Sunday School’s Biggest Impact on Disciplemaking

Sunday 29th August, 2010

My conviction is that revolutionary Sunday School can help a church carry out the command of Jesus in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20): "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." Over the last nineteen posts, I have answered questions from Questions about Making Disciples Through Sunday School about how Sunday School can do so. Question twenty was this one: What one thing could Sunday School do which would make the most difference in making and growing disciples?

How would you answer that question? Before you answer, let me challenge you to think of one qualification. Think of Sunday School as it could be, as it should be. Think of revolutionary Sunday School. In disciplemaking Sunday School, what one action could make the most difference in making and growing disciples? In Sunday School which has moved from teaching lessons to making disciples, what one thing could Sunday School do to make the most difference, to have the most impact?

As a starting list for your consideration, review the ways Sunday School can impact disciplemaking from the previous nineteen posts:

  • inviting, sharing Jesus, sharing testimonies, fellowships, increasing daily intake of God's Word, learning retention, teaching methods, class size, class arrangement, learner preparation, learner application, increasing session length, expectations, time beyond the session, application reporting, spiritual disciplines, desperateness for God, and showing Jesus to others.
Do any of those ways make it to the top of your list? What would you add to the list? What would be your answer to question twenty?

All of the topics from the previous posts are important actions of Sunday School that desires to take disciplemaking seriously. In fact, a regular rotation of emphasis among the list would likely lead to reinvigoration of that action. It is easy to get bored with a method, even if it is the best one. And it is easy to get busy and lazy, leading to spending less and less time and energy productively.

Still, the one action not specifically focused upon in any of the posts is likely the most important: prayer. Yes, prayer was mentioned as necessary in several posts, but no post was fully dedicated to prayer. And following our Lord's leadership in determining the right path toward discipleship can be greatly aided by spending time personally and corporately in prayer.

Sunday School should teach preschoolers, children, youth, and adults how to pray. I mean more than group prayer. I mean personal, honest, passionate prayer. I mean prayer for God to change me. I mean prayer for God to speak and help me to respond obediently. The teacher can lead this. A pastor can emphasize this. Prayer partners can practice this. A need or crisis may crystalize the need for prayer. A spiritual renewal may spark it.

The time invested is in disciplemaking. Some will object because the effort takes time away from "the lesson." Does it really. And remember, we have been focused upon making disciples. How can we make disciples who do not know how to pray? If Sunday School does not teach prayer, who will?

Want to strengthen your class or Sunday School? Teach teachers to pray and ask them to teach attenders. (Such action is disciplemaking at its foundation!) Don't just tell them how. Instruct them. Lead them to apply it. Check on progress. (Check out these posts about following Jesus' example: Discipling Through Sunday School Jesus’ Way, Part 1, Discipling Through Sunday School Jesus’ Way, Part 2, Discipling Through Sunday School Jesus’ Way, Part 3, and Discipling Through Sunday School Jesus’ Way, Part 4.) Pray for His leadership. Ask others to join you. Teach them to pray. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!

For more ideas about prayer, check out these posts:

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