God’s Will and the Church
The Point: God often reveals His plans for us through His church.
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
In an April 2019 article in the New York Times, David Pogue described how he gathered material for his book titled The World According to Twitter. To collect material for the book, Pogue tweeted out a question to his Twitter followers every night for 100 nights. He used the best responses he got from his questions as the basis for his book. Pogue says that one of his tweeted questions was: “What’s your greatest regret?” A Twitter follower named Susan Champlin responded saying, “I regret all the time I wasted regretting. Wise advice: ‘You made the best decision you could w/the information you had at the time’.” Pogue said that one response changed his life. He found Champlin’s advice — “You made the best decision you could w/the information you had at the time” – to be profoundly liberating.
Say: Maybe there has been a time when you received a piece of advice you felt was significant or life changing. Then call attention to Question #1 (What’s a piece of advice you’re glad you didn’t ignore?) and invite volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
Use the following information to supplement Question #2.
A poll released this past summer showed that Americans rarely seek guidance from their clergy or church leaders. The survey by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that three-quarters of American adults “rarely or never consult a clergy member or religious leader.” This number is not a survey of unchurched people—some people included in this number identify with a specific religious faith. The poll showed that while a majority of Americans do identify with a specific faith, about half of those people said they want their “religious leaders to have little influence in their lives.”
Timothy O’Malley, a theology professor at Notre Dame University, suggests that the cause may be that Americans today tend to reject the use of “experts.” O’Malley said, “Think about the use of Google. You can literally Google anything. Should I have children? What career should I have? When should I make a will? How do I deal with a difficult child? You can find the information more easily through a search engine than finding a member of a clergy.”
Say: This survey suggests that people are not looking to their churches, or at least their church leaders, when they seek guidance. Then call attention to Question #2 (Where do people often look for guidance today?) and invite volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
— Donna McKinney wrote these Leader Extras. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina.
Study the Bible – Option
After reviewing the setting for this study, show a set or a picture of hearing aids. Click here for an image.
Ask, “What’s the purpose of hearing aids? What’s the only way these hearing aids can fulfill their purpose?”
Say, “You’ve got to put them in the ears and turn them on to be able to hear.” Sometimes people don’t use their hearing aids out of pride or because they are a bother, but those issues will prevent us from being able to listen to others. God often reveals His will to us through other believers—but we’ve got to be willing to listen to their godly counsel even if it goes against our pride or seems to be a bother. (This option is from the Senior Adult Leader Guide.)
- Who do you turn to when you need sage advice?
- When has godly wisdom saved you from an unpleasant outcome?
- Who in your circle of friends can you count on for timely wisdom?
1 Corinthians 12:1-3
- What do these verses teach us about the Holy Spirit?
- What are some practical situations in which these principles would prove valuable?
- How would you explain Paul’s main point in these verses?
1 Corinthians 12:4-6
- Why is it important to recognize that our gifts, activities, and ministries come from God?
- How does your church represent a balance of different gifts, ministries, and activities?
1 Corinthians 12:7-11
- Why is it critical for there to be a diversity of gifts and ministries within the church?
- How has God used different people’s spiritual gifts to minister in your life?
- How have you seen people’s spiritual gifts being put into action?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Here’s a brief video giving you an overview of this session: How to Know God’s Will – Session 4.