In Part 1, I shared that our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, sent us out with these instructions: “make disciples of all nations baptizing them…and teaching them to obey everything I [Jesus] have commanded you.” I stated that teaching them to obey is significantly different than teaching them to know. And the measure of our teaching is whether group members are acting more like Jesus. Are they obeying everything Jesus commanded?
In order to determine whether they are obeying Him, I suggested two critical teaching adjustments: (1) to ask them about what they did as a result of last week’s lesson and (2) prepare them for that question. Part 1 focused on the second critical practice of personal planning and preparation to ask that question. Life-changing preparation must happen first.
In Part 2, I will focus even further on preparing the group for that question. Not only do you need to be prepared. You want them to know you are serious when you ask them what they did as a result of last week’s lesson. Here are some practices that can reinforce your hope for them:
- talk about the shift in practice before doing so (the previous two weeks),
- illustrate the practice with today’s lesson (share how the lesson would have ended and what you might have said next week related to this week’s lesson),
- brainstorm follow up questions you might be able to ask about this week’s lesson to help check on personal application of God’s Word,
- plan to allow enough time at the end of the lesson to focus on application and commitment to obey,
- lead them in a prayer that God will help them obey the lesson’s truth during the coming week,
- ask group members to write down what they believe God wants them to do as a result of the lesson (on two index cards, mail one of them on Monday as a reminder)
- send an email or text to group members (or call them) reminding them about their commitment, and
- at the beginning of next week’s lesson, follow up by asking what they did to live out the truth of last week’s lesson.
I am sure you can add many other practices to this list. The point is to prepare your group to share what happened when they sought to obey. What did they discern God wanted them (listen) to do as a result of having met him in Bible study? What did they decide to do (commitment) last week? And what did they do (accountability) as a result of what God wanted?
Preparing yourself to ask and preparing them to respond can shift the teaching practice toward obedience. And at the same time, that shift leads them to look at every Bible study (quiet time, lessons, sermons, etc.) as designed to prepare them for life-change. What will you do this week to adjust your teaching to encourage obedience? For more help, check out my book, Disciple-Making Encounters.