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); Part 6 (life and behavior practices)
In Part 7, I will focus on ways a Sunday School class (or small group) can impact discipling through spiritual gifts and church body practices. In order to understand why I have connected the two phrases for today (spiritual gifts and church body practices), consider this word from scripture:
And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. (Ephesians 4: 11-13, HCSB)
There are several key words and phrases in this passage: training of the saints, work of ministry, build up the body of Christ, until we all, growing into a mature man, and more. The focus for this post will be on “build up the body of Christ” and “until we all.” Discipling in the church is not about the individual as much as it is the body. That is why spiritual gifts and worship and other church body practices are so important.
Well, how can the class impact discipling through spiritual gifts and church body practices? Here are a few ideas:
- teach about spiritual gifts
- offer a series about spiritual gifts
- have special studies about spiritual gifts
- offer a spiritual gift inventory
- take a class retreat to focus on spiritual gifts and
- prayerfully enlist class leaders attempting to best utilize the gifts, abilities, personalities, experiences, and passions of individuals
- gather those with the same gifts to talk about those gifts and possible avenues of expression in life and class and church ministry
- enlist a class service leader who focuses on helping every class member find opportunity to serve in the class, church, community, and world
- offer a variety of class ministry and mission projects in order to utilize the spiritual gift mix of the class
- allow knowledge of members’ gifts to flavor the application of lessons
- as often as possible, adult classes should include preschool, children, and youth teachers who would be in the class if not currently serving, seeking to discover spiritual gifts and mobilize them into service
- assign a spiritual gift each month to one or more members who have that gift, and ask them to share describing the gift and possible ways of mobilizing that gift
- regularly schedule time (during class, fellowships, or special studies) for members to share testimonies about how they have used their spiritual gifts
- ask the pastor to allow the best member’s testimony to be shared from the pulpit
- during lesson application/invitation, ask members to consider how they might live out the truth of the day’s lesson in light of their spiritual gifts
There can be hundreds of expressions of class discipling through spiritual gifts and church body practices. What would you add to this list? Lead them to discover and mobilize their gifts. Help them understand application of their gifts to the body of Christ. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!