“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”Matthew 28:19
Robert Fulghum learned his life lessons in kindergarten. I learned mine in Sunday School:
- If you forget your Bible, act like you already memorized the Scripture passage for the lesson.
- If everyone is sharing their favorite Bible verse, at some point interrupt someone and say, “Rats. She said my verse.”
- Eat as many donuts as you please. Sunday School donuts don’t have calories.
- If you accidentally fall asleep, when you awake and raise your head, say a loud “Amen.”
- If your teacher gets long-winded, start shaking and tapping your watch as if it stopped.
If you think I am exaggerating, think again. However, there are even more valuable lessons I learned through my years in Sunday School. They are from the many wonderful layperson Sunday School teachers I had at First Baptist Dallas. Through faithful teachers, I learned:
Training: How to live a life pleasing to God
Example: How to demonstrate God’s love to others
Apologetics: How to defend Bible doctrines to critics and inquirers
Creativity: How to imaginatively teach Bible truths to others
Hermeneutics: How to interpret and understand the Bible
Evangelism: How to share the gospel with a non-Christian
Relevance: How to apply Bible doctrines
Sanctification: How to grow in Christlikeness
Jesus’ marching orders for us in the Great Commission are: “As you are going, make disciples…” (Matt. 28:19a). That important process starts with evangelism and continues with discipleship. At First Dallas, we accomplish both God-given tasks in Sunday School, and our best witnesses and disciplers are laypeople. Through the years, God has used laypeople of all kinds to disciple me in Sunday School: homemakers, salespeople, lawyers, retail workers, coaches, businesspersons, bankers, IT personnel, and many others.
How about you? Is God calling you to be a Sunday School teacher? We always need more teachers in this ever-growing ministry. You do not have to be an expert or scholar. You just need to be a willing layperson who is ready for God to use you to make a significant impact in the lives of your Sunday School class.
However, if God is not calling you to be a teacher, there is still much you can do. Pray for your teacher, study your weekly lesson, participate in the class, and volunteer to do class ministry.
Dr. Jim Wicker
First Dallas Sunday School Teacher
Dr. Jim Wicker is a Professor of the New Testament at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He teaches the Wicker Sunday School class, the Wicker Bible Study on Wednesday nights, and a Discipleship University class. He is the Vice-Chairman of Deacons. His wife, Dana, teaches at Discipleship University and is involved in many church ministries.