March 16 - 

March 22

SDA Sabbath School Lessons

#12 Converting Spiritual Gifts Into Ministries

Read for this week's study:          Rom. 12:1-3; 2 Tim. 2:15; Heb. 6:12.
Memory Text: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1, NKJV).

Key Thought:

The Lord assigns spiritual gifts to every newborn Christian. One or more of these gifts will be permanent, lifelong ministries that will be the primary focus of a person's discipleship.
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 (usually 9:30 AM) with your SSNETlocal Seventh-Day Adventist congregation.

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Sabbath -
 March 15


THE NEXT STEP IS TO DEVELOP THEM INTO MINISTRIES. This is done through study, attendance at training sessions and seminars, and through use and practice. The Lord expects Christians to "professionalize" their ministries and develop them to the best of their ability.

Because you have received a personal calling from the Lord, it is up to you to put your ministry into practice on a regular basis. Throughout your lifetime, your principal roles in the church should be compatible with your spiritual gifts. There may be times when the needs of the kingdom require you to perform a role or function that is outside your regular ministry or not directly related to your particular gifts, but this will be a temporary situation. Most of the time, you will function within the context of your primary spiritual gifts.

One caution! The Lord calls you to a ministry for His glory - not your own! Spiritual gifts are given for the advancement of the kingdom. (See Gal. 5:22, 23.)

Sunday -
 March 16


God's purpose in assigning spiritual gifts to church members is to enable them to minister to others. (See 1 Tim. 4:14-16; 2 Tim. 2:15; Eph. 4:15, 16.) Unselfish use of our gifts brings blessing and salvation to others. Study the following chart. It will give you an idea of the kinds of ministry that might develop out of each gift.


Possible Activity

Teaching Teacher in Sabbath School, small groups, Bible studies, seminars.
Service Deacon, deaconess, visitation, etc.
Knowledge and wisdom Resource person for ministry groups, teaching activities, seminars, etc.
Exhortation Peer counseling, retreats, youth ministry, support groups.
Discernment Bible-study groups, Sabbath School class leader, counseling.
Faith Ministry groups that need encouragement and long-range planning
Giving Regular and special-needs giving.
Apostleship Church planting, planning new ministries, serving in previously unentered areas, fulfilling a divinely given leadership role.
Pastoring Visitation, area spiritual coordinator, small group chaplain, etc.
Evangelism Door-to-door ministries, apprenticeship programs, public meetings, seminars.
Mercy Hospital visitation, community service, prison ministries.
Hospitality Receptionist/greeter ministry, small-group activities, community service.
Administration Organizing activities, chairing and managing groups.
Missionary Any activity across ethnic or cultural boundaries.
Intercessory Prayer Intercessory-prayer ministries, small-group prayer leader.
Helps Church maintenance, deacons, church-office personnel, ministry in groups.
Leadership Elder, deacon, committee chairperson.

Monday -
 March 17


The first step in designing a ministry is to decide what roles or ministries in the already existing church structure fit your gifts. The second step is to determine what ministries need to be added to the existing ones so that your gifts can be used adequately.

List your three primary spiritual gifts: (If you haven't taken a spiritual-gifts inventory, do the best you can.)


Fit your gifts into one or more of the following three categories:

1. Gifts dealing with outreach and evangelism, resulting in the numerical growth of the church.

   Evangelism Tongues
   Miracles Interpretation of tongues
   Healing Voluntary poverty
    Mercy Deliverance (exorcism)

2. Gifts dealing with the spiritual maturity of the church. These are gifts fostering spiritual growth, providing discipleship training, and membership support.    

  Prophecy Exhortation or encouragement
  Teaching Discernment of spirits
  Pastor Faith
  Knowledge Intercessory prayer
  Wisdom Hospitality

3. Gifts dealing with the administrative functions of the church, such as financial management, maintenance of physical facilities, and membership support.

  Leadership Administration
  Helps Service
What roles, offices, or positions in the regular church structure fit your gifts? So that your gifts are used adequately, what ministries could be started in your church?.

Tuesday -
 March 18


Spiritual gifts, as we have seen, do not develop themselves. As you convert your gifts into ministries, you may have to do considerable study to gain the knowledge necessary to carry out effectively your ministry or ministries.

What does the Bible say about well-thought-out, well-organized ministries?

2 Tim. 2:15
Eccl. 9:10
Rom. 12:11
Heb. 6:12

"It is not a virtue for men or women to excuse slow bungling at work of any character, The slow habits must be overcome. The man who is slow, and does his work at a disadvantage, is an unprofitable workman.... Dullness and ignorance are no virtue. . . . 'Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.' 'Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.' " - Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 316.

How did Paul prepare himself for his new ministry when the Lord called him as a missionary to the Gentiles? Gal. 1:11-18. What did Paul especially want when in prison in Rome? 2 Tim. 4:13. How did Luke prepare himself to write the books of Luke and Acts? Luke 1:1-4.

All ministries take study, planning, and organization. In the space below, write down some resources you know you will need for your chosen ministry. Which resources are already available? Which do you need to find and obtain?

Make a list of books you should read that discuss your ministry and a list of seminars or training sessions you should attend. Where can you find these resources?

Wednesday -
  March 19


Individual spiritual gifts rarely function as isolated entities. They are designed to function in conjunction with other gifts. That is why the Holy Spirit assigns various gifts to people and to church congregations. As you develop your gift-based ministry, you will need to develop cooperative ventures with other people.

What did Paul say about the unifying purpose of spiritual gifts? 1 Cor. 12:12-27.

We have read this text many times during the quarter. It is so important because it is the key to the effectiveness of church organization based on spiritual gifts. These verses, along with Romans 12:1-5, outline what church unity means. It does not mean uniformity. It means that each person does his or her task or ministry in the right spirit and for the right reasons. When planning is done, it is done with an eye to God's glory. This spirit avoids all kinds of personality conflicts and discussion of peripheral issues that have little or nothing to do with the advancement of the kingdom.

Use the following chart for finding and enlisting the cooperative ventures you need for your ministry.

Skills Needed

Gifts or Help Needed

People skills What people skills will you need to carry out this ministry?
Training What kind of training will the people who work with you need, and where can they receive it?
Support groups What kinds of support groups do you need to help make your ministry a success? Find some people who will counterbalance your temperament.
Resource support What kind of resource support do you need? For instance, if you don't like to study and do research, find someone else to do this part of the ministry. You may also need to find someone who can give financial support to your ministry.

Thursday -
 March 20


This is your operational plan. You need to meet somewhere, have a schedule, and get your ministry started. You also need to learn how to recruit and use volunteers to help you in your ministry, if it is a cooperative venture.

Base of operations: Where will your base of operations be? Your home, the church, etc? Will you need to rent a building or office. Where will you meet?

Building a schedule: How often will you meet? Does everyone helping you have to be there all the time? Who will help you organize this schedule?

How will you go about starting your ministry? With whom do you need to talk? What authorizations will you need?

Developing a time line for your ministry. It usually takes about three months to plan and organize a new ministry. If you try to do it faster, something will be left out, and the project will probably fail. Don't be impatient. Do it once, and do it right.

On the following chart, write down what you expect to accomplish during each of the time periods:

Three months
One year
Long range
Using volunteers
Volunteers in today's societies require five things:
  1. Clearly defined tasks with definite limits.
  2. Short terms in office.
  3. Plenty of human resources to employ in attaining the goal.
  4. Simple, direct feedback about how the volunteers are doing.
  5. Lots of affirmation.

Friday -
  March 21

Seminars and training sessions on spiritual gifts are often given by your mission or conference departments. Attend as many of these as you can. They will be helpful. Check with your local Adventist Book Center to see what materials they carry. Read the book of Acts in the Bible and The Acts of the Apostles by Ellen White. Do a study on the spiritual gifts of the people mentioned and how they used these gifts in ministry. Notice how it is possible to identify with some accuracy the gifts of some of the people mentioned less often. Ascertain how these people used these gifts.

  1. Discuss the five elements that today's volunteers look for. Is that true in your church? How can you organize ways of getting more people to participate?
  2. Is the following statement true or false? "If people were really dedicated to the Lord, we wouldn't have any problem getting people to volunteer." Explain your answer.
  3. Someone said, "I shouldn't have to do any, of this. That's why we have a pastor. That's his job. He should get all the volunteers and get the church working." True or false?

Discuss your answer.

SUMMARY:  The Holy Spirit's purpose in assigning spiritual gifts is that a person's primary gifts become the framework for lifelong ministry. There are many types of activities that fit gifts, but planning and organization are essential for the success of a ministry. It is each person's responsibility to learn how to carry out his or her ministry effectively and proficiently. Part of that training includes learning how to motivate people and use resources. Cooperative ventures with other people are important.

Inside Story Light in the Darkness

Edwin Eisele

Satan may be the defeated foe, but he does not give up easily, especially in countries where he has held sway for centuries.

The country of Togo, in West Africa, is known as the center of voodoo worship in the world. People who discard their fetishes and voodoo charms in order to worship Jesus Christ often do so at great personal expense.

When Yaovi (Yah-00-vee), a former voodoo priest, accepted Jesus Christ last year, he and his family asked Pastor David to help him destroy his voodoo charms and fetishes that had been the center of his life. He and his wife and a handful of Adventists gathered in a field where Yaovi placed his idols and fetishes. The Pastor prayed, then they lit the pile.

The fire drew a crowd of more than 50 curious villagers who stopped to investigate the fire. Some older folks became angry when they learned that Yaovi was destroying his fetishes. They threatened to harm him if he continued.

Yaovi tried to reason with the people. He explained that these were just pieces of wood and stone, and he was destroying them because he had accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord of his life. But his word only made the crowd angrier.

Someone threw a stone at Yaovi. Another cried out, "Let's burn the pastor's motorcycle! He's the one responsible for this!" The crows surged forward and began throwing stones and beating on Pastor David and Yaovi. But Yaovi's wife defended him, the crowd backed away, allowing the pastor and former voodoo priest to escape. Yaovi and his wife fled to the home of another Christian who notified the police. The police arrived at Yaovi's home and found the mob had tied up his entire family and were beating them. Had the police not come, the family would have been killed.

Yaovi was not discouraged. He thanked God that he had been called upon to suffer for Jesus. And Pastor David reaffirmed his intention to return to minister in the village. "I have dedicated my life to bring the light of the gospel to those in darkness. We must build a church in this stronghold of Satan and voodoo worship."

Edwin Eisele is Sabbath School director of the Sahel Union in West Africa.

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