Five Ways to Make Disciples, Part 2

This is the second of our five part series on making disciples.

The most overlooked opportunity to enhance disciple making in a local church is through the Sunday School!

For this to happen Sunday School teachers and leaders must see their role as not just “teaching the Bible” but “making disciples.” There is a huge difference between the two.

Sunday School teachers should teach and prepare their lessons with disciple making at the center of their thinking and planning. The challenge here is that we have emphasized and trained a generation of teachers that aim at the cerebral (knowledge) part of teaching and not life or heart transformation (discipleship).

Do we want teachers to just teach the Bible and try to instill content or do we teach for life change? We do a great job teaching the “lesson” but not so well with challenging people to be like Jesus in their daily walk. The truth is we need to do both with excellence. People need to know Bible content but they also need to live out and apply Bible truth.


How do we change the culture of our present Sunday School structure to make this happen? What steps do we take to move leaders in the “making disciples” direction?

Big Idea

Classes should become more focused and intentional in disciple making. For example, tw or three times a year a class could offer a special study to take their members deeper in a discipleship experience. The class could meet at the church or during the regular Wednesday night schedule or in a home. This could be taught by the teacher, a member of the class, or someone the church has trained and equipped to be the facilitator. If the church has a trained disciple making team who specialize in teaching different disciplines of the faith (prayer, sharing your faith, etc.), then they could be utilized.  Again make sure it is life focused with much interaction so we are not just instilling content.

7 ways a Sunday School teacher can encourage discipleship?

  1. Develop teaching plans with the goal of helping class members become disciples.
  2. Be sure to include application in your teaching plan.
  3. Apprise your class of discipleship opportunities outside the class and encourage your class to be small accountability groups inside the class.
  4. Personally disciple someone in the class “one on one” and then have that person disciple someone “one on one” and keep it going…Think Multiplication!
  5. Lead the class to be involved in doing missions and ministry in your community. If your Bible lesson is on helping the poor, volunteer to serve in a local ministry that feeds the hungry. Discipleship is caught more than it is taught so actually doing it leads to life change.
  6. Make sure your class is an “open group” and not a “closed group.” Are new people sought after and welcomed in your class? We can’t make disciples if we don’t reach new people.
  7. Remember that Sunday is the huddle, the game is during the week!

Let’s use the Sunday School to “make disciples!”

Keep the Son, in your eyes,

Mike James

NOTE: My colleague Darryl Wilson has a recent blog on this same topic, check it our at…


  1. Thanks Chris I am getting ready to post another one today. Application is where, as the trucker says, the rubber meets the road. We must do more to help our people see how the passage impacts their lives in very personal and practical ways.

  2. Enjoying this series of posts on making disciples. I think the best point you’ve made so far is that we should “Be sure to include application in your teaching plan.” This is so crucial to making disciples! Looking forward to reading the next three posts.

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