Jars hold things: coins, buttons, nails, and sometimes pickles. Jars were made to keep them, to keep them from getting scattered or in the case of pickles to preserve them. But the students in your class or not jars…and the seed you bring to your class each week is not for collecting or hoarding. It has another purpose; planting to produce a harvest.
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus explained that the seed was the word of God. A graphic picture, because seed has life in it. That seed has the ability to reproduce itself, when it is planted in good soil. But this seems to be the place that we drift away from the essence of what Jesus was saying. The people in your class are not jars, or seed containers. It’s not enough for them to come to church, collect more seed and go back to life as usual.
I’m not minimizing the power of the seed. The seed of God’s Word is powerful, but it only produces a harvest when it is planted and cultivated in the soil of a person’s heart.
I’m not interested in having shelves filled with labeled seeds or chairs with seed containers. We must discover how to plant God’s Word (seed) in people’s hearts, and then nurture that seed or give them the tools to nurture it, if we are going to see life changing results.
- Pray over the people in your class. Ask God to prepare their hearts. This is really important. Please don’t skip over this suggestion. It’s vital! Vital I say! And that’s not just the spiritual thing to do either! Ask God to drive the truth home by giving them His understanding and revelation by His Spirit.
- What do you want to grow? Be specific: Kindness. People that pray. People that worship.
- Communicate clearly. Be sure they understand the principle. Be concise. Be sure if fits where they are spiritually, emotionally and developmentally. Can you boil the focus of the service into one brief sentence that they can parrot back to you?
- Train them to take notes. Remind them to review their notes when they get home. Pray over their notes.
- Review. Make it fun. You can even make it brief, but review. Next week introduce the lesson by reviewing the lesson from the previous week. Consider spending adequate time on one subject to be sure they get it!! Have them parrot the focus back to you frequently during the service so you know they are listening. Be sure they understand the concept, not just the words.
- Encourage them to tell someone what they learned.
- Give them opportunity to respond to God in prayer. Encourage them to ask God, “What are you saying to me?”
- Use Facebook and your church website to send everyone a review, a concise update or illustration to re-emphasize or illustrate the truth from your class.