I have been in meetings today with some of my peers from other states. We have been talking about Sunday School, disciple-making, churches, educational space, and evangelism. They have made me think all day long. They offered ideas, questions, and issues throughout the morning and afternoon that made the trip worth the time and effort.
One of the issues of our discussion was whether our focus is misplaced in Sunday School on group progress rather than upon individual discipleship progress. Is it possible for Sunday School classes to hold individuals accountable for spiritual growth and practical, daily implementation in life and service? Or is growth as a disciple predicated upon the individual’s desire to grow? Should we celebrate God’s work in lives while at the same time working as a class on what groups can do?
I really don’t believe it is either/or. I believe we need to do both. Unfortunately, there seldom is a person in charge in the class who is focused upon individual growth of each disciple. The teacher tends to be focused upon helping the group make progress. Yes, lessons should be prepared with individuals and their needs in mind, but seldom is the teacher able to focus on seeing the end result in one life. Without concrete leadership, focus, and attention, progress is often hit-or-miss and frequently accidental.
I think all new Christians need someone assigned to them to encourage them as they begin to learn how to live for our Lord daily. This “Encourager” would lovingly check up on the new Christian. Are they reading God’s Word daily? Are they praying? Do they understand what they are learning? Do they have questions about how to live out the Christ-life? Do they understand the privilege we have of stewardship and of tithing? But honestly I also believe that every Christian could benefit from a mentor/accountability partner.
My bottom-line concern from the day is this: what can we do to make our Sunday School classes (individuals and groups) thirsty? We have all heard that you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. I don’t know whether the addendum I have heard is true or not: you cannot make a horse drink, but you can feed him salt. What can we do to help men, women, boys, and girls more hungry and thirsty for God and for understanding His will and ways? What can we do to make them seek Him in personal and corporate Bible study and prayer? What can we do in Sunday School to make them eager to share about God with others? Press the Comments button below and share your thoughts and questions.
We must stop giving them a sense of satisfying the hunger/thirst by merely attending a group session that meets on Sunday (or another other day of the week). God wants a daily relationship with each disciple that is real and personal (Blackaby). What can Sunday School do to facilitate that relationship? Make disciples thirtsy. Be revolutionary!