The title for this blog post is ambiguous. I am sure the first impression it gives is that a Sunday School teacher should pray and prepare well for the teaching-learning experience. And while that fact is true, the title of this post has another meaning.
This post is about the result of Sunday School efforts, experience, and encounter rather than preparation for it. In other words, this post is about understanding where we are headed and what we are trying to accomplish during the Bible study session and in the lives of attenders as they live it out during the week.
I want to point us back to a phrase from Jesus in the Great Commission. Look at the passage:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20, NIV).
The phrase is this one: “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Here is the point: we are to teach others what He commanded us. This is not only for pastors and teachers. This is for disciples. This is for His body. This is for you and for me.
We are to give away what we have learned. We are to share what we have experienced. We are to tell others about the Jesus we know.
And Sunday School should be taught in such a way that attenders are prepared to do that. Attenders are not to be told. They are to be prepared so they can teach others. Attenders are not simply to hear. They are to learn so they can remember and communicate what was taught to others. Attenders are not to be taught only to obey. They are to teach others to obey.
That would be the point of Jesus investing in the apostles (sent ones) through allowing them to hear Him teach and watch Him heal and drive out evil spirits. Then He sent them out in pairs to teach and do what He had been doing. Then He called them together to hear about their results:
“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught” (Mark 6:30, NIV).
And that would be the point Paul is making to Timothy:
“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2, NIV).
Prepare each lesson with the end in mind. What does God want learners to do as a result of encountering Him in His Word? What does He want attenders to teach others in such a way that they can obey His commandments? How can the class session prepare learners to teach others? Pray. Prepare. Do more than teach content. Prepare disciples. Prepare them to teach others. Be revolutionary!