Enlist 1 Lesson 5: DISCOVERING & UTILIZING YOUR ABILITIES AND TALENTS

Lesson Aim

To enable the believers to understand and appreciate their unique abilities and how to use them in the local church.

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, the participants should:

  • Discover and understand one’s personal abilities and talents.
  • Appreciate the purpose and need for individual abilities in the ministry.
  • Commit to develop and employ the God-given abilities in serving God and others through the ministry of the church.
  • Introduction
    Whereas it has been generally and rightfully acknowledged that ‘God does not necessarily call the qualified but qualifies the called’, it is also true that God has given each one of us unique abilities, talents and skills. Hence, each one of us has the ability to serve in the ministry of the church.1. What is the meaning and relationship between Abilities, Talents, Gifts and Skills?
    Though these terms are often used interchangeably and are quite functionally inseparable there is a clear distinction between them.
  • i.Abilities refer to being able to do something.This means that if one can do something, they have the ability to do it. This could be

    due to natural endowment, special gifting, or training.

    Daniel 1:3-5

    “Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. 5The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service”.

    1. Talents are distinctive natural abilities in certain aspects of life

    Talents are part of who you are. They may be artistic talents, intelligence, physical

    strength, organizing ability and so forth. Essentially, talents are part of the way God

    made us and may be seen as what gives us the ability to serve others.

    1. Our abilities are enabled by our gifts, talents and skills.

    When these three are intertwined, they make a strong rope that cannot be easily

    broken. Therefore, these three must work together to attain effectiveness and fulfilment

    in the ministry, as per God’s design.

    Exodus 31:1-6

    “Then the Lord said to Moses, 2“See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts — 4to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. 6Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you.”

    1. Gifts are an expression of our unique calling as believers.

    Gifts are given by God, upon salvation, for the outworking of God’s purposes through the Body of Christ. An unsaved person might mimic a spiritual gift, but it is counterfeit and limited to self-activity. This is why you may find ‘false prophets’ and ‘false teachers’ are thriving.

    Ephesians 4:11-13

    “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists,

    and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service,

    so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the

    knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the

    fullness of Christ.”

    Implication

    Maximum and desirable ability is attained when we are able to fully apply ourselves to the exercise of our gifts, talents, and skills.

  • 2. Description of the various abilities
  • Dr. Tim Keller once commented that if you lift up the lid of a piano and sing a B-flat note, only the B flat string will vibrate. Why? Because it was built to pick up that wave length; the other strings are deaf to B-flat. Similarly, there are needs and activities thatwe vibrate to because of the way God has built us.

    The things we readily vibrate to determine or give lead to our discovery of our unique abilities. Note that our unique design is usually reflected through a combination of the following abilities:

    i.Adventuring Abilities.

    These use physical strength, agility, as well as courage and boldness, to accomplish tasks, some that may be considered uncertain or risky. It can also apply to deep faith the God-given ability to believe God for the unlikely. Adventuring abilities thrive on spontaneity and courage.

    1. Artistic or creative Abilities.

    These are abilities that communicate feelings, ideas, and concepts. They include music, instrumentation, and creative communications of drama, art, crafts, stage designs, storytelling, etc. Creative abilities are at the center of the Music and worship

    ministries of the church.

    iii. Influencing Abilities.

    These are motivating abilities that equip and enable others. They include teaching,

    encouragement, evangelism, pastoral, leadership and all accompanying abilities that motivate people to accomplish their work of ministry.

    1. iv) Story Boarding

    This applies to people who enjoy planning by creatively organizing random ideas into coherent schemes, writing and editing, volunteer development, small group leadership, mentorship, entrepreneurship, and every career skill can be applied here.

    1. v. Operating Abilities

    People with the ability and desire to use tools and building materials to build visual

    tools that enhance the message of the Kingdom. God’s kingdom needs electricians,

    painters, data base developers, data entry, crafters, gardeners, landscapers,

    photographers among others.

    1. vi. Organizing Abilities

    These are demonstrated in carrying out systematic processes, organize details, establish plans, and arrange schedules. They include administration, accounting, financial planning, curriculum development and more.

    vii. Hospitality and relational abilities.

    These are front-line skills that stand out in giving the first impression. These can be seen in people who enjoy helping visitors, regular attenders and members during worship services and other programs by providing friendly services and direction like ushers, protocol, traffic marshals among others. These kinds of people find their joy and satisfaction in serving by making others comfortable.

  • 3. Why must we utilize our abilities in the church?
  • When God gives you a talent, he expects you to use it. It’s like a muscle. If you use it, it will grow. If you don’t, you’ll lose it. If you have a talent but are hesitant or afraid to use it, or if you get lazy and don’t use it to benefit others, you’re going to lose it.i.Every believer has been empowered for ministry

    God’s desire is for every Spirit filled believer to serve him whenever and wherever they

    find opportunity to do so.

    Acts 1:8

    “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my

    witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

    1. God has uniquely equipped every individual for some ministry in the church.1 Corinthians 12:4-6“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”?”

      iii. Every believer is expected to perform his/her distinct role, as a part of the body of Christ.

      1 Corinthians 12:27 – 30

      “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret

      1. God expects us to exercise every ability given to us.

      Whatever your talent or skill is, guess what? God is behind it! But He didn’t bless any

      of us with a talent or skill simply so we could look awesome or earn lots of money or

      become celebrities. He expects us to utilize it for his divine purpose and glory.

      Romans 12:6-8

      “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying,

      let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

      3. Why must we utilize our abilities in the church?

      1. God expects us to serve him faithfully, and glorify him through our talents

      and skills.

      Exodus 35:10

      All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has

      commanded.”

      Note:

      But if you use your talents wisely, God will give you more. If you use your time wisely, God will give you more time. If you use your energy wisely, God will give you more energy. If you use your influence wisely, God will increase your influence. God will bless your level of faithfulness (Rick Warren).

      1. Utilizing our abilities is a demonstration of good stewardship and

      faithful service.

      Every gift and talent that we possess has been entrusted to us by God, and He expects

      us to use them productively. You are a manager of the gifts God has given to you.

      They may be great or small in your eyes, but they matter to God.

      1 Corinthians 4:2

      “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful”

      Implication

      When God made you, he made an investment in you, and he expects a return on

      that investment.

    2. 4. What pitfalls must we contend with as we exercise our abilities?
      1. i. Fear of failure.

      Though the task may appear to be gigantic, we need to be bold and stand up against fear, especially the possibility of failure.

      Jeremiah 1:4-8

      “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew

      you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.“ 6 “Ah, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” 7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.”

      1. Superiority or Inferiority complex.

      The fact that God has specially gifted you shouldn’t make you feel superior to others.

      Similarly, you should not entertain feelings of imperfection or lowliness, even if you think you are generously gifted.

      Philippians 2:3-8

      “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!”

      iii. Peddling your talents for profit or fame.

      This has been and still remains one of the most prevalent and unfortunate pitfalls in the use of gifts and talents. The advent of the ‘prosperity gospel’ trend has made this even worse.

      2 Corinthians 2:17

      “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God”.

      1. Attracting or demanding inappropriate attention.

      However powerfully one may be used of God, the focus should never turn from the

      Lord to the minister. We have even witnessed ‘gospel songs’ that talk more about the artist, than about the Lord. We have increasingly seen gospel musicians/ministers turn into artists/ entertainers/ performers or even comedians.

      Jude 10-13

      “Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals — these are the very things that destroy them. 11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm — shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted — twice dead. 13 They are wildwaves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.”

    3. Class Discussion
    4. Discuss the various opportunities that are available for you to utilize your abilities and skills in the ministry of your local church.
    5. Share practical steps that you intend to take in order to plug into the ministry.Note:Every local church has several ministry opportunities available for every believer to exercise his/her abilities, thereby allowing every believer to participate in the running of the church. These extend from the parking lot to the pulpit, and all contribute to the growth of the church.

      Implication

      You are unique and special no matter what skills you have. And God desires that you may serve him and his people, with what you have. God has endowed us differently, but the test of faithfulness will be applied equally irrespective of our varied abilities.

      Moses was asked, ‘What do you have’? And God used that Shepherd’s staff to perform miracles in Egypt and led to the deliverance of God’s people from slavery. Most people who have become successful in life have not done that because of possessing much money or extra-ordinary skills; but rather through their ability to recognize what unique skills and talents they possessed.

      Stop the pity party, stop the excuses, overcome your fears and exercise these abilities to serve the body of Christ.