In Part 1, I shared personal quiet time insight from Mark 6:30 (NIV): “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.” Jesus sent out the Twelve “two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits” (Mark 6:7, NIV). He instructed them and sent them out. Here is what I saw that I had missed before. Jesus had a four-step discipleship process: (1) INSTRUCTING: Jesus instructed them. (2) SENDING: He sent them out to practice what was taught. (3) APPLYING: They applied what was taught. (4) REPORTING: They “gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.”
These steps are simple but effective for transformational discipleship through Sunday School. In this four-part series, I have set the steps into the context of the youth or adult Sunday School class.In Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, I shared the first three steps: instructing, sending, and applying. In Part 4, I will share the final step: reporting.
REPORTING. Instructing enables attenders to use what is learned. Sending raises retention, increases attention, and leads to application questions because learners know they’re being sent to use what was learned. Applying is living out the truth.
Many Sunday School lessons contain these three parts: motivation, examination, and application. Motivation is capturing the attention and interest of learners. Examination is looking at the passage in context for understanding. Application is recognizing the impact of the truth on my life and committing to respond in obedience. But application in class is not enough. Action is needed. Keeping the commitment is needed. Mind, heart, and life-change are needed.
How can Sunday School help disciples grow? Hold attenders accountable to keep their commitments by asking them to report on what they did. Teach a lesson. Allow time for attenders to wrestle with the truth and apply it to their lives. Ask them to seek God’s leadership for a plan for practicing the truth. Lead them prayerfully to commit to do it. Help learners understand that change happens as they are sent and apply the truth. Then let them know you will ask how they did next week.
The simple action of telling them you will ask is motivational. They will take the “assignment” and personal responsibility more seriously. But progress will crumble immediately if you don’t follow through in calling for a report. Reports don’t have to be long, but they are needed. They can be called for intermittently, but they are needed regularly at first while learners are adjusting to this new expectation.
Sending, applying, and reporting add depth and impact to teaching. They change teaching to instructing. They take more time. But the rewards are high. God’s Word becomes a light to the path. It is a roadmap for life. It leads to fruitfulness and blessing.
How are you doing with these steps? Where is your discipling of others strong? Where does it need to be reinforced? What can you do to lead your attenders to report about what happened when they applied the lesson during the week? How can you begin calling for reports in order to help attenders know you are serious about their growth? Instruct. Send. Apply. Report. Be revolutionary!