In Questions about Making Disciples Through Sunday School, I responded to 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.” My response was to offer twenty question about how Sunday School can help the church in making disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey.
The third questions was this one:
What can Sunday School do to help attenders be better prepared to share personal testimonies to trust Jesus during individual encounters?
That question relates to yesterday’s post, Sunday School Sharing Jesus, but it personalizes it. Yesterday’s post was what the class could do. Today’s post is what the class can do to prepare the individual disciple.
in Sunday School Testimony: Powerful Revolutionary Tool, I shared several questions that adult and youth Sunday School should help attenders prepare to answer:
How has attending Sunday School helped you grow as a Christian? How have you grown in your relationship with God? In what ways has Sunday School helped you learn more about God, His Word, His will, and His ways? How has Sunday School helped you to face life’s struggles? How has Sunday School helped you make better decisions? In what ways has Sunday School helped you grow as a leader? How have relationships that have developed in Sunday School blessed your life? Has there been a time when your class came to your aid in time of need?
These questions can be natural entryways to a conversation about Jesus. All of them begin with sensitivity to the lost or unchurched person. They proceed out of care for the individual and a desire to share how the Sunday School class, studying God’s Word together, and Jesus have made a difference.
Beyond these Sunday School testimony questions, it is good to help believers to know how to share their salvation testimony as well. There are many methods for doing this effectively. And there are many resources for helping individuals be able to share naturally and comfortably, like Share Jesus Without Fear, Just Walk Across the Room, and FAITH Sunday School Evangelism Strategy. For many, simply having a method for being able to respond will give confidence. A salvation testimony will often include these three stages and conclude by sharing a simple scripturally-based response:
- My life before Christ
- How I accepted Christ
- My life since accepting Christ
- How you can respond to Christ: Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, and John 3:16
But how can a class prepare attenders to share a Sunday School and/or salvation testimony? Generally, the more times for hearing and practicing testimonies, the more comfortable individuals will become. Let’s look at two preparation times:
- IN CLASS. Give out the questions above at the end of a lesson. Ask them to take them home , pray over them and respond by writing out a two-minutes testimony in response to one question. Ask them to be prepared to share it with one other class members–so they should read it out loud several times before class. Then next Sunday, take ten minutes to ask attenders to pair off to practice sharing their responses. Give each pair two minutes to share. Many will not finish in time, but they need to understand how quickly two minutes passes. Then pairs if there was one especially good testimony. When one is suggested, ask the person if he/she would be willing to share with the class. Have the class clap for the person sharing and affirm him/her. Tell them that two minutes may be the most time we have to share in many cases. So we need to practice our testimonies until they are natural and short. Another option would be to set aside a few weeks of class time to study some of the materials listed above (or others) to train attenders in sharing their testimony.
- BETWEEN CLASSES. What was suggested above could take place during a class fellowship or activity. The group could even gather weekly to study one of the training resources between class sessions. This could be paired up with opportunities to go out on class visitation in pairs or teams. Another option would be to give adults the names of teens or older children to pray for one week, to write post cards the second week, to make phone calls the third week, and then to go to share a testimony on the fourth week. This works best when paired with training. Challenge attenders to share. Lead them to pray, and send them out. Call for reports. Affirm all efforts. Remember, it is God who sends the increase. Not every person we share with will be ready.
In addition to these ideas, what would you add? How would you adjust what was shared above? What resources have you used successfully? How has your class responded? Without prayerful preparation, the class as a whole won’t be ready when opportunities arise to share a testimony. Remember, “making disciples of all nations” involves “baptizing them.” Pray. Lead them to practice. Lead them to share. Watch God work! Be revolutionary!