In-Person or Virtual
This activity relates body parts to people in the body of Christ, as Paul does in I Cor. 12. Before group, the leader should write down different body parts on index cards or sticky notes. Make sure there are enough so each person in the group can have a card/sticky note. During group, hand out one card to each person. Ask your group if they would be willing to live without that body part. Why or why not? Would you notice if that part was missing? How impacted would your daily life be if you didn’t have that part?
Modification for Virtual Groups: Instead of passing out cards, the leader can name a body part and allow the group to discuss whether they could live without that part. The leader could repeat this for several different body parts.
Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
In-Person or Virtual
Ask your group to share examples of a time when there were “too many cooks in the kitchen” – when there were too many people working on or trying to control something, resulting in the end product being negatively impacted. What ended up happening? Also, ask if anyone has an example of a time when there were “no cooks in the kitchen” – when no one took charge and nothing got done. What ended up happening in that situation? Discuss how this could be applied to the church. What if everyone were shepherds and teachers? What if no one were?
In-Person or Virtual
This activity relates different recipes to various giftings of people in the church. Contact your group ahead of time and ask them each to bring a favorite recipe to share. Give each person a minute to talk about their recipe and what makes it special or unique. After everyone has shared, discuss the diversity of the recipes shared and marvel at how all of the unique ingredients, when combined in different ways, produce diverse, yummy, and satisfying meals. At the end, have everyone leave a hard copy or send an electronic copy of their recipe to the other group members. Enjoy having a small group mini-cookbook!
1. Were you struck by any sermon point, or was the Scripture explained in a new way that might lead you to a particular action?
2. Ephesians 4:7-8 says Christ gave unmerited favor (grace) to His people in the form of gifts. A. What are these gifts? B. Are they different from natural abilities? How?
(Intent: A. In context, the emphasis here is the function or ministry of leaders in the church. Rom. 12:4-8 and I Cor. 12:4-11, as well as other passages, list spiritual gifts that describe various special abilities given to different Christians. These are motivational gifts or manifestations of the Holy Spirit. B. From Institute in Basic Life Principles: A spiritual gift is a supernatural ability that God gives to a believer; each Christian receives one or more of these gifts. Spiritual gifts are not synonymous with the fruit of the Spirit—aspects of Godly character that every believer is to cultivate, Gal. 5:22–23. Spiritual gifts are sovereign manifestations of the presence and power of God to meet present needs. Using their spiritual gifts, Christians can serve in ways beyond mere human capability and ingenuity, with maximum effectiveness and minimum weariness.)
3. What is the specific function of each position listed in v. 11?
(Intent: Apostles are sent ones who establish new Christian ministry in an unchurched region, ensuring consistently sound doctrine. Prophets are those gifted by and filled with the Spirit of God, speaking by the Lord's authority and command, words that are recognized as carrying the weight of God’s purposes toward salvation or Godly living. Evangelists are heralds of salvation through Christ. Shepherds watch over the Lord’s sheep, guiding and directing them along the path of Christian life. Teachers are gifted by the Spirit to expound on the Scriptures for understanding.)
4. Read vv. 12-14. A. The listed leaders have a goal. What is it? B. What is your “work of ministry”?
(Intent: A. Each of these roles is given to exhort and encourage the members of the body to grow fully into their own gifts, which are assigned to display Christ’s kingdom on earth. We should each know what our God-given gifts are and actively pursue them to reveal the Lord’s glory as we love one another, see v. 16. B. Ask the group to share what specific ministry they are involved in or would consider being involved in, whether it’s a formal role in the church or an informal ministry.)
5. Why are vv. 9-10 included in this section? This comes from Psalm 68:14-18.
(Intent: Some thoughts might include that it is about Christ’s humility, our salvation, or His ultimate purpose in the church, that we might reflect his glory and reveal the manifold wisdom of God. One thought that we might pick up from the psalm is that “captives” are the gifts that God has received for himself; these are the rightful heirs to His kingdom. The Lord gifts us with the intent that we would also free “a host of captives” that He might receive them as gifts from us, Mt. 28:18-20. Unity through our humble, sacrificial love for one another accomplishes this.)
6. What’s an example of a “deceitful scheme” mentioned in verse 14 that you’ve encountered?
(Intent: Have the group share some specific real-life examples from the world around us or in the church in general. Possible thoughts may be good deeds as a way to heaven and use of the Church or God as a formula to gain material prosperity. In addition to Satan’s doctrinal assault upon the Church, the enemy of our soul bombards us through the world’s minefield of deceptions. These constantly tempt us to be led astray into philosophies of sex, money, power, and pride that are at war with God’s truth and His working in our lives. Together as a small group, we can be on guard against these schemes, “speaking the truth in love” v. 15.)
7. Take a look at vv. 15-16. A.) How do we “grow up in Christ”? B) What does a mature Christian look like?
(Intent: A. By God’s grace, v.7, we are given maturity through the working of the Holy Spirit, effected through His leading in devotion to the Scripture and working out our faith in a small group, the church, our homes, and our workplaces. B. Referring back to vv. 13-14: They are united with other believers in the local and global church; they have both head and heart knowledge of Jesus; they are filled with the Spirit; they are steadfast in the truth, not deceived by the philosophies of the day; they “look”—act and think—like Jesus.)
Based on verse 16, evaluate what ways you are building up the body of Christ in love. In what ways are you doing kingdom work? Are there attitudes or actions that could be doing harm instead of good?
Ask the Lord to give you clear direction this week to use the gifts He's given you to help strengthen and encourage the body. Be bold and ask Him to reveal areas in your life that are a distraction from doing His work.