I remember getting a call from my wife who wanted to meet in the food court of the mall to eat. I arrived on time and waited and waited and waited. This was a few years ago before I had a cell phone, so I could not call her or text her. Finally I began to wonder if I was at the wrong mall. As it turned out, her assumption and mine were different. As a result, we were unable to meet and eat together.
Sadly, a similar experience impacts far too many Sunday School classes each week. God desires to meet with the teacher (and class members) during the week. This meeting (encounter with God) will change the life of the teacher/member and prepare him/her for class time on Sunday. But because the meeting (encounter) is missed during the week, the desired result of God’s impact upon the lesson is missed as well. Instead of the teacher leading the class to encounter God on Sunday, frequently all the teacher can muster is a lesson about the assigned passage of the Bible. That is a huge difference!
An encounter with God, like meeting my wife, requires a few important essentials:
- an established time and place,
- an open, listening attitude (for the still small voice), and
- clear two-way communication.
TIME AND PLACE. Yes, we are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). But a regular time for a teacher or class member to enter an encounter with God ensures that other life events don’t crowd out the appointment. An established time and place also demonstrate the importance of the meeting with God.
ATTITUDE. Enter the time with expectancy. Recognize that He is God. Listen carefully for His voice, for His message to you. Seek to understand. Be willing to learn, apply the truth, and change as needed. Listen first for what God is saying to you and about you before thinking about the class.
TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION. When God speaks, He expects a response. Sometimes the response is verbal. In other words, when He speaks, He expects a prayer response. Often that prayer response is agreement, conviction, and determination. Sometimes it may be recognition of His awesomeness and sovereignty. Sometimes the response may focus on change of attitude, direction, or action.
When the teacher misses the meeting with God during the week, the class misses the meeting on Sunday. Instead of an encounter with God in His Word happening, only a lesson about the Bible happens. The class needs the power to change lives that comes from meeting God. One way class members can ensure an encounter is by spending time with God in His Word through the week as well.
Teacher, others are depending on you. Don’t miss the meeting even one more time. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!
Check out my book, Disciple-Making Encounters, for more on encountering God in preparation and presentation.