Adding names or multiplying disciples?

September 23, 2016

Sometimes Sunday School leaders are focused on two things: how to get visitors and how to make them members. But, are these the right goals?

Last week’s blog post revealed “the most important Sunday School question” is “why?”. If “why?” doesn’t lead you to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), you should probably linger a little longer in phase one.

In his TED Talk on “The Golden Circle” Simon Sinek says 10 percent of those who view your product will automatically buy it. He adds, “you can trip over 10 percent.”

In other words, history shows that 10 percent of those who visit your Sunday School will join. But what does this have to do with the gospel? Absolutely nothing! When we are focused on numbers, we are distracted from the gospel.

There is a difference between increasing Sunday School membership and multiplying disciples.

There is a difference between increasing Sunday School membership and multiplying disciples. A shampoo commercial from the 1970s disclosed the secret of their success: “I told two friends about it. And they told two friends. And so on, and so on and so on.” Sounds simple, but have you tried it?

The first step is to invest in people by intentionally reaching out to them. This Sunday, pray for God to show you two people He would like for you to contact. Jesus called 12 disciples but made a deep investment in Peter, James and John. Start with a phone call and follow up with plans to meet for coffee or dinner.

Real relationship happens outside of Sunday School. When relationships are formed outside of class, the Sunday School hour will naturally become deeper and richer.

Your flesh will say you are too busy to get involved with other people. After all, you are maxed out between work, family and church responsibilities. But when we look at the life of Christ, He intentionally met with individuals, so we should too.

Finally, don’t be afraid to be real with people. Since the Garden of Eden, no one has lived a perfect, stress-free life. When people see you lean into Christ in the midst of struggle, they will see the gospel in action.

When you do life with people—as opposed to a one-hour-per-week surface encounter—expect to pray for or talk with your new friends when it’s not convenient. Jesus’ ministry lasted only three years. He didn’t have a car, computer or cell phone. Yet, He always seemed to have time for people. He met with Nicodemus after hours.

Multiplication of disciples is more than names on a Sunday School roll. It’s like compound interest as you invest in the lives of others. If you are in Christ, your heritage can be traced back to 11 disciples and ultimately Jesus Christ Himself. Start small and trust the Holy Spirit to multiply disciples.

by Terri Howell  
/  Disciple-Making Team  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

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