Are we expecting too little from Sunday School? What are we expecting Sunday School to accomplish in the lives of attenders? How can Sunday School reinforce life-change? How can Sunday School lead Christians to obey what Jesus has commanded (Matthew 28:19-20)? How can Sunday School lead attenders to be like Jesus? How can Sunday School help Christians grow in the fruit of the Spirit? Is it possible that Sunday School could help converts become disciples of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?
Paul writes in 1 Timothy 4:7b-8 (NIV),
train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holidng promise for both the present life and the life to come.
How could you use Sunday School to train attenders to be godly? What if Sunday School could actually lead Christians to grow through applying spiritual disciplines? As a simple example, would Christians be more likely to grow into disciples of Jesus if they regularly had a daily quiet time, a time of Bible study and prayer? I believe this is an absolute minimum expectation from Sunday School.
How could you, as a Sunday School leader, reinforce this expectation? Could you set up accountability groups to encourage members to practice a daily quiet time? Could you make weekly assignments and check on them each week? What would happen if pairs called each other daily to remind each other? Could you send e-mail reminders to class members twice during the week? Challenge them to buy and read through a daily devotional book or a one year Bible. These are but a few of the scores of possibilities. If change were to take place through your members’ quiet times, wouldn’t the effort be worthwhile?
What about other spiritual disciplines? Richard Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline lists three categories of spiritual disciplines:
- Inward: meditation, prayer, fasting, and study;
- Outward: simplicity, solitude, submission, and service; and
- Corporate: confession, worship, guidance, and celebration.
In the next blog entry, I’ll focus talk further about how Sunday School can lead members to practice other spiritual disciplines. Check out Sunday School Supporting Spiritual Disciplines, Part 2, Sunday School Supporting Spiritual Disciplines, Part 3, and Sunday School Supporting Spiritual Disciplines, Part 4. Don’t just think about it. Do it! Lead your class attenders to Him through the spiritual disciplines! Don’t be ordinary. Be revolutionary!