When Sunday School Spills Beyond the Hour

Sunday 22nd August, 2010

In Sunday School at Work During the Other 167 Hours, Part 1 and Sunday School at Work During the Other 167 Hours, Part 2, I have previously dealt with the subject of question fourteen from Questions about Making Disciples Through Sunday School. In that latter post, I asked twenty questions about how Sunday School can help the church carry out Jesus' command in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20, NIV): "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

Question fourteen was this one: What would happen if we began to realize that a Sunday School lesson could actually spill over into the other 167 hours of the week? The question is actually about more than a realization of the possibility. It is about the possibility becoming a reality. What might happen in and through the lives of attenders if Sunday School began to include the rest of the week in the learning, practicing, and applying?

The possibility is HUGE! In the series mentioned above, I shared five areas in which "to extend the ministry and work of your class beyond the walls of the class and beyond the Sunday morning experience." I shared some practical ideas like the following:

  • EVANGELISM. Ask each member to pray for a lost person for a couple of weeks.
  • DISCIPLESHIP. At the end of the class, ask members what they will do as a result of God's truth they have encountered, and at the beginning of the next lesson ask for their reports
  • FELLOWSHIP. Have a meal together as a class in a home, at the church, or at a restaurant.
  • MINISTRY. Someone in the class should be responsible for encouraging every attender to serve the Lord in some way in the church or community.
  • WORSHIP. Worship is more than a service. Worship is a lifestyle. It is an attitude before God. It is meeting God in Bible study--in class, in personal devotions, and in the worship service.
We are aiming at an important moving target: making disciples. This is more than teaching content. It is reaching, teaching, and caring for life change. It is mobilizing attenders to live out the lesson between Sunday School sessions. It is helping them to understand that the truth is not only head knowledge but also meant to be practiced.

When we think that way, we begin to lead Sunday School's impact to leak into the cracks and crevices of everything learners do during the week. The truth becomes relevant and real. We look for impact in our life setting of family, work, school, and play. We seek application in the tame and wild parts of our schedule, in the quiet and busy moments of our lives.

Teachers begin to ask attenders questions which echo through the week. Lesson illustrations and stories (from scripture and life) vibrate the strings of the harp of our daily lives. No lesson ends without an invitation for a response then and in the days to follow. Attenders check on each other. Because God is working in the lives of attenders, they want others to experience what is happening to them. This results in invitations to homes, fellowships, projects, and class. Testimonies are shared.

Attenders look forward to completing assignments. They read the lesson and passage with anticipation. They pray fervently for God's leadership, for the class, and for their friends. The class has a heart of service and is willing to help anyone in need. (Sounds like the church in Acts 2!) They give. They care. They spend time with God in His Word. They see the big picture. They are willing to serve anywhere and to start new class.

Allow Sunday School to leak out into the rest of the week. Help attenders understand that they are the body of Christ in the world between Sundays. They are to live with Him and for Him. Lead them to apply and practice obedience. Lead them to make a difference. Lead them to grow as disciples. Lead them to make disciples. Be revolutionary!

For more ideas about extending the Sunday School session beyond the walls and hour, check out these posts:

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