In a previous blog post, Questions about Making Disciples Through Sunday School, I asked twenty questions about ways Sunday School can make disciples. One of those questions is this one:
What can Sunday School do to encourage greater daily intake of God’s Word?
In How Can Sunday School Encourage Greater Daily Intake of God’s Word?, I shared that recent studies have reinforced that the single most significant action which Christians can take to deepen their discipleship is increasing intake of God’s Word. In that post, I shared actions the adult class teacher can take to help learners increase their intake of the Word. My responses were mostly focused on actions between Bible study sessions. In this one, I want to share ideas for during the Sunday School hour. And I will divide them into four time segments:
- BEFORE STARTING. I believe in total period teaching. That means I try to take advantage of every moment available. When the first learner walks in, I like to get him/her thinking about the lesson. That can be accomplished in many ways. Write a question on the board. Hand learners an assignment when they walk through the door. Place an assignment on their chairs. Rearrange the room. Tell arrivers to do something before they sit down. Play a song or video. Capture their interest and get them started thinking about the lesson and truth for the day from the start!
- OPENING. Begin on time. Get them thinking. Get them talking. Use an icebreaker, but don’t waste it. Relate it to the lesson and truth for the day. Ask questions. Tell a story. Share a current event that relates. Review the previous lesson. Preview/overview the lesson for the day. Ask questions. Call for reports about how they did at practicing the truth of last week’s lesson. Help learners understand what’s at stake with this lesson.. Help them understand why the lesson is important. Lead them in prayer for help in understanding God’s Word and its relevance to their lives.
- MIDDLE. Lead them to examine the context of the passage along with relevant characters, places, items, and issues. Don’t tell them. Lead them to discover it themselves–where possible. Keep moving them toward listening to God and His truth for their lives. Lead them to read His Word. Lead them to reflect on passages. Allow silence. Call for discussion. But guide the discussion toward what God is saying rather than what “I think.” Get them into small groups with assigned questions.
- CLOSING. Don’t rush the end. Lead learners to apply the truth personally. Ask them to commit themselves to obey the truth. Lead them to plan a response to what God is saying to them. Lead them to set up an accountability process (like accountability partners). Review where the lesson went for the day. Challenge learners to do it. Make assignments. Pray for help in carrying out the truth. Follow up.
This post could have been four posts rather than one. What would you add to the conversation that has begun here? What would you add to any of these four time segments? Help them to increase intake of God’s Word. Lead learners to spend time in God’s Word. Lead them to meet God in Bible study. Lead them to hear His Word for them. Lead them to respond to what He said. Help them to take steps to obey. Hold them accountable. Be revolutionary!