Jesus sent us into our community and world to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20). Sunday School can have even greater impact upon lives and this discipling effort. 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)
In Part 8, I will focus on ways a Sunday School class (or small group) can impact discipling through love of God, neighbor, and self. Serving others in Jesus’ name is a natural expression of exposure to God’s Word and growth as a disciple. In response to people in need (hunger, thirst, homeless, sickness, prison, without clothes), it is important to remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:40 (HCSB): “I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.”
How can a Sunday School class encourage the growth of disciples by addressing the needs of people? Consider the following individual and class ideas as idea starters:
- regularly ask your neighbors for prayer requests (and make sure you are responsive)
- become a regular at one or more restaurant, coffee shop, or store in order to develop a relationship with one or more employees (serve as the volunteer chaplain)
- take cold bottled water to the children’s soccer field (perhaps with label with prayer request number and invitation to join a group)
- volunteer to serve in a soup kitchen, food and/or clothing pantry, homeless shelter, or other organization
- consider doing the Love Dare as a class (for ideas, check out Sunday School: Take the Love Dare)
- launch a Bible study or discipleship group in a jail or prison
- develop a newcomers ministry to welcome new people in your community
- work with ministries like Samaritans Purse’s Operation Christmas Child, Salvation Army’s Christmas Angel Tree, or others to minister to poor children, homeless, and children of prisoners
- establish a ministry for widows and widowers
- set up a single parent free oil change
- consider a thanksgiving ministry project (for ideas, check out Thanksgiving Sunday School Class Ministry Projects)
When your class responds to the needs of people, it gives them a outlet for practicing God’s love and possibly for practicing what they have been learning in Bible study lessons. One way to encourage this is to enlist a class service or ministry leader who will seek to get every person involved in serving in some way during the year. A class can also adopt one or more ministries to provide ongoing care and help. This can be attractive to those looking for a class, but more importantly can also touch lives in Jesus’ name.
What would you add to this list? Lead your class to discover and mobilize in serving others. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!