In Part 1, I shared personal quiet time insight from Mark 6:30 (NIV): “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.” Jesus has sent out the Twelve “two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits” (Mark 6:7, NIV). He instructed them and sent them out. Here is what I saw that I had missed before. Jesus had a four-step discipleship process:
INSTRUCTING: Jesus instructed them.
SENDING: He sent them out to practice what was taught.
APPLYING: They applied what was taught.
REPORTING: They “gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.”
These steps are simple but effective for transformational discipleship through Sunday School. In this four-part series, I have set the steps into the context of the youth or adult Sunday School class.In Part 1, I shared the first step: instructing. In Part 2, I examined the second step: sending. In Part 3, I will look at step three: applying.
APPLYING. Instructing enables attenders to use what is learned. Sending raises retention, increases attention, and leads to application questions because learners know they’re being sent to use what was learned.
Applying is what learners were “instructed” to do. It is what they were “sent” to accomplish. It is the goal of what was learned: to put the learning into practice. It is to put into effect what was learned about everything Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:20a, NIV). It is setting it into the context of today, of my life and your life. In other words, it is living out the truth.
Knowing that learners are going to be asked to live out the truth, they are led (1) to examine (during instructing) the original context and message, (2) to seek to understand its impact and meaning for them, (3) to own and commit to obey, and (4) to seek how He desires them to respond. Then they are sent to do it. Applying is doing the truth.
In applying, transformation into His disciples continues. It is obeying His commands out of our love for Him (John 15:10). It is feeding His sheep in response to Jesus asking if we love Him (John 21:17). In short, it is doing what Jesus’ life and words “instruct” us to do.
In Part 4, we will look at reporting, a key (often-forgotten) discipleship step. In the meantime, what can you do to lead your attenders to apply what they learned during the week? How can you introduce applying in order to create a willingness to risk it? Instruct. Send. Apply. Be revolutionary!