Developing Leaders: Discovering your Spiritual Gifts and Abilities

This third part of the ‘Discovering Your SHAPE’ series focuses on identifying what their natural abilities and skills are, as well as discovering what the Bible says about spiritual gifts and figuring out what theirs could be.

About the ‘Discovering Your SHAPE’ series

‘Discovering Your SHAPE’ is a teaching series all about helping teenagers learn about their identity, with a special focus on how they can uniquely help others and impact their church and community using the gifts and skills God has given them. See Discovering your unique ‘SHAPE’ for more information about this series.

Session 3: Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts & Abilities

You will need: Bibles, pens, printed copies of the SHAPE booklets – enough for one per person.

Introduction

Recap the SHAPE theme if necessary. In this session we are focusing on our Abilities and Spiritual Gifts.

A: Abilities

Talk to the person next to you: What are you good at? What skills, abilities or talents do you have? (e.g. drama, art, photography, fixing, computers, maths, music, athletics)

Fill in their Abilities on page 7 of their SHAPE booklets.

S: Spiritual Gifts

What are Spiritual Gifts?

Spiritual gifts are different from

  • Our natural abilities
  • Our personality traits
  • The Fruit of the Spirit

They are special abilities that God gives individuals to serve others (particularly his church).

Ask someone to read 1 Peter 4:10-11: “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.”

God’s Spiritual Gifts are given to his people to help the church be all that it is meant to be. They’re not given so us awards or trophies for being awesome Christians. Rather they are given as tools for the job of building the body of Christ.

Ask someone to read 1 Corinthians 12:11: “It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.”

Paul tells us that it is the Holy Spirit who decides which gifts to give to each person

What gifts are there?

There is no one definitive list of gifts in the Bible. Instead, when Paul writes about the gifts in scripture, he is most interested in highlighting their purpose (which is to enable God’s people to carry out his work and build up the body of Christ) rather than to write a definitive list. Different gifts are mentioned in different places.

We’re going to look at some of the main passages that mention the gifts – just to give you idea of the range of gifts that are given.

In pairs, look up ONE of the Bible passages on page 4 of their SHAPE booklet (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28; Ephesians 4:11) and note down the gifts mentioned in those verses.

What gifts do you have?

You might be able to think about a time when it felt like God used you to help someone or to do something that felt hard. Share a personal example here to illustrate this.
Those kinds of experiences can help us see what spiritual gifts God has given us.
These questions might also help you identify your spiritual gifts:

  • Are people helped when I do this?
  • Is God honoured?
  • Do I feel used by God?

Get them to read through each of the definitions of gifts on page 5 of their SHAPE booklet. In the ‘Me?’ column:

  1. Draw a star if you think this sounds like a spiritual gift you might have.
  2. Draw a smiley face next to some if it sounds like something you would like to be able to do.
  3. Draw a question mark next to any that you would like to find out more about.

While they are doing this, chat with them about any questions they have about spiritual gifts as they work through the list. You may like to bring the following points into your discussions with them as they work:

  • This is not to box you in, but rather for you to start thinking about the gifts that God has given you… at any time God might give you other gifts for particular occasions, or just for the future.
  • Similar to our natural abilities, we have to use them for them to grow.
  • We can ask God for other gifts.
  • Just because we don’t have the gift of service doesn’t mean we don’t have to serve, or that we don’t have the gift of evangelism, we don’t have to tell other people about Jesus, or if we don’t have the gift of giving, we don’t have to give. As followers of Jesus, we all have a general call to serve, give, evangelise etc. However God does gives some people particular gifts in those areas.

Prayer

In small groups, close with prayer thanking God for the abilities and gifts he has given them, and asking him to help them use them to help others and to give him glory.