In Part 1, I began sharing responses to the question: What should happen in the life of attenders prior to class session which would magnify the impact of the session? This follows up a post entitled Questions about Making Disciples Through Sunday Schoolin which I asked twenty questions about how Sunday School can help the church carry out the Great Commission to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20, NIV).
In Part 1, I covered four of eight areas of preparation and their impact on attenders: rest, daily quiet time, lesson preparation, and obedience. In Part 2, we will examine the other eight areas:
- RELATIONSHIPS. The lesson has even more impact when the relationships with the teacher and other attenders is strong. When trust is present, there is greater willingness to be open and transparent. Hurts and struggles can be shared. Prayer is real and personal. Relationships are strengthened in many ways during and between classes. Some of these include using participatory teaching methods, allowing time for attenders to share their stories, fellowships, projects, discovering affinities, praying together, and more. A growing relationship with God also enriches these relationships.
- INVITATIONS. When attenders invite guests, their desire for a great experience is heightened. They look forward to being there. They are sensitive to the perspective of those invited. Attenders are strengthened just from inviting–even if guests never show up. They are taking steps of obedience toward making disciples of all nations. Invitations are often preceded by caring development of a relationship with unenrolled people. Add all this together with the fact that everything learned in Sunday School has the potential for being helpful with relationships along our paths.
- EXPECTATION. What if we show up in Sunday School expecting something to happen? When attenders come with expectation, attention is higher. They arrive early. They are prepared to engage. They are excited. They look forward to seeing each other, to what’s going to happen during the session, to encountering God in His Word. They come prepared, prayed up, and ready. That expectation leads toward the desire to share the experience, to inviting absentees and prospects. How can we raise expectations and anticipation? Good experiences with God and His people in His Word often lead to growing expectations.
- EARLY ARRIVAL. When the teacher arrives early, the room and lesson are ready and he/she can focus attention on members and guests. He/she can also take full advantage of total period teaching by leading attenders to begin thinking about the lesson from the moment they walk into the room. When members arrive early, they don’t miss a minute of the lesson or of relationships. By arriving early, there is time to get children into their classes. There is time to greet and get to know guests. Coffee or refreshments, if available, can be enjoyed leisurely.
When an attender come prepared for Sunday School, they get more out of the experience and relationships. Learning is deepened. Participation increases. Retention is higher. In turn, efforts to strengthen them as disciples are helped. Lead them to rest, invest in a daily quiet time, prepare for the lesson, and live the truth. Lead them to deepen relationships, invite others, come with high expectations, and arrive early. Watch what happens! Be revolutionary!