based on how well each statement describes the desire of their heart (even if they have not yet done what the statement talks about).
To introduce youth to their spiritual gifts, explain each gift and challenge them to begin thinking of a specific ministry or ministries where they can put their gifts to work. Each time you explain a specific spiritual gift, you might have everyone who has that gift to stand so that others can see who has what gift. This will also relate back to the earlier activities. Perhaps you could divide everyone up into groups according to their top spiritual gift and have someone else lead them in a short study of their particular gift.
General Information on Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual Gifts List with Definitions and Scriptural References:
Spiritual Gifts: How Do You Fit Into God’s Plans
Spiritual Gifts Inventory for Youth
SDA Youth Spiritual Gifts Test
Ministry Areas Using Your Spiritual Gifts
Fields, Doug and Erik Rees. Congratulations…You’re Gifted!:Discovering Your God-Given Shape to Make a Difference in the World. Grand Rapids, MI:Zondervan/Youth Specialities. 2008 Available through AdventSource: http://www.adventsource.org:80/as20/product.aspx?ID=35741
Smith, Wendell. From Zero to Eternity in 60 Seconds Flat – Influencing Others for Christ at a Moment’s Notice. Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House. 2004 Available through Christian Books: www.christianbooks.com
DEBRIEFING SESSIONS 21-25
Time: 90 minutes.Try to spend approximately 15-20 minutes discussing each section below, leaving time for small group prayer and commitment at the end.
Discipleship begins and ends with Jesus—the focal point! As we wrap up this series on Disciples in Action, we are looking outward more clearly than ever. Early sessions focused on internal things like our relationship with God, our prayer lives, and understanding salvation. From the first we have also explored what it means to be mission-minded, to share this great and awesome news about God and grace, but in this last series, we have gotten down to the practical basics of leading others.
First, we have noticed that loving God more deeply and loving other believers has also led us to love those we may have considered “outsiders.” They may be unbelievers, or they may be spiritual seekers but in ways we are not familiar with. We realize more clearly that God loves them, Jesus died for them, and the Holy Spirit is actively working for them, and we have joined in that love and work. This has made our lives richer and fuller, and we’ve learned that it’s really true that God has all we need for complete restoration to an abundant life, even here in this sorrowful and difficult world. So we wanted to get involved. We became evangelists in our own right, learning our spiritual gifts, using them together, and then reaching out to disciple others into this rich and abundant life. If there’s one thing we’re sure of by now, it’s that the story isn’t over yet. God has astonishing blessings in store for us, and we’re never going to get go of His hand!
Here is an overview of the Big Ideas we’ve explored in Series 5:
“As Christ’s disciple, I am called to minister God’s love to others outside the church as well as inside of the church. My life can be an example that will bring others to Christ, and then to the truth of God’s word.”
God is not satisfied with simply saving me from the consequences of my sin; He wants to restore me to the life of love for which I was created.
Ellen White says, “The work above all work, —the business above all others which should draw and engage the energies of the soul, —is the work of saving souls for whom Christ has died. Make this the main, the important work of your life” (Messages to Young People, page 227).
God is working in my life and the lives of others who I am helping to disciple. I am called by God to assist those I am discipling, to help them discern His will for their particular mission/service to others, and to help them develop an understanding of the needs and cultural context of the people they are called to serve.
You are a child of God—created by Him with your own unique heart, abilities, personality, and spiritual gifts. God brought all those elements together in you so you could serve Him and the world, sharing His love and helping people make personal commitments to Him in your own unique way as He has made you.
In session 21 we examined the importance of developing positive relationships with those outside the church; being ethical in all our relationships, both business and personal; and the importance of reflecting the character of Christ in all my interactions with others. Session 21: Loving "Outsiders" Too?
Did you do the shopping skit? What did you think of it? Did it give you any new ideas? Most importantly, has your life changed in the interim? Share some ways.
Share some times when you've tried to reflect Christ when it wasn't popular. Also share times you've seen someone else do that. What were your emotions, in either case?
Have you seen some of your wants, desires, and values change? What about your deeds?
As the author points out, we are not perfect. Sometimes our mistakes cause others to look poorly on the cause of Christ. On the other hand, one of the things the world wants most is authenticity. Have you ever seen a mistake, and the genuine repentance that followed it, cause someone to look more favorably on God? Share that story, if you are free to.
In session 22 we saw that God has already provided everything needed for our restoration—Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross. And because everyone is created in God’s image, my relationships will be based on love, forgiveness, and respect. The great controversy will end when God brings an end to sin and restores the earth to its original perfection. Session 22: Restoration
What do you think of the statement that blessing and glory often come through darkness. When have you seen that to be true for yourself?
Have you seen your life grow more abundant since studying these sessions? How? What are you still waiting and praying for?
Have you and your accountability partner prayed together for the Holy Spirit to live in both of you? What results do you see? How do you help each other "abide in the Spirit"?
In what ways have you seen the setting right of your inner life reflected in your outer life?
How have you "done justice" this week or month?
How have you shown this week or month that you "love mercy"?
In what ways are you learning daily to "walk humbly with God"?
Session 23 looked at embracing the evangelistic mission of the church. We also examined the importance of staying in tune with the Holy Spirit through constant prayer, in order to overcome the natural and persistent tendencies toward sin, and to witness effectively about Jesus. Session 23: Evangelistic Mission
Why do you think there was so much emphasis on prayer in this session? What happens when people attempt to evangelize without effective, fervent prayer? Have you personally experienced this? Have you also experienced what happens with prayer? Share the difference.
If you did not already know them, was your group able to help you discover what your spiritual gifts are? How have you used them lately for God, both individually and as a group?
How has God revealed Himself to you? Have you had a vision like Isaiah? If not, how can you know for sure that He is present in your life?
Session 24 reviewed ways to see how God is working in my life and the lives of others who I am helping to disciple. Session 24 : Helping Others See God Work
How are your disciples/mentees doing? Did this session's practical tips help you to help them? Discuss with the group other questions you may have and tips you have learned.
Have you learned more about your discipling "tool box"? Have you made any changes in your tools?
Discuss any mistakes you feel you have made, and encourage and pray for each other. You can also pray that these mistakes will not harm the people you are trying to help, but that instead, they will be drawn even closer to God as they see you modeling repentance and learning to do better next time.
Can you describe some different "cultures" that exist within the same ethnicity or even the same family? (Example: How about the difference between youth and elders?)
We are all children of God—created by Him with our own unique heart, abilities, personalities, and spiritual gifts. Session 25 explored how God brought all those elements together in us, to be used to bring others to the Kingdom. Session 25: Spiritual Gifts in Mission and Ministry
Do you now have a clear sense of not only your gifts, but some ways God wants you to use them? This will change and grow as you do, but you can know enough to begin.
Have you ever tried to work in some capacity that turned out to be clearly not your best gift? What happened? Have you ever tried to work in some capacity you thought was not your gift, but you were surprised? What happened?
Have you been successful in helping someone else determine his/her spiritual gifts and mission? What are the results so far? How did that feel?
Have you tried forming the suggested "exploration group" of people whose gifts are similar and discovering ways of using your gifts together? What are the results so far?
What would you think about forming small groups of new believers, each led by a team of two prayer partners who have similar or complementary gifts? You will want to work with your pastors and elders in setting up and evaluating these groups over time.
Scope and Sequence
SERIES 1 Session 1: To develop a dynamic, deepening, love relationship with God, I am:
communing with God regularly through His word, prayer, and other Christian disciplines.
participating with other believers in worshipping God on Sabbath and at other times.
worshipping God daily as a living sacrifice by choosing His will over my own will.
paying attention to what God is doing and praising Him for His love and faithfulness.
participating with God in His mission of reconciliation and restoration.
Session 2: To understand that Christ calls me to be His disciple, I am learning that:
by beholding Jesus and abiding in Him, I will continue to grow more Christ-like.
the love of Christ constrains me to a life of obedience and self-denial.
all biblical teachings illustrate the character and mission of Christ.
being a disciple involves all of my life – my worldview, my relationships, and my purpose and mission.
I will participate in the body of Christ and its work in the world.
I accept life – both now and eternally – as a gift from God to be shared with others.
Session 3: To seek opportunities in all daily activities to minister to others, I am:
inviting God to change me to bear the fruits of the Spirit.
choosing Jesus as a daily companion and sharing Him joyfully.
investing myself in service wherever the Holy Spirit leads.
carrying out my occupation as a calling to ministry.