It’s no secret that words are powerful things. Who ever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” probably ended up seeing a therapist once a week. Everyday, we all have opportunities to speak words that hurt, or words that bring life to those around us. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Words are especially powerful for teachers. This is true for teachers in the academic world, and in the church world. Let’s take a moment and examine the importance of Sunday School small group leaders being intentional about how they use their words.
While the potential for good or harm may not be greater for teachers in church settings, it is certainly unique. The setting and the subject matter are what bring this uniqueness to the situation. People come to church to learn about God, and how God relates to them. How and why God relates to mankind speaks directly to the value of man. Scripture teaches us that God is at work in the world redeeming, rescuing, and restoring people through the power of the Gospel. It also teaches us that God’s plan for accomplishing this work is centered around our willingness to be used by Him, and our faithfulness to act in His name. Our Sunday School lessons should tell that story.
The curriculum we use give us scripture passages and different emphasis each week, but every week we have the opportunity to call people back to the truth that God loves them and that they have a leading part in His redemptive plan for the world. We’ve all been in Sunday School classes that devolved each week into gossip sessions, sharing of opinions on current events, or worse.
My challenge for you this week is this: be intentional about guiding the conversations in your class to stay on God’s message, and speak affirming words of life-giving purpose to those in your class.
Proverbs 12:18 says, “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Don’t you want your classroom to be a place of healing for those who are under your teaching?
Proverbs 15:31,32 speak of the value of a “life-giving rebuke” in a person’s life. Listening to a life-giving lesson leads to wisdom. But the lesson of that passage is that there are also conversations which are so unwise that they end up “life-taking”.
I recently finished a great book by Craig Groeschel called Soul Detox that discusses this and much more about the condition of our hearts. I highly recommend it. Let me leave you with some insight from his chapter on “Lethal Language.”
Creative words create.
Destructive words destroy.
Hurtful words crush.
Helpful words build up.
Toxic words poison.
Soothing words heal.
Faith filled words bring life.
Faithless words bring death.
What will you say this weekend that will intentionally build up your class? What life-giving words will you use? What creative questions will you ask that will reveal God’s handiwork in their lives? What verbal pitfalls do you need to begin now praying to be delivered from?
Each leader in our Sunday School small group ministry means the world to me. You are all world changers. You speak words of life and hope to people every week, and I pray for you every day. Always contact me if I can be there for you, or pray with you about anything.