My friend and coworker, Steve Rice, recently wrote an excellent blog post entitled Teacher or Disciple Maker? His question has caused me to reflect on the difference between the two. Steve clearly states, “I believe they are both!” But, like Steve, I believe that disciple maker is the preferable role. Here is what he said:
Allow me to pose a question. What is the goal of teaching a Sunday School lesson? Is the goal merely to share the lesson? Is the ultimate goal about information or about transformation? I believe the ultimate goal is to see unbelievers in the class come to know Jesus as their Savior and to see believers transformed into the likeness of Christ. So, one of the main goals is discipleship.
I have written previously about how Sunday School can and should be involved in discipling. Three of these include Sunday School/Small Groups Making Disciples the Way Jesus Did, Making Disciples Through Accountability in the Adult Sunday School Class, and Revolutionary Sunday School: Changing Converts into Disciples. Without a question, leadership of this process is essential. That means the teacher is key. If you as teacher focus only on delivering information, you will see less transformation. Raise your sights! Raise your expectations. Adjust your plans.
Allow me to paint some of the differences between the two: teacher and disciple maker. I realize I am placing the two roles in stark contrast to the extent that there is a bit of exaggeration. But I want to ask you prayerfully to begin transitioning toward being a disciple maker in your role as teacher. Consider the following differences:
|Goal||Delivering content well||Transforming believers|
|Content||Weekly lesson||Lessons + other discipleship opportunities|
|Preparation||Preparing the lesson||Preparing the people to obey/serve|
|Relationships||One-on-group||Group + one-on-one|
|Expectations||Show up for class||Obedience + practice daily quiet time and spiritual disciplines|
There are many more areas of difference. Which would you add? On which side of the table do you find yourself? Where can you begin to take steps toward being a disciple maker? Grow as a disciple yourself. Ask God to help you become a disciple maker. Raise your expectations. Adjust your plans/actions. For some additional suggestions, get Josh Hunt’s book, Disciple-Making Teacher. Be revolutionary!