In Part 1, I began thinking aloud about the potential impact of the discipleship tool of the Sunday School. I suggested that thinking should focus on what Sunday School can do to impact one disciple. Then I shared these questions:
What can Sunday School do to take a brand new, baby Christian to help them to become an obedient, Christ-following disciple and disciplemaker? Let's call the person Ken or Kendra. Don't talk in generalities, be specific. Don't limit your thinking to what Sunday School can do on Sunday morning, but include that experience in your responses as well. What can the teacher and members of that youth or adult class (or an off campus small group) do to impact Ken or Kendra in such a way that he/she becomes the person Christ desires? (After these questions, I asked for Comments.)
In Part 2 and Part 3, I continued thinking aloud by mentioning these four ways: with God, God's Word, each other, and questions. There are many more ways Sunday School can impact the discipleship of Ken/Kendra. Think about these two:
APPLICATION. A Sunday School lesson (like a sermon) is a natural opportunity to connect the truth of God's Word with the need for response. When attenders are led to meet God in Bible study, their need for change in thinking and/or behavior becomes apparent. Sunday School teachers are able to prepare in such a way as to bring the truth to bear to the age group represented by the class and more importantly to the individuals who will attend. Time must be set aside (dedicated) for application or else other activities will fill the time. It is essential to lead attenders to pause to examine and apply the truth. It is frequently helpful to make a couple of suggestions of ways the truth can be applied before leading attenders to commit to a course of action as a result of this encounter with God in His Word. Also, asking at the beginning of the lesson how attenders did at living out the truth during the week, is an important reminder about the end result of application: obedience.
CASUAL CONVERSATION OUTSIDE OF CLASS. Without a relationship, discipleship is difficult. God uses life encounters as opportunities for His body (the church) to begin relationships with people in the marketplace and along life's paths. Sunday School can regularly remind attenders to be aware of God speaking and moving around them. They can be reminded to be sensitive to opportunities to serve and befriend people. Once a relationship with God has begun, there are many ways Sunday School can impact discipleship through relationships outside of class. Casual conversation about the lesson, life's challenges, Bible questions, and more are comfortable, natural opportunities for discipleship. In casual conversation, questions can be answered, wrong assumptions corrected, poor behavior confronted, and the disciple life inspired. This can occur in chance encounters as well as in planned meetings.
What else would you add to these two ways? What else would you add beyond these two ways? There are so many ways that Sunday School can be a tool for discipleship in Ken/Kendra's life. Use it. Be revolutionary!
For additional thoughts about Sunday School's impact upon discipleship, check out these blog posts: