The Parable of the Sower and Sunday School
Chad Hall, a MCC Life Coach, at an Advanced Life Coach training in the area of Discipleship and Evangelism showed us this graph and helped us visualize a more intentional way of looking at discipleship. (The invitation and Challenge was added and used in Mike Breen & Steve Cockram’s book, Building a Discipleship Culture.) In their book, discipleship is about High Invitation and High Challenge. Most churches focus on one element to the detriment of the other.
Chad’s diagram is a focus on discipleship from Jesus’ Parable of the Sower that we find in Matthew 13 with two elements: Motivation & Faith Experience. The focus is to coach someone as they recognize where they are on the diagram to move them to good soil and bearing fruit. (After discussing the parable, you may want to explain the graph and ask them to consider where certain Biblical characters would fall at a certain point in their lives.)
For instance, you notice that the “hard path” is low motivation and low faith experience. You may consider the Pharoah’s hard heart as he would refuse to let God’s people go in Moses’ day. Persons in this area are not interested in faith or motivation and will require lots of ministry and showing them God’s love to move them to faith.
In the “rocky soil” we think of new Christians who are excited and passionate, but have very little knowledge and wisdom (perhaps Simon Peter early on). They need a mentor to work with them to develop Faith Experience. Otherwise, they will fall away.
In the soil with “thorns” you may think of persons who have faith experience for many years. They have lost their passion/motivation. (Think Jonah, Job or Peter after his denial of Christ.) These disciples fall into two categories: persons who have become complacent and think being a Christian is simply coming to church and serving occasionally, or persons who were bearing fruit at one time and were hurt by the church in some way. They have become disillusioned.
After discussing where certain Biblical characters are, ask them to consider where they are. If they do not feel that they are in good soil, ask them what it will take to move them there.
As a teacher I am also asking you to be sensitive to where your students are right now. Do individuals need someone to help them grow in their faith experience as a mentor? Do they need someone to encourage them and help them find passion/motivation and find inspiration to serve again (Like Barnabas in Acts did for John Mark)?
The best part of this parable is we are not the one who provides what is most important to bear fruit. God is already doing that! What would have surprised Jesus’ listeners was even good soil could produce a 30/60/100 fold crop. We simply are asked to do our part and the rest is up to God! God is the initiator, sustainer and finisher in the process. Consider another word from Jesus:
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
Unfortunately the graph will not show up in this format. Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you!