I am part of a group that performs assessments on church activities and ministries to help them become or remain healthy. It is apparent that many churches have only one outlet for small groups and discipleship; and that is Sunday School.
So, is it possible for a Sunday School leader-teacher to disciple the members of his/her class? I say “yes!” If you understand the disciple steps – know your members well – keep track of their growth and help them connect to learning opportunities in and around your church ministry, you can help disciple your Sunday School class members.
1. Understand Disciple Steps. What disciple steps do you want them to learn? Conversion, baptism, daily devotions, daily prayer, ministry, service, fruit of the Spirit, witness, sharing testimony, giving. Make a list of eight to ten steps your church can teach or help a new disciple learn.
2. Know the Members. You may already know many of your class members who have crossed these learning goals. Some have come to faith and been baptized, they may have learned to share their faith and are witnesses in life. However, there may be a step or two they have not taken. You will know this as you share life with your members. Do they tithe or give their offerings to God? Are they hospitable? Can you see the fruit of the Spirit in their life? Keep track of their progress on a small table card in your Bible or on your smartphone contact comments field. What do you know about them? What is evident in their lives? What do their words reveal about their Christian walk?
3. Discover Steps They Need. When you discover a disciple step that a member needs to take – you can help connect them to a class, ministry, or opportunity in your church that will help them learn and grow. If they have learned about sharing their witness – help connect them to a visiting team where they can gain experience in sharing their testimony and faith. If they have studied Spiritual Gifting – now help them find a ministry in which they can exercise that gift.
Don’t bite off too much at first. You don’t need to teach and cover everything there is for disciples to learn. The Holy Spirit will help with that. Choose eight to ten steps you can do well to help them grow to the next level and begin to learn
and feed themselves.
Every church has the same command and task from the Lord – to “Make Disciples!” (Matt. 28:18) Some do it well and many hope it works by default in their church participation. Disciples are rarely made on accident. Usually it happens by design and hard work. You can make disciples in your Sunday School Class.
“Discipleship – It’s all we do.”