Jesus sent us into our world to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20). In Discipling Outcomes from Sunday School, Part 1, I listed fourteen discipling outcomes which have potential to result from Sunday School. In this series thus far, these are the posts with the Sunday School discipling issues addressed in each post:
- Part 2 (biblical knowledge and understanding); Part 3(Christian worldview); Part 4 (spiritual disciplines); Part 5(obedience); Part 6 (life and behavior practices); Part 7(spiritual gifts and church body practices); Part 8 (love of God, neighbor, and self); Part 9 (connection, community, fellowship); Part 10 (leadership training); Part 11 (service); Part 12 (mission and ministry); Part 13 (inviting and sharing Jesus)
In Part 14, I will focus on ways a Sunday School class (or small group) can impact discipling through tithing, stewardship, and money practices. Jesus spoke about these issues often during His ministry. He encouraged using possessions to help the needy: “Sell your possessions and give to the poor” (Luke 12:33, NIV). He pointed out the importance of right attitudes related to our possessions: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34, NIV). And Paul warns, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Tim 6:10, NIV). According to Jesus’ parable of the talents, we will be rewarded or punished according to our stewardship of what has been entrusted to us in meeting needs of others (Matthew 25).
Thus, tithing, stewardship, and money practices are important discipleship issues. How can a class or small group impact discipleship in these areas? Consider these ideas:
- privately ask for testimonies from class members privately and ask some to share timely ones with the class,
- bring in guests to share testimonies in these areas at appropriate times,
- teach lessons and/or series that deal with these discipleship issues,
- offer additional special studies at another time than the regular meeting time about properly handling of money, budgeting, and other personal matters,
- text, email, or tweet to group members verses and questions for consideration as disciples,
- make assignments periodically as side discussions about these issues,
- challenge the group to invest in others,
- give each member $5-10 of your personal money to make a difference in someone’s life, asking for testimonies the following week,
- plan a group project for investing time, talents, and money in the needy,
- lead the group to (1) pray, assess the area they individually struggle in the most (tithing, stewardship, or money practices), (3) develop a plan of action. and (4) report to a prayer and accountability partner every month for six months,
- ask the pastor to make a brief video (8-10 minutes) biblical explanation for the group about tithing,
- and many more.
What would you add to this beginning list? What have you done to challenge your group members to become better disciples in the areas of tithing, stewardship, and money practices? Where could you start this quarter? this month? Where does the group need the most help? Don’t ignore this crucial area of discipleship about which Sunday School or small groups can provide help, encouragement, and support. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!