February 2 -
 February 8

SDA Sabbath School Lessons

#6 Support Gifts

Read for this  
week's study:
Gen. 18:1-15; Judges 19:16-21; Matt. 25:34-40; 2 Corinthians 9
Memory Text: "When he came to Jerusaleam, he tried to join the desciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles" (Acts 9:26, 27, NIV)
Key Thought: The support gifts are the most numerous in the church and essential for the continual growth of the body of Christ.
Special Note: Lessons 6-10 outline specific spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are dynamic, designed to be used. The Bible doesn't give precise definitions. The definitions are simply guidelines to help you understand, how specific gifts function.
The Lessons:
The Discussion: We invite youi to join the  SSNET moderated email discussion group. You are also warmly invited to join a group discussion of this lesson Sabbath morning, January 18, (usually 9:30 AM) with your SSNETlocal Seventh-Day Adventist congregation.

Last Week Next Week First Quarter

Prepared for the Internet by the SSNET Webpage Group.

Sabbath -
 February 1


Mountaineers tied to one another with ropes, depend on teamwork and on equipment. Without their equipment, mountaineers will never make any progress or conquer any icy cliffs.

The Holy Spirit has placed spiritual gifts in the church that are unspectacular and "quiet."' These gifts, the ropes and ties of the church, are needed to accomplish long-term effective ministry. In most churches, up to 90 percent of the members have gifts that fall into this category.

Unfortunately these gifts are underutilized most of the time. How can your church better utilize the gifts of its "silent majority."

Sunday -
 February 2


Support gifts are mostly relational. They help build relationships that cement the church body together as brothers and sisters in the Lord. Church members, whether new or old, need to be nurtured. For a church's ministry to be well-rounded, it must include both evangelism and nurture as integral parts of the entire program.

How does the apostle Paul envision the exercise of spiritual gifts by church members? Eph. 4:11-13.

The support gifts are the underpinnings of what is called the iceberg principle of church growth. The outstanding characteristic of an iceberg is that most of it is under the surface and not visible. The same goes for the church. The relationships under the surface make visible programs either successful or unsuccessful. The key words in Ephesians 4:11-13 are "to prepare God's people for works of service" (NIV). The Greek word translated "preparing" actually means "equipping." So the ministry of the church must be designed in such a way that it allows for the equipping and mobilization of the membership in ministry.

It is suggested that churches with an adequate relationship system will have the following ratios in place:
Ratio Explanation

ratio = 1/7

Each new member should have a minimum of seven new friends in the church within the first six months.

ratio = 7/10

Seven of every ten members should be intentionally expressing love for those around them.

ratio = 1/30

Each church member not involved in a group or task should be contacted at least once a month by another member, intentionally showing Christian love and concern.

ratio = 1/30

Each member should have the assurance that someone in the church is praying specifically for his or her special needs at least once a month.

How would you classify the relationship system in your church? What can you do to improve it?

Monday -
 January 13


The gifts of helps and mercy are among the most commonly identified. These are foundational gifts that support the relationship system of the church congregation.

Definition: The gift of helps is the special ability that God gives to some members of the body of Christ to a greater degree than to others to invest the talents they have in the life and ministry of other members of the body. The person helped is enabled to increase the effectiveness of his or her spiritual gifts.

People with this gift usually have unselfish natures and like to do things, even menial tasks, that help others. They have a willingness to do little jobs without seeking any credit, just for the joy of doing the job and knowing they are helping someone. They often take on tasks that ultimately allow the leadership gifts in the church to be enhanced.

In the New Testament, Barnabas is a primary example of someone with this gift. Fill in the chart below that outlines Barnabas' gift in action.
The gift in action
Acts 9:25-27
Acts 11:24-26
Acts 15:37-39

Definition: The gift of mercy is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ, more than to others, to feel genuine empathy and compassion for individuals, both Christian and non-Christian, who suffer distressing physical, mental, or emotional problems. Those with this gift translate their compassion into deeds cheerfully done that reflect Christ's love and alleviate the suffering.

Jesus outlined the characteristics of those with this gift (Matt. 25:34-40) Notice that the people addressed in this text didn't even realize that they had helped so many or that the Lord had taken note of their actions.

If no one in your congregation is exercising this gift, does it mean there is no need for this ministry? Or is it more likely that members have not identified their giftedness and/or the need? How could such a situation be remedied?

Tuesday -
 February 4


This is a person-centered gift, one of the few directly commanded in the Bible for use by Christians (Heb. 3:13). The KJV reads "Exhort one another daily", the NIV uses "Encourage one another daily."

Definition:The gift of exhortation is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to a greater degree than to others to minister words of comfort, consolation, encouragement, and counsel.
Outline how Barnabas, besides having the gift of helps, also exercised the gift of exhortation or encouragement. Acts 4:36; 9:27; 14:13; 15:37-39

Barnabas' name means "Son of Encouragement"' (Acts 4:36). If it were not for Barnabas' encouragement, we might be missing almost half of the New Testament, 13 letters by Paul, and the Gospel of Mark. People who have this gift exhibit the following characteristics:

  • They frequently advise others about various things.
  • People take their counsel seriously because they feel helped.
  • People like to be around them because their uncomplicated attitude, demeanor, and down-to-earth counsel cheer them up.
  • People learn from them how to apply Christian principles to real-life situations
  • They enjoy sharing their personal testimony with people because God uses it to encourage and help others.

Do you have the gift of exhortation or encouragements?
Yes No Do people often tell you that what you said to them was a real help and comfort?
Yes No Do you desire to counsel effectively the perplexed, the guilty, or the addicted?
Yes No Do you find that you seem to be easy to talk to and people engage you in heart-to-heart talks?
Yes No Do you find yourself speaking words of encouragement to those who are troubled, discouraged, and not sure of themselves?
Yes No Do you often correct someone's views with solid scriptural counsel and find that people take your counsel?

Can you relate an experience where exercise of this gift brought you personal blessing?

Wednesday -
  February 5


All Christians are expected to be faithful to the Lord with tithes and offerings, and to do so cheerfully (2 Cor. 9:7). Some Christians, however, receive a special gift from the Lord enabling them to give extraordinary amounts of financial help to the Lord's work.

Definition:The gift of giving is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to a greater degree than to others to contribute their material resources to the work of Lord with liberality and cheerfulness.

Read Luke 6:38. How did Jesus describe God's promise regarding giving?

This a promise from the Lord, but it is also a description of the attitude a person with the gift of giving. Ellen White remarks: "Give what you can now, and as you co-operate with Christ, your hand will open to impart still more. And God will refill your hand, that the treasures of truth may be taken to many souls. He will give to you that you may give to others."-Review and Herald, Dec. 10, 1901. This happens to people with this gift.

List some examples in the early church of people with this gift.
Acts 4:34-37
2 Cor. 8:1-5
Phil. 4:15-18

How the gift of giving benefits the Lord's work. According toThe New Testament, the financial means returned to the Lord's work by those who have this gift are used (1) to meet the needs of believers within the local church itself (Gal  6:10; 1 John 3:17; 1 Tim. 5:3-5); (2) to meet, the needs of believers in other local churches (2 Cor. 8:1-6; Rom. 15:25, 26); (3) to meet the needs of those using their gifts of leadership in full-time ministry for the Lord (Phil. 4:10-19; 1 Cor. 9:1-14; 1 Tim 5:17, 18) - and (4) to meet the needs of nonbelievers (Gal. 6:10)

Is the gift of giving necessary only because some people aren't faithful with tithes and offerings? Explain your answer.

Thursday -
 February 6


Of all the support gifts, these two may be the most pivotal. People with these gifts know how to make other people feel comfortable, accepted, and wanted. They are the ones willing to take people home for a meal and find ways to make them feel part of the family. People with the gift of hospitality ought to make up the core of greeters or receptionists you have at the door of your church on Sabbath morning.

Definition:The gift of hospitality is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to a greater degree than to others of providing open arms, open homes, and a warm welcome for those in need of friendship, acceptance, food, and lodging.

What does the Bible say about hospitality? Fill in the chart.
What the Bible says
1 Peter 4:9
Matt. 25:35
Heb. 13:2
3 John 5-8

The Greek word for hospitality, philoxenia, means "expressing love to a visitor or stranger."

Definition:The gift of service is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to a greater degree than to others of identifying unmet needs. The person who has this gift, makes use of available resources to meet those needs and to help accomplish the desired goals.
The gift of service, or "ministering," is expressed in the KJV by the word diakonia, a Greek word from which is derived the English word deacon. This Greek word is used in the New Testament to refer to the ministration of those who show Christian affection through help and caring.
What tasks could be assigned to someone in your congregation with the gift of service to facilitate nurture and/or support?

Friday -
  February 7

FURTHER STUDY: Study James 2:1-7.

Who walks in Your Church Door? There are four general categories of guests who walk in your church door. Each of these groups has its own set of expectations, fears, hang-ups, and preconceived ideas.

  1. Unchurched people who for one reason or another visit your church.
  2. Adventists who attend occasionally.
  3. People brought to church by friends, relatives, and acquaintances.
  4. Adventist from out of town or from other Adventist churches.

If you were organizing a greeter or receptionist committee for your church, how, would you use the gifts we have studied in this week's lesson?

Additional information on the gift of giving. People with this gift imitatively recognize the material needs of others. They don't have a "me first" attitude, but rather a God-given ability to obtain significant financial resources, a large portion of which is then passed on to the Lord's work. They also have a conviction that whatever they have belongs to the Lord. They consider themselves stewards of His goods and channel for using them for the benefit of others.

Additional information on the gift of service. The Seventh-day, Adventist Church Manual outlines the office of deacon and deaconess as being compatible with the gift of service. In practice, unfortunately, this office is often synonymous with taking care of the church building and taking up offerings on Sabbath morning.
  1. Analyze the programs in your church see whether they are actually supported by a relationship system. How can you improve the situation?
  2. Stand at the church entrance some Sabbath and watch the greeter/receptionist system in action. What improvements would vou make? Why?

SUMMARY:   The effective functioning of support gifts is all important to the life and ministry of the church. As the most common gifts, they are the underpinning of the relationship program of the church congregation. When these gifts are not functioning, the church becomes deficient in its very lifeblood, and the apostasy rate increases dramatically.



Although her parents were not religious, they decided to allow Margarita to attend the neighborhood vacation Bible School at the Adventist church. She loved the stories and songs about Jesus, and the memory verses. At the closing program she gave her heart to Jesus, and promised to come to Sabbath School on Sabbath. But she did not come.

The following Monday the minister received a request to visit a family whose name he did not recognize. He went to the address he was given and knocked at the door. He introduced himself to the man who answered the door, and was invited in.The man explained, "You do not know us, but our daughter Margarita attended your Vacaion bible School. Perhaps you met her."

Immediately the pastor remembered the little girl who had shown such a deep interest in sprititual things during the VBS programs. "She is a lovely girl," the pastor said. But he noticed that the parents remained solemn. "Is something wrong with Margareta?" the pastor asked.

Margarita's father took a deep breath, then told the pastor, "Our daughter was so excited when she told us she had given her heart to Jesus. She told us, 'Do you know that I will be a different girl from now on?'

And she was different. Somtimes Margarita was lazy, as all children are, but this past week she was so helpful and happy, we couldn't believe the change in her. We decided to celebrate with an outing at the beach.

"We had a good time swimming and playing on the beach. But when it was time to go home, Margarita was nowhere around. A man said he saw her going toward the water several minutes earlier. We ran to the water's edge to look fo rher, but could not find her. The tide was going out. People began seaching for her, calling for her, but she did not answer. When we found her, it was too late. Margarita had drowned."

The girl's father paused, then he said, "Margarita was so happy since she gave her heart to Jesus. Now we want to know her Jesus as she knew Him."

Margarita's parents and older brother begain attending Sabbath School and church and studied the Bible. In time the entire family was baptized, all because a little girl put her heart into the heart of Jesus.

Eric Monnier is president of the Bolivian Union in South America.

For Current Newsbreak.  Call 1-800-648-5824