I went to bed last night thinking about what our Savior has done for us. And my thoughts turned to the power that revolutionary Sunday School has to lead people to Jesus and to transformed lives. And an equation came to my mind:
D + C = TL.
Simply stated, this Sunday School equation is “Discipling + Caring = Transformed Lives.” I thought of many variations of this equation before my mind turned off last night. I thought of D + F + M + E + W = TL (Discipleship + Fellowship + Ministry + Evangelism + Worship = Transformed Lives), but I decided that the simple equation included all five of the purposes of the church. Let me explain:
DISCIPLING. First, when a class and attenders to a class are discipling, they are also learning. They seek to meet God in personal and corporate prayer, Bible study, and worship. Their relationship with God is a priority. They implement spiritual disciplines that enable them to stay on track in their relationship with God. A class and attenders who are discipling are real, honest, confessional, and transparent. They realize they are not perfect and have not arrived but need to continue to seek to be discipled and disciplined. Accountability and encouragement are desired.
Second, they are also intentional about investing what God has given them in others. They seek out persons to mentor, coach, and disciple. They look for teachable moments to share a witness and a word from God. They are aware of people around them in their concentric circles of relationships with whom they might be an encouraging influence. Like Jesus, they invest the most in one to three people and encourage them to do the same.
They take seriously Paul’s admonition in 2 Timothy 2:2 (NIV): “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” They invest in others who will invest in others.
CARING. This begins with a love for God made possible through what Jesus did for us on the cross. This begins with a love for those Jesus loved. Not all of them are already in the sheep pen (John 10:16). The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few (Matthew 9:37). This begins out of their love for Him when they respond in love and care to those along life’s paths. Their words and actions matter. It is living out of the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It is having love and doing love (1 Corinthians 13).
This means they invest in relationships with people who are unchurched and not Christ-followers. This means they develop relationships with them in life’s interactions, over coffee or a meal, in class fellowships, and in class. This means they do more than make them their “projects.” Instead, they really care. Caring classes and attenders seek to know them and respond in love to needs discovered. They live the Christ-life in front of them.
In addition to loving and caring for people not in the sheep pen, caring classes and attenders also encourage those who are in the sheep pen. They notice when people are not in class or at fellowships. They respond in care, concern, and love. They seek to meet needs discovered there too.
When Sunday School is discipling and caring, lives are changed–those touched and those who are discipling and caring! In other words, part of being transformational is being transformed ourselves in the effort to disciple and care for others. We grow when we go. We grow and are changed when we disciple others. We grow and are transformed when we care for others.
What can you do to this week to grow by discipling and caring? How could you lead your class to do the same? Stop thinking about it and d o it! Invest in one person. Begin now. Be discipled. Disciple another. Care for Him. Care for another. Care for each other. Be transformed. Be revolutionary!