The teacher shows up late for class and misses opportunities to connect with members and guests. He rushes through announcements and prayer to get to a great lesson. Then he tells everyone about what he discovered in mining the lesson this week. In the room is a individual interested in Jesus, wanting to know how to accept Him, but a little timid and not sure if questions are allowed. Did the teacher miss the only opportunity to share Christ with this person?
In Part 1, I shared ways that prayer helps Sunday School be evangelistic. In Part 2, I shared ways relationships help Sunday School be evangelistic. In Part 3, I shared ways fellowships help Sunday School be evangelistic. In, Part 4, I shared how greeting can help Sunday School be evangelistic. In Part 5, I will focus on ways and moments in the lesson. Consider the following ten ideas:
- EXPECT. Expect the Holy Spirit to be at work. Expect lost and unenrolled people to be invited and present. Set goals for invitations and new members. Pray and make assignments. Expect that God will draw people to Him.
- PRAY. Pray before class and as class begins for spiritual progress in the lives of every attender. Lead attenders to pray for themselves and each others. Pray expectantly and with focus. Pray for commitments and steps of faithful obedience to happen as a result of the Bible study session.
- FOCUS. Focus on Jesus in every lesson. Yes, even Old Testament lessons. Help attenders see the connection. Focus on what He came to do and steps they need to take.
- CONNECT. Arrive early. Visit with every attender. Look people in the eyes. It is easier for people to admit they have needs when they know and trust the group and leader. Pray with people. Get to know them and teach to meet their specific needs. Ultimately “connect” is about meeting God in Bible study. As leader, you should meet Him first. This is so much more than preparing a lesson. Then second, “connect” is about facilitating an encounter of the class with God. This is so much more than lecturing. This is leading them to meet God in Bible study themselves. Be approachable.
- LISTEN. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Listen to God in His Word. And listen to what people are saying before the lesson as well as during it. Listen to hurts and needs. Listen to affinities and interests shared. Listen for teachable moments and questions. Listening is critical as you lead attenders to connect. Allow conversation and questions. Take time to answer their questions.
- GUIDE. After you have met God in Bible study, you become a guide for the class. Your job is to lead them to journey into their uncharted landscape of God’s Word. Because you have been there, now you can lead them to meet God there as well. Don’t tell them. Guide them to discover God and His Word for themselves. Questions can be a great tool here.
- GROUPS. Because some people will never talk in front of a group of eight people or more, divide the group into smaller groups for at least part of the lesson. Give assignments to the group to get everyone in the smaller groups talking.
- REPORT. Follow Jesus’ example in Mark 6:30. The disciples reported to Him a ll they had done and taught. They had been sent out to teach, heal, and drive out demons. A report time about living out the truth of scripture can be encouraging and evangelistic. It makes scripture and Christianity come alive.
- TESTIFY. Ask members to practice sharing brief Sunday School and/or evangelistic testimonies during the last 5-10 minutes of class in pairs or triads once per quarter. Ask one member to share his/her testimony at the beginning of class once a month. This allow the group to practice and feel more comfortable in sharing during encounters in life, and this allows guests to benefit as well during class.
- INVITE. Every time you open God’s Word, He speaks. When He speaks, we are never the same. As a result of His speaking, He expects change and response. After leading attenders to encounter God in His Word, give them opportunity to respond. Invite them to think of possible responses of obedience and to commit to one response to implement in the week ahead. Invite those who need Jesus to respond. When an attender has accepted Jesus, where possible connect that individual with the pastor before worship.
What would you add to these ideas for making our teaching more evangelistic? Choose one or two and implement them in your class this week! In Part 6, we will turn to applying our teaching in ways that are evangelistic.