Members of your class live differently as a result of what happens in and through your class. People around them notice. They want to know the difference. They ask and give opportunity to share about Jesus, the church, and your class. How did your members get here?
Sunday School can be more inviting and evangelistic through prayer (Part 1), through relationships (Part 2), through fellowships(Part 3), through greeting (Part 4), and through teaching (Part 5). In addition to these fifty ways, in Part 6 we will look at ten ways Sunday School can also be evangelistic through application of the lesson:
- APPLICATION. Class attenders are led to understand how the truth of each week’s lesson applies to life today. They know it is relevant to their lives at home, at school, at work, at play, and in the marketplace. They understand that they are to live lives of radical obedience. They understand people are watching, and getting this right can lead others to Jesus.
- PERSONALIZATION. Even more specifically, your attenders are allowed enough time in class to customize a plan of action for applying the truth to their own setting. They are given time to pray and consider a strategy and steps of obedience. They consider the impact of those around them.
- COMMITMENT. Understanding relevancy and developing a plan is not enough. Your attenders are led to make commitments to live out the truth. The commitment is primarily to God but can be strengthened by including others (see Accountability below). This adds resolve to the plan.
- ACCOUNTABILITY. These commitments may be shared with a prayer partner, accountability partner, small group, or the class. Or they can be written in a prayer journal. But accountability means more than telling others (or your journal) that you made a commitment. There has to be a time to check on progress toward the commitment. See Mark 6:30 for a time for the disciples to report to Jesus. So a specific report time should be set.
- ENCOURAGEMENT. When commitments are made and accountability report time comes, including others can provide encouragement. They may offer affirmation. They may offer suggestions. They may even challenge. The point of the encouragement is to help attenders to keep their commitments to live out the truth. This can be especially helpful when attenders run into difficult circumstances, but everyone will benefit from hearing the report and will be encouraged about progress and success in living like Christ. Many who are without Christ would love to have an individual or group who cheers them on like this.
- OBEDIENCE. Bottom line, if we are going to impact and influence those in our lives and along our paths, we must live lives that reflect Jesus, obedience to His commands, and the fruit of the Spirit. They must see lives that match words. Without drawing attention to ourselves, they will know we pray and care and are different. And they will be drawn to Him.
- LOVING EXAMPLE. Because we love Jesus, we will love others. As a result of loving others, we will show the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Each lesson will result in understanding God’s Word, His love, and how to set its truth and His love into real life context. Failures here will lead to repentance, confession, apology, and forgiveness.
- QUIET TIME. Evidence of a changed life will be stronger when an individual is spending daily time in prayer and studying God’s Word. This is daily conversation with a loving God. This is seeking daily direction and help. A daily quiet time gives strength and encouragement for the journey and interactions of life. The best Sunday School classes are those which lead attenders to know how to benefit most from a daily quiet time and challenge members to do so. When attenders spend time daily with God, there will be overflow out of their lives onto the people around them.
- CRAWL, WALK, RUN. None of us were born running. In the same way, attenders will benefit most from application of the lesson which comes in increasingly challenging steps. Radical obedience may start simply by praying for a lost friend (crawl). It may come as you take an attender with you to make a visit (walk). And it may lead the attender to mowing grass for a lost neighbor following surgery resulting in a spiritual conversation (run). Accountability may come by writing a letter of commitment to yourself (crawl), by sharing a commitment with an accountability partner (walk), and by sharing a testimony with the class about what God did through you (run).
- REPORT. For several reasons, reports of application and obedience are helpful. It helps participants recognize and celebrate what God has been doing in their lives and those of others. It helps participants see spiritual progress. It ensures a common deadline for execution of plans and steps. Reports help attenders know they are not alone–others are working through similar circumstances. Reports even allow listeners to offer words of wisdom, sensitivity, and adjustment.
What would you add to these ideas for making our lesson application even more evangelistic? If attenders obey God in His Word, those around them will be attracted to Jesus. Choose one or two and of the ideas above to implement in your class this week! In Part 7, we will turn to ways our class follow up can be more evangelistic.