How does Sunday School fit into our discipleship strategy?

We have a discipleship strategy?!  I thought Sunday School was the discipleship strategy?!  That’s what we have Discipleship Training classes for, right?

Those are some of the responses I might expect to get when asking questions about our discipleship strategy.   But there’s so much more to know! We haven’t talked a lot about a discipleship strategy because we have only recently begun to develop a clear way to communicate it.  One of the most important steps in that process has been the development of our church’s purpose phrase.  “Worshiping God, Strengthening Families, Changing Lives” is more than just a slogan at PSBC, its our plan for spiritual growth and health. We want to see people coming together to worship, getting connected to the family through small groups, and involved in life changing ministry. I love the vision of our church!

This is our discipleship strategy, and it’s a bible based plan for building disciples who value the  things that Jesus values.

Jesus  tells us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul, mind, and spirit.”  We are committed to worshiping God .

Jesus tells us to “Love our neighbors as ourselves.” We are committed to loving each other by strengthening the family at PSBC.  

Jesus tells us to “Go and make disciples of all nations…”  We are committed to changing lives through missions and ministry.

Step 1: Most people have their fist experience with a church by visiting the worship service.  If it’s friendly, inviting, and they sense the presence of God, they keep coming.  But there’s a next step that they need to take.

Step 2: The next step involves getting connected to the family (the church family).  The best way to do that is through Sunday School.  This may happen after a guest enjoys some of our family friendly events or programs (TeamKid, VBS, Fall Festival Outreach, Wednesday Night Suppers, etc), but  Sunday School is the next destination.  I think it’s also important to note that Discipleship Training classes fit here as well.  The difference is that SS classes are open and ongoing, while adult DT classes are short term and usually require signing up.   I love the analogy that the church is a family of families, and Sunday School is the living room.  It’s where the family enjoys life together. But that’s not it, there’s still a next step! (this is why we will start highlighting local missions and ministry opportunities for your SS classes at our leadership meetings)

Step 3: Bible study and family fellowship are not the end goal.  We grow in our faith and knowledge and support of one another for the purpose of reaching out and serving others.  After making worship a priority, and connecting to others in small group bible study, we must reach out and draw  others in through ministry and missions.

That’s where the process starts all over again for someone new.  They visit worship because someone reached out through service and invited them, they join a small group, and then they get involved in service for themselves.  It goes on and on and the Kingdom of God keeps growing.

If someone is coming to worship and serving in a ministry, but they aren’t connected to a Sunday School class; something important is missing.  If someone is coming to worship and Sunday School but isn’t involved in ministry or missions; then something important is missing.  If  someone is in Sunday School and is serving in a ministry, but never comes to worship; something important is missing.  Any of these points COULD be an entry point for someone into the church, but knowing the next step is crucial. See how it works?

Every event or program at our church should fit into this strategy.  Every event or program should point to a next step.

A church of people who are worshiping, connected in Sunday School, and involved in missions and ministry is a dynamic church full of healthy Christians.  That’s our discipleship strategy, and Sunday School is at the heart of it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Share them in the comment field below, or on facebook at

See you tomorrow (Wednesday) night at 7 for the Sunday School leadership meeting!

(We will also have our monthly Department Director’s meeting this Sunday at 5.)

Categories: Keeps People Connected, Organized to Serve, Reaches Out to New People, Studies God's Word Together, Sunday School, Wants to Grow | Leave a comment

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