Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and ye shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)
Sunday School/Bible study groups provide the best way for us to grow in Christ, and be yoked with Christ. All of us face burdens/challenges in life. We need to recognize how another brother or sister in Christ can help us go further in our spiritual life. I want to suggest to you (though we are yoked with Christ in our relationship), we need another Christian to pray and encourage us for growth to take place.
Let me share an example. Often I hear people say (after a sermon), “God really spoke to me.” They have observed something that God is saying to them that leads to a possible change needed. To act upon that change, they need someone to encourage and pray for them on a regular basis. (Honestly, what I need to say is, “What is God saying to you? What do you need to change? How can I be praying for you about it?” (Since I am often not at my home church and cannot possibly follow up, what they need is someone in their church to be there for them!)
To be yoked is to recognize the need for another (more mature Christian) to walk alongside for encouragement and prayer. We need someone to pray for us, ask good questions and help us flesh out what God is asking us to do. Jesus was talking about oxen and being yoked. Often they would pair a mature disciplined Ox with a younger undisciplined ox. We need a mature Christian to walk alongside us. Here are some suggestions:
1. Develop prayer partners in your class. Encourage each person to find a prayer partner who goes beyond the Sunday morning class. Perhaps they will talk by phone, get together for a meal or find other ways to communicate during the week. On average you have about thirty minutes in Sunday School to hear the Word of God and apply it to life. It is impossible to see life-changing transformation in that time. Another time during the week to flesh it out is imperative.
2. Partner with another class of mature Christians. Suggest to an older class that we need mature Christians to mentor new or young adult Christians. I have seen this done in many ways. You may want to start by having a young adult class visit with an older class. Have the older class share about their commitment to the Church and Christ and how that is fleshed out day to day. Have the mature class come visit the younger class and hear their dreams and aspirations, and get excited about the future.
The millennial generation wants someone older to mentor them. They are looking for skills they don’t have. This is an opportunity to walk alongside, and teach them as well as get a glimpse of their passion for Christ.
3. Have a joint mission project. As I have shared in the past, every Sunday School/Bible study class should have an ongoing mission project. Providing an opportunity for two classes to work together may lead to a more natural way of providing prayer partners and spark passion for both classes.
4. Mentor around skills you offer for other people. Use your skills in your vocation or hobbies to mentor others.
a. If you are a mechanic, have a car maintenance day to help others know how to do the basics. (Take on a high school student, who wants to be a mechanic, as an intern.)
b. If you are a hair stylist, set up a day to give free haircuts and mentor students who want to learn.
The list around job skills and hobbies are endless! Using things you are interested in makes it easier to mentor. As you do so, you can help another on the Christian journey.
The bottom line is we need each other to grow in Christ. Who are you yoked with?