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The purpose of this session is to introduce youth to the concept that God has called each one of them to a specific ministry -- works that God has prepared in advance for them to do (Ephesians 2:10). Future sessions will assist them in discovering their spiritual gifts, identifying and confirming their interests, identifying and confirming their abilities, examining their heart for what really moves them, and finally in motivating them to develop their own personal ministry based on all of these things.
Activate Your Audience
What is it?
Ahead of time, take a video camera or regular camera with a strong zoom lens and take very close-up shots of regular, every day items that have a purpose. Examples include a paper clip, coffee cup, water-fountain drain, clock, shoe, etc. Get some close-ups of some off-the wall stuff if you can, like the inside of someone's nose or ear, roadkill, etc. If you don't have a video camera or camera capable of taking really close-up shots of objects, go to a local bookstore and ask the clerk to help you find a book that has close-up shots of objects like these. During your meeting, show the close-up shots to your youth and let them guess what the items are. Sometimes they will be right, sometimes they will be way off. Have fun with it.
During the study, you can refer back to this activity by asking what each object's purpose is.
Bring them Closer
Break your group up into smaller groups of three to six people. Give each group a collection of small objects that have a purpose (paper clips, staples, paper towels, toilet paper, cups, etc.) Instruct each group to do something totally creative with their objects -- something that has likely never been done before. For instance, making a paper clip chain is probably not unusual, but making a paper clip butterfly is. Give each group an appropriate amount of time to finish. Allow each group to share what they have made.
During the study, you can refer back to this activity by explaining that ordinary objects, like ordinary people, can be used in more ways than just one.
Lead your group to sing some songs that focus on God's plan for their lives
Communicate the Word: It's Your Thang (Ephesians 2:10)
God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
Illustration: Imagine walking through a dog pound. Before your eyes are hundreds of young puppies and dogs that are less than a week away from being euthanized. Your parents have allowed you to choose one. How will you choose? Discuss answers if possible -- notice the wide variety of choices. Once you chose a dog, what would you do? Discuss. How would you react if you were stuck in a cage waiting on someone to pick you, and someone stopped and kneeled down at your cage? Discuss. When you finally choose a dog, it will be the one that you want the most.
Explanation: When God was the only thing that existed in the universe, He chose to create other living beings that He could be friends with. He could have chosen anything -- but He chose you. He looked at the person you could be and said, "I'm going to create him/her!" He created you because He wanted to.
Application: Because God wanted to create you, you can be sure that He didn't just abandon you after you came into existence. He not only wanted to create you, but He continues to want to be with you. If you went to a pound and carefully selected a puppy to take home with you, you wouldn't abandon it once you got home. You would feed it and spend time with it and give it a unique name. God has chosen you, created you, and He wants to spend time with you because you are unique. No one can touch God's heart the way you can.
Illustration: Inside of your body is an organ known as the appendix. No one knows what this body part is for. It's attached to one end of your large intestine, but it doesn't seem to serve any purpose. In fact, often people get sick and have to have their appendix removed. People seem to do better without it than with it. How would you feel if you were an appendix? Discuss.
Explanation: Some of you might feel like an appendix. You don't really know what your purpose in the world is. In fact, you feel like if you were removed from the world, no one would even notice or maybe they would be better off. The fact is, though, that you were created with a very specific purpose -- a purpose unlike anyone else's. The real question is, have you discovered your purpose? Does anyone know what your purpose in life is? Discuss.
Application: God is the only one who knows what your purpose is, so He is the one you must go to to find out. Don't settle for a normal worldly purpose. Many people just flip through life's little catalog of career choices -- I can be a doctor or a lawyer or a supermodel or a trash collector. But is your career really your purpose? No. Your purpose is a lot bigger than a job, it's something totally incredible and unique. Your destiny is to change the world, to change people's lives, to live for God. Are you going to flip through the catalog of current choices, or are you going to ask God what your purpose is? Discuss. He will show you if you listen to Him (Bible) and talk to Him (prayer).
Illustration: Let's say you work for Taco Bell. What is your purpose? Discuss. Whether you are the manager or working at the register, what does your purpose always relate to? Discuss. Your purpose will always relate to serving Mexican food to the customer in order to make money. What would happen if you told your boss that you ought to start serving french fries? fried chicken? burgers? Discuss. What would happen if you brought video games to work and played them in the back? Discuss. Your boss will only want you at Taco bell if you serve the purpose. The purpose is limited to Taco Bell's goals.
Explanation: Once you become a Christian, you "work for God," so to speak. Your job is all day, everyday. God's goal is to help every person hear about Jesus, accept Jesus, walk with Jesus, and imitate Jesus. So, what are you going to spend your time doing? Everything you do must somehow fit into God's plan. That's why, whenever you make a decision, you should always ask yourself first, "What would Jesus do in this situation?"
Application: Every person in Taco Bell does not do the same thing. Some take orders, others make food, some manage the back, others clean. But, everyone works toward the common goal. God is not going to make all of us do the same boring thing. What He has called you to do will be specific, fun, interesting, and worth your while -- but it must fit into His purpose. So, today/tonight and in the weeks ahead we will be discussing what your specific job is -- your ministry. And you have a ministry. Just as the Taco Bell boss will train you and show you what you are supposed to do, so God will train you and show you just what you are supposed to do.
Illustration: Think about the movie "Babe." He was a pig with some extraordinary intelligence. His master, the farmer, worked with him and trained him to be a sheep pig. Normally, a pig would have done nothing more than eat, get fat, and become bacon. But Babe, because he was special and unique, was chosen by the farmer to do a specific job. Fortunately, Babe obeyed the farmer. In spite of the laughter of the crowd at the sheep dog contest at the thought of a pig participating, Babe showed the farmer and the world that he could do the job.
Explanation: God wants all of us to be like Babe -- to listen to what He says and follow His instructions instead of just eating, drinking, getting fat, and dying.
Application: You are as unique as Babe. You may laugh, and the people around you may laugh, but God has some extraordinary task for you to do. You may seem out of place, and your ministry may be a little weird, but God has already got the details worked out, so just listen to what God tells you.
In the next few weeks, you are going to get the tools necessary to find out just what your niche -- your ministry -- is in this youth group and in your world. We're going to look at your spiritual gifts, your interests, your abilities, your heart, and when we're done, you're going to be expected to announce to us what your purpose is. Five weeks from today/tonight, I will ask each one of you to tell us what you special ministry is. So be thinking and praying.
Do Something About It
Summarize: God has a unique plan for your life. He created you with this purpose in mind. No one else but you can do what God has called you to do. If you decide to accept God's plan for your life, you will find your life to be fun, exciting, unique, and fulfilling. It's Your Thang. Whatcha gonna do?
Between now and the time God shows you what His purpose for you is while you are in this youth group, here is what you can do to prepare yourselves.
You'll understand more each week why we call it your "THANG."
Close in prayer.
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