Session 2: Many Gifts, One Spirit: Using Your Special Gifts for God and His Church

Objectives: By the end of this session participants should be able to . ..
1. explain that God gives each of us special abilities and interests to glorify God and help others.
2. list some of the special gifts, talents, and interests God has given them
3. list several vocations mentioned in the Bible and the lives of the saints
4. discuss how different vocations relate to each other
5. brainstorm ways that they can use their gifts, talents, and interests to glorify God and help others

Useful Texts for Leader Reflection/Preparation
1 Cor. 12:27-31
1 Cor. 13: 1-8a
Ephesians 4: 11-13, 15-16
1 Peter 4: 8 - 11
Rom 12: 3 -21
Lives of Saints (see below)

Life of Saint Romanos the Melodist (enclosed)
Life of Saint Tatiana - p. 41 Women Martyrs of the Lord, Book 1 of the Saints for All Ages series available from OCPC
Life of Saint Nina - p. 5 Enlighteners of Ancient Kingdoms, Book 2 of the Saints for All Ages series available from OCPC.
Life of Saint Columba - p. 16 Saints of the British Isles, Book 6 of the Saints for All Ages series available from OCPC.

A: Younger Children (Objectives 1, 4 & 5)
Presentation: A-MAZE-ing.
Set up a maze from one side of the room to the other using anything you have handy (chairs, tables, boxes, tires, hoola hoops, etc.)
Explain that while some mazes only have one way out, this maze has many ways a person can get through. Have each student find their way through the maze (there are no rules). They can even have a partner if they want to.
After everyone has gone through the maze have them sit down in a circle and ask them to describe some of the special ways each person did it. Ask, "Does anyone remember what we said God wants all of us to do?" [Glorify God and help others with love] Say, "Just like we made our own way through this maze, God wants each of us to glorify Him and help others in our own special way."

Discussion: Who are the people in our Church?
Have participants name all the various people who use their gifts in the Church (priest, bishop, deacon, people who make vestments, altar boys, prosphora bakers, singers, mothers, fathers, iconographers, teachers, cleaners, parish council members, grounds keepers, etc.). Put all answers on a large piece of newsprint or poster board.

Activity: Vocation Collage.
With the responses from Who are the people in our Church, using Orthodox Clip art and various Orthodox and non-Orthodox magazines, have participants create a collage that shows how different people use their special gifts for God and others.
For this activity you will need:
- Poster Board
- Orthodox Clip-art
- scissors
- glue
- misc. materials such as yarn, needle and thread, music, markers, etc.
- picture magazines such as Entrepreneur, Business Week, Forbes, Child, Again, diocesan publications, Parents Magazine, Family Fun, etc.

B: Pre-Teens (Objectives 1, 3 & 4)

Presentation: Department of Unusual Walks.
Place a large sign somewhere with the words "Welcome to the Department of Unusual Walks." As everyone arrives inform them that they have entered the Department of Unusual Walks. When everyone is seated, discuss how each of them has special talents that can be used in the Department of Unusual Walks, and different ways they can use those talents. Go around the group having each person sharing some of their talents that they think they could use and how.
Tell them that each person is to walk across the room using their talents and interests in a completely unique and unusual way. Once everyone has crossed the room review how specific people used their talents and interests (i.e. a strong person walked across on their hands, a dancer danced across, etc.) Say, "Last time we discussed how all of us have a common vocation as a Christian. What is it? [To glorify God and help others in love.] That is our common goal, just as now we all had the common goal of getting from one side of the room to the other. But each of us did it differently, how is this like our Christian vocation? [While we are all called to glorify God and help others, each of us will do it in our own way.]

Discussion: Lives of the Saints
Split into groups of three or four.
Give each group a life of a saint (you may wish to include saints not included in this packet). Say, "Many of the saints of our Church walked through life in very special ways using the talents God gave them." Have each group read the life of the saint and determine what they think the saint's vocation was. When they are finished have them come back and share their results. Discuss the following questions:
1. Which saint's vocation do you think is the most important? Why?
2. What special abilities did they need to fulfill their vocation?
3. How did they use the special things about their lives to glorify God and help others?
4. What are some other things they could have done with their gifts that would not have been for the glory of God?
Note to Teacher: Show participants the icon of the Protection of the Theotokos. Ask them to look at the bottom of the icon and find Romanus and the Choir singers

Activity: We're all part of the Body.
Read Romans 12: 3-8. Tell participants, "St. Paul tells us that just like we have different parts of our body that enable us to do different things, each of us in the Church have different gifts to glorify God and help others.
Ask participant to choose which part of the body they want to be. Trace that part of their body onto a large piece of paper.
Split participants into groups of two or three. Write certain spiritual gifts on index cards and hand one card to each group. [For a list of spiritual gifts see the biblical texts mentioned above.] Tell the participants, "Imagine your group has the spiritual gift written on the paper you received. List five things you personally and as a group could do to glorify God and help others with this gift?" Have students write their ideas on their piece of the body. When everyone is done gather all the groups and reassemble the body. Review what they listed for their spiritual gift.
Ask 1. If the body didn't have one of the gifts would it be complete? [No.]
2. How does one gift affect the others? Do the gifts work together?
3. Ask someone to give an example of two spiritual gifts working together to glorify God and help others.

C: Teens (Objectives 1 - 5)
Presentation: Human pyramid.
Depending on the number of participants you have you may wish to split them into groups.
Have the group form a human pyramid. Once they are assembled, choose one of the people on the bottom and say that they aren't important for the pyramid. Ask that person to leave pyramid. Discuss the following questions:
Was there anyone in the pyramid that wasn't important? [No, because if a bottom or middle person wasn't there the pyramid would collapse, and if the top person wasn't there it wouldn't be a complete pyramid.

Discussion on Biblical Texts.
Split participants into groups of 3 or 4. Give each group a set of the following groups of biblical texts:
1. Romans 12: 3-21
2. 1 Cor. 12:27-31, 13:1-8a
3. Eph. 4:11-13, 15-16; 1 Peter 4: 8-11

Tell each group to read their texts and a) list the gifts that are mentioned in the text, b) determine where they think these gifts come from, c) compare how these relate to Christian vocations, and d) discuss what you think the world would be like if no one had any of these gifts.

After about 10 minutes have everyone come back and share what they discussed. List on a chalkboard or large piece of newsprint all the gifts they discussed. After pointing out commonalities in their discussion about the use of these talents ask:
· "What do all the gifts we listed have in common?" [They are all given by God to help others.]
· "How do you think it can be harmful to wish you had someone else's spiritual gifts?"

Leaders' note: Some of the gifts listed include: speaking God's message, serving, teaching the faith, encouraging people, giving to others, being a leader, showing kindness to others, interceding for others, praying for others, translating, patience, hospitality, healing, self-control, martyrdom, serving others.

Activity: Poem.
This can also be something for teens to put in their journals. Using the list of gifts from the Discussion of Biblical Texts, as well as their own talents and interests, have each participant write a poem about themselves using the following format:
Name Mark
Adjective, Adjective helpful, athletic
Verb, Verb, Verb teaching, working, giving
Adverb, Adverb joyfully, reluctantly
Noun Confusion

Teen Journal Reflection Think about what interests you, what you really enjoy doing, and what talents and abilities you have. List five or six things that you think are God-given talents that you could use for Him and others.

Session Conclusion:
God created each of us to be very special. We have different color eyes, skin, and hair. Some of us are tall, some or us are short. Some people are rich and some people aren't rich. Some people are really talented with math, while others can draw, sing, or write stories. No matter what our differences, one thing remains same: God wants us to use the things that are special about us for Him and for others. That is why he gave us special interests, talents, and abilities. That is why He made us special. It is the secret of our Christian vocation.