LIVING ON PURPOSE Week 4: Discovering Your Gifts 1. LEADER PREPARATION

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1 LIVING ON PURPOSE Week 4: Discovering Your Gifts This includes: 1. Leader Preparation 2. Lesson Guide 1. LEADER PREPARATION LESSON OVERVIEW The lesson focuses on being a servant. Two disciples with their mother! approach Jesus and ask for seats of honor in his kingdom. Jesus responds by reminding the disciples that it is better to serve than to be served. He was the ultimate example of service, and he wants his disciples to follow this example. In this lesson, your students will see how Jesus is our model for serving others through our spiritual gifts and God-given talents. LESSON OBJECTIVES 1. WHAT: Jesus set the standard for serving others; he had every right to demand that people serve him, but he chose to be a servant. 2. WHY: Serving others through your spiritual gifts and God-given talents is ultimately better and more rewarding than having others serve you. 3. HOW: Each student will be encouraged to identify a specific person to serve this next week, as a way to develop the habit of service. PRIMARY SCRIPTURE Matthew 20:20-28 SECONDARY SCRIPTURE 1 Peter 5:5 TEACHING PREP The short overview below is designed to help you prepare for your lesson. While you may not want to convey this information word-for-word with your teenagers, you ll definitely want to refer to it as you lead your small group lesson. Read Matthew 20: James and John were looking for greatness and asked Jesus if they could be the greatest in his kingdom. Jesus responds by going straight to the heart of the question. The brothers, and the other disciples, needed a reminder that humility and service are more important than being honored. This is a lesson that we all need to remember as much as the disciples needed to hear it especially as we serve others through our spiritual gifts and God-given talents. This request from James and John was not entirely without cause. They were part of the inner circle, so it might have been logical for them to think they deserved those seats. The cup that Jesus referred to is a metaphor for the suffering that he would experience. This connection between suffering and glory becomes increasingly clear throughout the New Testament.

2 THE BEFORE & AFTER [optional] Text Message Questions We ve provided a couple of different text message questions to send out to your students prior to your meeting. Feel free to use one or both of the questions below. As with the rest of the curriculum, edit these questions to fit the needs of your ministry. Do you want to be great? Come to small group tonight and find out Jesus advice on getting there. How do you define greatness? See you at small group tonight! Parent We ve provided you with an below that you can send to your parents following the lesson. Our hope is to encourage parents to continue the conversation at home. Feel free to edit and customize the to fit your ministry needs. Dear parents, This week, our small groups continued to look at the five biblical purposes for our lives. The topic of discussion was on service. In Matthew 20:20-28, James and John s mother asks Jesus to place her sons in the seats of honor in heaven. Jesus responds by telling his disciples that to be great, you must be a servant, and to be first, you must be a slave. Jesus came to serve, not to be served. And he desires the same attitude from us. Our students looked at what it means to be a servant and a slave. And we looked at how this is different from the world s expectations. There are times in our lives where we want to be honored and recognized, but God wants us to focus more energy on thinking about others as we serve through our spiritual gifts and God-given talents. This week, when you get a chance, talk with your teenager about serving. Talk about how your family serves or how your family could start serving. You might ask what specific changes your student wants to make in order to be a better servant. Then find out what you can do to help your teenager make this transition. Or open up the discussion to determining how your family, as a whole, can be better servants. Each week I like to offer some questions that can help generate conversation with your teenager. Here are some to consider based on this lesson: Is it possible to desire recognition or appreciation without it becoming a pride issue? Why or why not? Jesus says that if we want to be leaders, we must be servants. How does this line up with the way our culture talks about leadership? Do you find it easy or tough to serve other people? Why do you think that s the case? Have an awesome week!

3 LIVING ON PURPOSE Week 4: Discovering Your Gifts 2. LESSON GUIDE GETTING THINGS STARTED [optional] As you begin your small group, welcome your students and invite them into your meeting area. Open in prayer, and then SAY SOMETHING LIKE: There is a scene replayed every year in malls across the United States. In a corner of the mall, people set up Santa s Workshop for children to get their picture taken with the jolly giver of gifts. One by one, little kids wait in line with their parents until they get to walk up to Santa and sit on his lap. He asks every kid the same questions: Have you been a good little boy/girl this year? What would you like for Christmas? The kids then recite a long list of items they want under the tree on December 25th. Most children don t receive every item on their Christmas lists. Why? When have you asked for something at Christmas but didn t receive it? How did it make you feel? Why did you have such a deep desire for that gift? What are some of the differences between asking Santa for a gift and bringing a request to God? SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Let s be honest: Most of the requests that make our Christmas lists each year are a bit on the selfish side. We don t usually think of others when we write down our lists for our parents or for Santa. But God calls us as Christians to live lives of service to other people. God gives us incredible spiritual gifts and talents that we can use to make a difference in our world. So let s take some time to see what it really means to be a servant and what it means to look out for other people s best interests. If you came up with an opening activity, movie clip, or game that worked well with your group, and you d like to share it with other youth workers, please us at TEACHING POINTS The goal of the Teaching Points is to help students capture the essence of each lesson with more discussion and less lecture-style teaching. The main points we have chosen here are (1) Start with the heart (2) Become a servant, (3) Become a slave, and (4) Follow Jesus example. Remember: All throughout these lessons, it s up to you to choose (1) how many questions you use, and (2) the wording of the main points keep ours, or change the wording to make it clearer for your audience. Read Matthew 20:20-28 together as a group. Consider allowing one or more of the teenagers to read the text. SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Let s take a look at how we can become more like Jesus by serving others.

4 1. Start with the heart SAY SOMETHING LIKE: We all want people to notice and recognize when we do something well. When we put time and effort into improving our abilities or skills, it s nice to hear someone say good job. This isn t always a bad thing, but the first step in advancing in God s kingdom is to not expect recognition for good deeds. Don t serve because you want to be honored. If you receive thanks or recognition, that s great. But don t let that be your motivation for serving others through your spiritual gifts and God-given talents. Do you think it s wrong to want greatness? Why or why not? SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Jesus didn t criticize the disciples for wanting to be in a position of honor. It s also interesting to note that Matthew 20:20 says the brothers mother knelt respectfully when she made her request. Since Jesus didn t say desiring greatness is wrong, what s the point of this passage? What does it mean to be great in Jesus eyes? How is this different than the world s way of seeing things? What s the difference between pride and self-esteem? Is it possible to want greatness too much? Where does this pride show up in your life? 2. Become a servant SAY SOMETHING LIKE: A servant is expected to perform tasks for other people. A servant puts other people s desires before his own. A servant thinks about what other people need before he thinks about what he needs. God s definition of greatness means caring for others and serving others through our spiritual gifts and God-given talents. Jesus says that if we want to be leaders, we must be servants. How does this line up with the way our culture talks about leadership? Do you find it easy or tough to serve other people? Why do you think that s the case? 3. Become a slave Jesus had already said we needed to become servants, but then he says we need to become slaves. What s the difference between being a servant and a slave? The word slave has a strongly negative connotation because of the history of that word and because there are still people held in slavery here in the 21st century. How comfortable or uncomfortable do you feel about the idea of being a slave to God or to others? How can you reconcile this issue? How is the slavery Jesus talked about different from the way we usually use that word? SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Being a slave means you are under the ownership of someone else. You are told what to do and have no choice but to obey. You have a choice, so if you want to advance in God s kingdom, be willing to be a slave to God and to others. Like being a servant, this means putting the needs of other people before your own.

5 4. Follow Jesus example SAY SOMETHING LIKE: The final advice Jesus gives on advancing in God s kingdom is to be like him. He is the only person to ever live on earth who had the right to expect other people to obey and serve him. Yet he did everything he could to serve others. He calls us to act the same way. Jesus said he came to serve other people, instead of being served. What surprises you most about that statement? ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION [optional] Is it possible to serve people or participate in some kind of ministry with entirely pure motives with no desire for recognition or attention? Why or why not? If it s not possible, what level of pride disqualifies us from ministry or serving? Read 1 Peter 5:5. What s the connection between serving others and being humble? What does it mean to be humble? In Matthew 20, Jesus specifically mentions that the rulers and officials were quick to exercise their power and flaunt their authority. Is this statement less relevant today or more relevant today than when Jesus said it? Explain. Matthew 20:24 tells us the other disciples became indignant toward James and John perhaps because they also wanted a seat of honor! When have you been in a situation where you wanted something but a friend asked for it before you could? How did you respond? Read verse 28. What does it mean for Jesus to give his life as a ransom for many? What is the purpose of a ransom? What s the spiritual significance of this? APPLICATION Think of a time when no one acknowledged something good you did. How did it make you feel? Why did you feel that way? Pair up with another person in the group for these questions. To become a more Christ-like servant as you use your spiritual gifts and God-given talents, what attitudes and actions in your life need to change? Identify one person in your world. What specific steps can you take this week to serve this person? How might this experience help you grow as a servant?

6 SUMMARY End your small group lesson here. Provide your teenagers with a quick summary or takehome challenge based on (1) the content of this lesson, (2) the dialogue that took place during the lesson, (3) your understanding of the issues and struggles your teenagers are facing, and (4) the big picture of your youth ministry and what your leadership team wants accomplished with the teaching and discussion time. FOR KEEPS [MEMORY VERSE] Encourage and/or challenge your teenagers to memorize the verse below. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave (Matthew 20:26-27).

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