When we place children and teens in Bible classes, often our goal is to familiarize them with the basic stories in the Bible. That is vitally important, but there is oh so much more we can do to help our students grow spiritually. One vitally important gift a volunteer Bible class teacher can give a student is to help him or her discover her gifts and talents.
I am not one of these people who believe the short list of spiritual gifts mentioned by Paul are the only gifts God gives us. Look back in the scriptures about the building of the Tabernacle. You will find people named by the writer as receiving creative and skill gifts by God to help them build the Tabernacle.
Each of your students was given one or more gifts by God for them to use to serve the Kingdom. Historically, the church has reduced the list of “helpful” gifts to things like singing and preaching. The reality is God can use every gift to help further His Kingdom. Many of our children will grow up to use their gifts only to make money or perhaps to help a charity. No one ever helped them find ways to use those gifts directly for God. Even more upsetting are the children whose gifts are never uncovered and used because no one helped the child find the gifts he or she had been given.
There are a lot of ways to help your students discover their gifts from God. Pay special attention to them while they are in your class. Is there a child showing some artistic talent? Does one of your students write well? Is there a child with a flair for the dramatic?
You can also help them discover their gifts by listening as they talk about their passions. Do you have s student who is passionate about computer coding? Is there one who likes graphic art? How about a student who organizes things for your class and others? All of those are gifts God can use.
Spend some time in class asking students what they think some of their gifts might be. Encourage them to explore their gifts and perfect them – just like David the shepherd perfected his slinging while protecting his sheep. Brainstorm as a class ways your students can use those gifts they discover for God. If you have some talents in your class that dovetail, consider working on a “God” project as a class to serve your congregation or the public. Teach them how to use their gifts to share their faith with others.
Let’s stop the flow of gifts from God out of the doors of our churches. Help your students find those gifts and encourage them to use them for God first – before using them to pay the bills.