This series focuses on “more.” Sunday School becomes ineffective without these pillars and cannot grow without doing more in each pillar. The pillars include more purpose, teamwork, planning, trained leaders, groups, member and prospect care, new members, and disciple-making. Will you commit to more of these eight pillars this year?
I wrote my book, Disciple-Making Encounters: Revolutionary Sunday School, because change is needed in the way we prepare and teach Sunday School lessons. The revolutionary teacher seeks to encounter God in Bible study during preparation. He or she looks for the point or truth that was communicated to the original audience. Then the teacher seeks to understand how that truth applies to life today and to him or her.
Then the teacher responds in prayer to what God has said. That results in a commitment being made to respond to (live out) that truth. Finally, the teacher seeks to obey, actually to do it. Journaling and accountability helps the teacher keep his/her commitment.
After the teacher has personally met God in Bible study and sought to obey in response, he/she prepares a lesson designed to lead participants to open God’s Word and meet and listen to Him. This is more than the teacher sharing what he/she discovered during preparation. Instead it is designed to lead each participant to have a personal encounter and designed to teach each member or guest how to encounter God in His Word between class sessions.
The first questions of every lesson should follow up on obedience to last week’s lesson:
What was last week’s lesson about? What was the point or truth? How did that truth apply to life today? How did you do at living out the truth of last week’s lesson?Disciple-Making Encounters
More disciple-making will include Bible study (listening to God), prayer (responding to God), commitment (agreeing and deciding), and obedience (doing) as four steps every lesson needs to help participants take. These steps are helpful for preparation as well as for getting the most out of devotionals and sermons.
When Sunday School has more disciple-making, testimonies will be shared about how participants lived out the truth of lessons. Members will not want to miss early moments in the lesson in order to hear these testimonies. Faithfulness in attending will increase. Lives will change as they become more obedient to God in His Word. The lost will be saved. Disciples will mature. Leaders will develop.
More of all eight foundational pillars are needed for Sunday School to be effective and grow. Work on one at a time. Do it right. Build a strong, health, growing Sunday School! Make disciples. Be revolutionary!