INFLUENCE IS A GIFT
Everyone is equipped with the ability to influence others. But we don’t all use our influencing ability for good, and many of us don’t use this ability at all. How will you take responsibility for the gifts God has given you? Will you be a leader or a follower when it matters most?
Work through the following questions and Scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
1. Can you remember the first person that had significant influence in your life? Who was it? How did he/she influence you?
2. Would you consider yourself a leader or a follower? Does your answer to the question vary based on context?
3. When you think about all of the struggles in our world today—racism, terrorism, poverty, drug abuse, and the like—how does it affect you? Do you feel helpless? Do you feel inspired to act?
4. Can you recall a time when you felt called into a dark place to “be a light”? What was your experience like? What did you learn?
5. Read John 15:18-20. We learned this week that the world’s system is like a current that flows away from God. Have you ever felt persecuted for any of your personal beliefs? How did you react to this?
6. Do you have a conviction that you’d be willing to die for? If so, what is it? What makes you feel so passionately?
7. Knowing that God tells us that influence is a gift, how can you begin to let God expand your influence? This week, be intentional about praying for discernment on how you can grow your influence through conviction, considering others, and empowering others. Share your experiences with those around you.
God John 15:18-20 – “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
As you look to dig deeper into the topics of this week’s message, consider checking out the “Ministry” outcome on Gateway’s Spiritual Growth Path. Here’s an excerpt:
Knowing one’s spiritual gifts is a starting place. We must know the gifts God has given us, the way His Spirit has empowered us, so we can maximize our efforts by leaning into God’s strength and power. A spiritual gift is a tool, though, that can be used in a great many ways and a great many circumstances. The carpenter may be skilled in using a whole array of tools, but this does not mean the carpenter knows what he will build. He could build a house, a hospital, a restaurant, or a business. Likewise, the follower of Christ must be thoughtful and prayerful about their optimal place of impact. James, Peter, John, Paul, and Barnabas were all leaders in the early church. Galatians records, though, how they all recognized the unique contributions they were called upon to make: “James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews.” (Galatians 2:9). Knowing our ministry is critical. A person may be a gifted teacher, but the spiritual gift of teaching can be exercised in countless formats. Likewise, the spiritual gift of administration can be used to organize oversight for a church or be used to organize the inner-workings of a relief effort to those impacted by a hurricane. To be sure, a person’s ministry may change over the years. God may best utilize a person in one season by directing them to one ministry and then later direct them to another. It’s also true that the way we often find our best ministry is by getting involved and trying things. At some point, though, the follower of Christ will have increased clarity and commitment to what he or she is called to do in that particular season. Scripture tells us “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10). These good works may or may not be formal roles and responsibilities, but they will be known and embraced by those who do them. The authentic follower of Christ will take joy in focus and will make the most of the opportunity God has given to make a lasting and critical difference in the lives of others.
To complete this outcome in its entirety, go to gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/ministry
SPIRITUAL OUTCOME — gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/ministry