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.
Thus far, these are the posts and 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)
In Part 6, I will focus on ways a class can impact discipling in the areas of life and behavior practices. While this discipling issue is related to the previous one (obedience), there are some unique nuances. Consider these additional ways of discipling in order to impact life and behavior practices:
- Prayer. Ask for prayer requests. Pray for the each other and requests in class and between. Prayer is powerful. Even bad habits can be changed through prayer.
- Special lessons. Periodically it may be helpful to respond to life and behavior issues with special lessons looking at how God’s Word addresses these issues.
- Studies. Periodically it may be helpful to respond to life and behavior issues with studies between Sundays which addresses these issues. For instance, these might include parenting, money, setting priorities, and more.
- Projects. What is you planned a project to address multiple needs? What if you knew members needed to invest in relationships with unchurched people and needed to learn how to share their faith naturally? You could plan an outreach, ministry, or missions project which would meet needs and share Jesus. As part of the required training for the project, you could offer witness training and practice. Check out Grow Sunday School by Sharing Your Salvation Testimony for some ideas.
- Accountability partners. See Discipling Outcomes from Sunday School, Part 5. The emphasis here would not be following up lessons but living in the Spirit (implementing the fruit of the Spirit) and practicing good habits and disciplines daily.
- Surveys. Pass out surveys asking members to identify life and behavior practices in which they need help or are struggling. Then plan a strategy based on survey results.
- Inventories. Share a discipleship inventory like the Sunday School behaviors survey in Ministry Toolbox (contact me for more information) or the Transformational Discipleship Assessment from LifeWay. Inventories give you an opportunity to address discipleship behaviors through teaching or special studies, but you can also take the inventory again in a year to check on progress.
- Listen. Do not underestimate the value of listening and taking note (literally) of what you are hearing. Talk about discipleship. Listen to their stories. Note areas which need to be undergirded. Do this casually and intentionally.
- Questions. Ask strategic, discipling questions. Encourage, mentor, and coach members to identify needs and strategies for making progress. This can be done as a group and as individuals or small groups. You might consider using the questions from Coaching 101 to assist you in the process.
- Assignments. Invite attenders to help with class activities, projects, and lessons. Ask them to help you with contacts, visits, and ministry. Give them life and behavior assignments to be completed before a report date. Check out Sunday School: Take the Love Dare for some ideas.
- Covenant. Invite attenders to join you in creating a class covenant. Check out this covenant. Discussion brings ownership. Ownership gives permission for expectations, encouragement, and correction. This can create positive discipling movement in class and away.
- Reports. Set aside time for reports following special lessons, projects, studies, surveys, inventories, assignments, and other events to debrief. What happened? How did they feel? What did they learn? What would they do differently next time? Debriefing can reinforce learning from discipling experiences.
Life and behavior practices may change quickly or take a long time. Work for some quick wins as well as stay persistent in addressing those which require more work and patience. Live in the Spirit. Expect life change. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!
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