Attender Preparation for Sunday School, Part 1

Tuesday 17th August, 2010

In Questions about Making Disciples Through Sunday School, I asked twenty questions about how Sunday School can help the church carry out the Great Commission to "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:18-20, NIV). This post answers the ninth question: What should happen in the life of attenders prior to class session which would magnify the impact of the session?

Revolutionary Sunday School has high expectations. What could happen if members and guests attending Sunday School were to exceed our expectations and prepare well for the session? What might that preparation include? How might that preparation impact the Bible study session. And more importantly for this series of questions, how might that preparation by attenders impact their growth as disciples?

In Part 1, we will look at four of eight areas of preparation and their impact on attenders:

  • REST. How often do members and guests in our classes show up tired? They stayed up late. They went to a movie or watched television late. They were over a friend's house. Caffeine does not completely remove the effects of tiredness. What if attenders began to get a good night's rest for Sunday morning? Their attention and listening skills would improve. Learning retention would increase. They would be more fully present relationally. They would likely be more sensitive to the presence and movement of the Holy Spirit. Interaction with God in His Word might have even greater potential to impact Christian living.
  • DAILY QUIET TIME. What if class members were spending time with God daily in prayer and Bible study? What if they were seeking a deepening relationship with God and His leadership in their lives? How might that impact the Bible study encounter? How might that preparation impact the way the lesson impacts their discipleship? Can you imagine how the lesson would have the benefit from all the daily quiet times of members? Can you imagine the testimonies that would be shared that would relate to the lesson? The lesson would become an exciting time none would want to miss. What if members prayed for what God was going to do on Sunday morning?
  • LESSON PREPARATION. What if every attender spent time in study and prayer with the lesson's assigned scripture passage and commentary? What if they started early in the week and allowed God to illustrated truth from the lesson in their daily interactions? That would dramatically enrich the Sunday morning experience. Insights and testimonies would be shared. Because of anticipated content, guests might be invited who needed the benefit of the lesson. Like I stated previously, none would want to miss this rich experience. They would be prepared to leave the session and put into practice the application of the day's truth.
  • OBEDIENCE. What if they actually sought ways to practice the application of last week's truth? What if next week attenders were asked to report on how they did during the week at living out God's Word? Those testimonies would be powerful and encouraging. They would be magnetic. Those experiences of obedience would challenge others to do the same. What if attenders reading next week's lesson, had opportunities to practice a truth from the upcoming lesson? This could be a powerful illustration--and the teacher didn't even have to prepare it.
Can you imagine the impact of Sunday School if attenders showed up prepared in these ways? Which ones of this list are your attenders already doing well? Which ones need the most work? What can you do to raise expectations? How can you help them to see the impact of their preparation on their growth as disciples? In Part 2, we will look at four more areas of preparation: relationships, invitation, expectation, and early arrival. Your investment in raising expectations can produce fruit in more effective Sunday School lessons and lives changed. Expect a lot. Be revolutionary!

For more ideas about raising expectations for participants, check out these blog posts:

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