In a previous blog post, Questions about Making Disciples Through Sunday School, I asked twenty questions about ways Sunday School can make disciples. One of those questions is this one:
5. What can Sunday School do to encourage greater daily intake of God's Word?
Recent studies have reinforced that the single most significant action which Christians can take to deepen their discipleship is increasing intake of God's Word. That should come as no surprise. Think about it this way. If we want to grow to be more like Jesus, we need to listen to Him. What better way do we have to listen to Him than to read the Bible? When you open God's Word, He speaks.
Let's go back to a phrase from the Great Commission: "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." How will we obey His commands unless we read and apply them? And when was the last time you read the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) to make sure you were not missing any of the parts of the "everything" he commanded?
Not long ago I heard Allan Taylor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Georgia, share about copying the pages of the Gospels and getting his highlighter. Then he began reading daily and highlighting Jesus' commands. Wow! That is a great thought for every Sunday School teacher and Sunday School director and leader.
Besides that idea, how else can Sunday School encourage increasing daily (or weekly) intake of God's Word? How could this be done in class and between classes? Consider some of thee suggestions:
- Have a Bible reading contest between class members, between classes, or between parts of the Sunday School. Award points for every chapter read, scripture memorized, conversation with someone about what was read, and reading the Bible to someone (even in class). Give recognition and awards to the winners! (Everyone who participates will also be a winner!)
- Ask class members to memorize a different scripture verse every month.
- Challenge them to make daily appointments with God. Ask them to share the appointment time.
- Give mini candy bars (or other reward) to class members (even adults) who read their lessons and the assigned passage.
- Assign a question every week at the end of the lesson which can only be answered by reading the scripture passage for next week's lesson.
- Assign accountability partners who will encourage one another to read agreed-upon passages.
- Have a contest to write family devotions (scripture, devotional thought/story/object lesson, and brief written prayer). Then encourage families to have family devotions together for a month or quarter.
- Ask the class to read the Bible everyday at lunch for a month.
- Challenge members to write a brief daily journal of their encounter with God in His Word.
- Assign weekly a Bible book, character, object, place, or topic for the class to study during the week.
- Assign background passages for the upcoming lesson along with individual assignments to add greater depth to the Sunday morning session.
- Start the class session by asking members to read the passage silently. Ask them to write down at least one question on a 3 x 5 index card.
- Teach attenders how to pray through scripture (see Teaching Sunday School Members to Pray Through Scripture for more suggestions).
- Make it fun!
For more ideas about Sunday School and discipleship, check out these blog posts:
- Transitioning from Sunday School Teacher to Disciple Maker
- Sunday School at Work During the Other 167 Hours, Part 2
- The 5 W’s of Balanced Sunday School
- Making Disciples Through the Sunday School
- Revolutionary Sunday School and Kingdom Purposes
- Measuring Your Small Group Impact and Progress
- What Can Sunday School Classes Do to Make Disciples Thirsty?
- Three Tools Sunday School Can Use for Increasing Spiritual Maturity
- There’s Just Not Enough Time: How Can a Sunday School Teacher Do It All?