Over the years, I have encountered many leaders who have low or no expectations for Sunday School. They doubt that Sunday School accomplishes anything. They don’t believe that teachers and classes will be willing to do any more than they are currently doing. Frequently the only two areas where these “doubting” leaders see even a glimmer of work done in Sunday School are in Bible knowledge and fellowship.
This blog is about the fact that Sunday School can do more. It is about the impact of higher expectations. It is about raising vision and effort. It is about prayerfully evaluating and setting goals and then pursuing those goals with all our hearts. It is about joining God in pursuit of the Great Commission. I not only believe Sunday School can do more, I have seen it!
One of those areas where Sunday School can work at a higher level is in disciple making. What is disciple making? I like a definition offered by Bruce Raley in an article entitled The Process of Making Disciples. In the article he offers this definition: “Disciple making is a process that guides people to be transformed into Christlikeness so they think and act like Christ.”
What can Sunday School do to “guide people to be transformed into Christlikeness so they think and act like Christ?” There are many contributions that Sunday School makes or can make. Consider the following:
- Bible knowledge and understanding
- daily quiet time
- lesson preparation
- encouragement to apply God’s Word
- help in correctly handling the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
- sharing prayer requests
- help in knowing how to pray privately and corporately
- opportunity to discuss and move to deeper understanding of God’s Word
- encouragement to find a place of service (in the class, church, or community) to live out God’s Word
- accountability to keep commitments
- recognizing the Lord’s presence (Matthew 18:20)
- reminder to open our eyes to the harvest
- mobilization to reach out in love and concern to each other and to those not enrolled in the class
- encouragement to try spiritual disciplines (memorization, gratitude, Sabbath rest, journaling, silence and solitude, meditation, devotional reading, fasting, prayer partners, prayer walking, and so many more)
- small group work in class for personal examination of God’s Word
- requests by the teacher for lesson help by one or more of the members
- homework assignments
- teacher personal encounter with God and lesson preparation
- teacher training
- worker training
teacher apprenticing efforts
encouragement to tithe
class encouragement to participate in a discipleship study personally and as a group
read the Bible through emphases
efforts to encourage family devotions
and so many more!
What would you add to this list? Press Comments button below to share your ideas. Go back through the list. How is your Sunday School doing in contributing toward disciple making in your church? There are 25 items on the list. Give yourself 4 points for every action practiced in your Sunday School. What was your score? If you scored 75+, you are making great strides in making disciples. If you scored 50-74, you are doing some things well but need to focus a bit more in some areas. If you scored below 50, begin now to pray and identify beginning steps for strengthening your disciple making efforts. Don’t be mediocre. Be revolutionary!