Are we expecting too little from Sunday School? Yes, in fact I believe we often expect nothing. What would happen if we expected life-change to take place through Sunday School? What would happen if Sunday School reinforced spiritual disciplines? In my previous entry, I talked about how Sunday School could reinforce the spiritual disciplines of Bible study and prayer.
Let’s look at Richard Foster’s Inward category of spiritual disciplines from his book, Celebration of Discipline:
MEDITATION. Some are confused about meditation, assuming that we are talking about some eastern practice involving crossing the legs and saying “uhm.” But meditation is a biblical spiritual discipline. We are commanded in Joshua 1:8 (NIV), “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” We are to focus our mind on God, His Word, His will, and His ways. When we think about and reflect on God, we recognize His awesomeness. How could Sunday School reinforce meditation? Teaching about meditation might help clear up confusion and show its benefits. Could attenders pair off to practice meditation for 10 minutes on Sunday? Could a verse be assigned each week to help attenders to focus on Him and His Word? What about sending reminders by e-mail or instant message to meditate on a passage or attribute of God? How about challenging attenders to spend their lunch hour reading God’s Word for 15 minutes and then meditating on what they heard Him say to you for 15 minutes?
PRAYER. (Talked about in previous post.)
FASTING. Fasting is another spiritual discipline that is not well known. Primarily it refers to choosing to abstain from food and/or drink for a set period of time in order to focus on God in humbleness. A person may also abstain from a special food or activity. Hunger (or abstinence) can serve as a reminder to focus on God. The time normally spent eating or watching television can be devoted to praying and meditating. In Matthew 6:16-18, Jesus warned against fasting to gain favor from men, encouraging his followers to fast in private. Isaiah 58 contains several great reasons to fast. How could Sunday School reinforce fasting? How about fasting and praying for the physical need of a class member, family member, or friend? How about challenging members to fast once a quarter for intentional spiritual growth? Since life is so complicated and full, what if you challenged members to give up one activity that takes time so they can substitute prayer, Bible reading, and meditating for the time?
STUDY. (Talked about in previous post.)
If you have an idea or experience to share about how Sunday School can reinforce the spiritual disciplines of meditation or fasting, press the comments button below. In the next two blog entries, I’ll focus on how Sunday School can lead members to practice Outward and Corporate spiritual disciplines. Check out Sunday School Supporting Spiritual Disciplines, Part 1, Sunday School Supporting Spiritual Disciplines, Part 3, and Sunday School Supporting Spiritual Disciplines, Part 4. Don’t just think about them. Practice them! Lead your class attenders to Him through the spiritual disciplines! Don’t be ordinary. Be revolutionary!