In a previous post, Questions about Making Disciples Through Sunday School, I talked about questions I had about how Sunday School could carry out our marching orders from Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV): “”Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” This led to asking twenty question about how Sunday School can help the church in making disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey.
In that post, the fourth question I asked was this one:
How can Sunday School use fellowships to deepen relationships with each other while at the same time using them to get to know guests?
In case you’ve not read previous posts, Jesus commanded us to “make disciples of all nations.” Then he defined how: “baptizing them…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” In order for Sunday School to make disciples, it requires reaching, teaching, and caring–all three, no less.
But what do fellowships have to do with making disciples? Lots! Consider these thoughts:
- RELATIONSHIPS. As a group gets to know and trust one another, teaching-learning is able to be more personal. Accountability can increase. The group leader is able to prepare the lesson and apply the lesson truth to real life situations. Fellowship activities, whether socials or projects, tend to build relationships in ways that class time alone is unable to do so. People discover affinities they share with others in the class. They laugh and work together. They bond. This deepens the teaching-learning experience and enables spiritual steps to be taken.
- ASSIMILATION. Fellowships are natural opportunities for classes to reconnect with absentees and dropouts. Group leaders intentionally invite everyone on the class list every time a fellowship is planned. Those who have missed can re-engage in relationships away from class and sometimes ease back into attendance through these fun times away from class.
- REACHING. At the same time that fellowships are helpful for reconnecting absentees, they are also helpful in introducing the people in the class to new people. When guests are invited, they can have fun together with a new group away from church. They can discover some affinities with people in the class. They can laugh and enjoy the fellowship experience with regular attenders. This enables guests to be more open to an invitation to attend a class session on Sunday morning. Josh Hunt, author of You Can Double Your Class in Two Years or Less, encourages inviting “every member and every prospect to every fellowship every month.” Parties and projects work at reaching which allow us the opportunity to show we care and to share about Jesus.
Fellowships really do make a difference in Sunday School’s ability to make disciples of all nations. Develop relationships. Maintain connections with members. Reach out to new people. Care. Share. Disciple. Be revolutionary!