Jesus has sent us into our community and world to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20). Sunday School can have even greater impact upon lives and this discipling effort. In Discipling Outcomes from Sunday School, Part 1, I listed fourteen discipling outcomes which have potential to result from Sunday School. In Part 2 , I dealt with biblical knowledge and understanding and in Part 3, I dealt with Christian worldview.
In Part 4 of this series, I will focus ways a Sunday School class can impact discipling through spiritual disciplines. I have written about spiritual disciplines previously. Check out the following blog posts:
- Sunday School Supporting Spiritual Disciplines, Part 1, Sunday School Supporting Spiritual Disciplines, Part 2, Sunday School Supporting Spiritual Disciplines, Part 3, and Sunday School Supporting Spiritual Disciplines, Part 4
- Sunday School, Disciplemaking, and Spiritual Disciplines
- Sunday School Teaching Believers to Listen to the Voice of God, Part 1 and Sunday School Teaching Believers to Listen to the Voice of God, Part 2
- Teaching Sunday School Members to Pray Through Scripture
- Actions to Lead Sunday School Members Toward Spiritual Maturity
- Sunday School’s Contributions to Disciple Making
- Teaching Your Sunday School Class the Spiritual Disciplines of Prayer, Bible Study, Meditation, and Solitude
- Revolutionary Sunday School: Changing Converts into Disciples.
How can a Sunday School class use spiritual disciplines to impact discipling? Consider the following (many of which received further explanation and treatment in the first series listed above):
- Quiet times. Undergird attenders’ efforts by teaching about the importance of and techniques for a daily quiet time of prayer and Bible study. Give them resources and suggestions. Offer plans. Make challenges. Set goals. Practice it in class. Have a class retreat focused on quiet time practices.
- Prayer. Set aside class time for prayer. Gather together at other times than Sunday to pray. Establish a prayer chain or method for delivering prayer requests to attenders quickly. Teach on different kinds and focuses fo r prayer. Teach them to pray through scripture.
- Bible reading. Encourage attenders to r ead the lesson Bible passage prior to Sunday. Assign background passages. Encourage regular intake of God’s Word. Annually share a variety of Bible reading plans to encourage daily, balance Bible reading. Teach them a variety of Bible study methods and encourage them to practice them for a period of time.
- Meditation. Teach them to listen to God through meditation on His Word. Share passages which reinforce this discipline and techniques for making the most of the time. Practice and debrief.
- Silence and solitude. Set aside time in class and longer periods between classes for silence. Meet in a park and encourage attenders to separate for 30-60 minutes with a written devotional guide. Ask them to meet at a set time and place to debrief what they heard.
- Service. This can be a class project or individual acts of service. Read passages, like Matthew 25, and focus on serving the hungry, thirsty, poor, prisoners, orphans, widows, or others. This can be especially powerful if connected to a lesson and followed by time for debriefing.
- Fasting. Again, this can be especially powerful if connected to a lesson and followed by time for debriefing. Teach about reasons people fasted in the Bible. Establish a purpose, method, and suggested date/time period. Focus on God during the time of fasting. Let hunger focus thoughts toward God as well as any time that would have been spent eating.
Consider these quick ideas for focusing on spiritual disciplines in and through the Sunday School class:
- Invite the class to arrive early on Sunday for a time of prayer.
- Set aside a special time in place of a class fellowship for service and remember to debrief the experience.
- Teach on fasting and then set aside a time and remember to debrief what they experienced and learned.
- Pair off to have daily devotions together (five days each week) for three weeks.
- Set aside four hours on a Saturday for a mini silent retreat with some simple instructions in advance and no music or talking during and debrief afterwards.
- Assign scripture passages along with some simple reflection/meditation questions.
- Debriefing each experience helps to reinforce what was learned and capitalize upon these discipleship efforts.
What additional spiritual disciplines has your class practiced? What ideas would you to these for practicing spiritual disciplines through your class? Press Comments below to add your experiences and thoughts. Make disciples. Be revolutionary.