Jesus sent us into our world to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20). In Discipling Outcomes from Sunday School, Part 1, I listed fourteen discipling outcomes which have potential to result from Sunday School. In this series thus far, these are the posts with the Sunday School discipling issues addressed in each post:
- Part 2 (biblical knowledge and understanding); Part 3(Christian worldview); Part 4 (spiritual disciplines); Part 5(obedience); Part 6 (life and behavior practices); Part 7(spiritual gifts and church body practices); Part 8 (love of God, neighbor, and self); Part 9 (connection, community, fellowship); Part 10 (leadership training); Part 11 (service); Part 12 (mission and ministry); Part 13 (inviting and sharing Jesus); and Part 14 (tithing, stewardship, and money practices).
In this final part of the series, I will focus on ways a Sunday School class (or small group) can impact discipling through leadership and group multiplication. In life, when an organism stops growing, it begins to die. That is true of a plant, animal, or the human body. This is true for Christians, teachers, leaders, classes, and churches.
Life grows naturally through multiplication. Dogs have puppies, cats have kittens, and people have babies. But the same is true on a much smaller scale as well. Cells multiply. For a church or group to grow, there must be leader, member, and group multiplication. In fact, if growth does not happen on the smaller level, there can be no puppies, cats, babies, new groups, or church growth.
Not only is multiplication natural of living things, it is also a natural and intentional way for a Sunday School class or small group to impact discipling. Think about what happens when a group leader prays for, relates and observes, enlists, trains, and releases another group leader. Discipleship happens. Think about the conversations about our Lord, His church, people for whom Jesus died, ways to carry out care, and much more. Many of those conversations will be discipling/mentoring conversations. And many conversations will produce change and action in order to follow Jesus or serve Him and those He loves.
As far as a group as a whole, multiplication is too often neglected moving the group toward decline and death. Instead, the teacher or group leader must challenge all those serving to multiply. An outreach leader should multiply himself. A care group leader should multiply herself. A prayer leader should multiply himself. A secretary should multiply herself.
As far as group members, they should be led (by the group leader) to take actions in small increments to do the same (multiply themselves) with children, friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors. A natural outgrowth of personal discipleship and growth with our Lord is sharing (teaching them to obey) with others what Jesus has commanded us (Matthew 28:20). A Sunday School class or small group Bible study is a great environment for encouraging one another and holding one another accountable to pray for and invest in others while multiplying ourselves.
Also, a group of nearly any size can raise up an apprentice and send out a seed group to launch a new group. When the group leader is multiplying himself/herself, the group begins to see the new group embodied in the apprentice. This visual reminder prepares the group to launch a new group while at the same time reminding them of their personal goal to do the same.
What would you add to this discussion about discipling and multiplying through the Sunday School class or small group?