Want your class to grow? Want them to make spiritual progress? Are you focused on helping them grow as His disciples? Then, your example matters! Your words count, but your life is powerful.
Over the previous seventeen posts, I have been answering the twenty questions from Questions about Making Disciples Through Sunday School. The questions address how Sunday School can help the church carry out Jesus’ command to His disciples in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20): “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” The question for today is this one:
What if it all was influenced by teachers who were desperate for God in their daily quiet times and life interactions?
There are many ways the life and example of the teacher speak loudly. Attenders dismiss the words of teachers who are not authentic or are living in sin. Like sheep, attenders tend to follow those they trust. When trust has not been built through time spent together, there is more doubt and hesitation. When something has broken the trust, it is difficult to rebuild. Frequently, trust is spelled T-I-M-E and C-A-R-E. Time in class counts, but time spent with sheep during the rest of life counts even more.
The life of the teacher can be positive motivation for disciples. It can encourage them to study more, to be more caring, to apply the truth, to try new things. How the teacher interacts with the class is noticed. What the teacher says about the church, pastor, and his/her family communicates volumes.
But one area which is powerful and vital in the effort to grow disciples is the teacher’s walk with God. Does the teacher spend time with God in prayer and Bible study regularly? It is important for some of that time to be invested in nothing else except a desire for God. Is his/her relationship with God alive and growing? If so, it will spill over in the teaching. It will spill over in casual conversation. It will influence example and life. It will even influence the way sin and mistakes are handled.
The teacher who is desperate for God loves God so much that he/she desires to spend time with Him in prayer and Bible study. And that desire is shared. The desperate teacher draws attenders toward a daily quiet time. He/she talks about it, encourages it, and teaches about it. The teacher raises the expectation and affirms even halting progress. His or her words influence, but the most powerful advertisement for a daily quiet time and growth of disciples is the example of the teacher.
How does a teacher become desperate for God? How does he/she fall more in love with Him? Time spent daily together. Commitment. Making appointments to meet God in Bible study. Reading the Word. Meditating on it. Memorizing it. Applying it. Living it. Journaling it. Trying spiritual disciplines. Finding the best fit of time and method. Keeping it fresh.
From my own experience, I can share that it has much to do with listening to His still small voice. God desires to speak a life-changing Word to us every time we open the Bible. Are you listening? What is He saying?
When I listen and understand that He is speaking to me, it changes the tenor of the experience. I recognize the awesome presence of a BIG God. I recognize the importance and value of His Words to me. I recognize He is speaking to me for a purpose–and that purpose is change. I understand He wants good for me even if the change will bring pain. I know He loves me. And that love is attractive. I want to be with Him. And one of the best ways for me to be with Him is in Bible study and prayer.
Are you desperate for God? Do you want to be? Commit to daily Bible study and prayer. Ask a friend to hold you accountable. Talk about methods. Keep it fresh. Listen to His Word for you. Allow the experience to overflow into your teaching, conversation, and life. Be the change He desires in you. Be bold in pursuit of Him. Be open with your class. Influence attenders to spend time with Him. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!