The Great Commission, Sunday School & Small Groups

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20 NIV)

I have mentioned on more than one occasion that teachers are missionaries and disciple-makers!  The truth is all Christians are! We can bless others as we disciple. Here are a few thoughts:

Your words of encouragement and challenge matter. 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29 NIV)

From preschoolers to senior adults, you have the power to speak life and hope into others’ lives. You can help each person to see they were created for more. You can encourage them, and speak truth to them in love.

Years ago, I had a young man who had left the church. I went to visit him (He had long hair and an earring.) I treated him with respect, love and grace. He had grown up in the church I served but stopped coming after age eighteen. To my surprise, he showed up one Sunday. During our time of greeting, several came by to talk to him. He left after the service before I had a chance to talk with him. I called him that afternoon and asked him what he thought. This was his reply…”Tony, I enjoyed the service, but won’t be back.” I asked him why. His response: “I had several come by that taught me about God’s love as a child. Instead of asking how I am, or telling me that they missed me and loved me, they asked: “Why do you have an earring? It looks like you need a haircut.” Their words said it all.

Let your life speak as loud as your words! You are to set the example in how to live hope/grace filled lives. Be vulnerable, but don’t bleed all over them. What do I mean? They need to see your humanity, but don’t allow negativity from your life to be the main focus. Help them to see the times you struggle, but always bring them around to hope for the future.

Let your actions speak louder than your words! Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (I John 3:18 NIV) It is not enough just to talk to your class members during class. They need to see you care. How are you showing care throughout the week? Email me at and I will share some ideas. Weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice as Romans 12 states. Do something for them, instead of just teaching in the classroom. You may discover your actions taught them much more!


About tonystopic

Seeker and connector to the abundant life as a husband (to Katrina), father (to Tara & Joseph) and Field Strategist/Sunday School Specialist for the Virginia Baptist Mission Board.
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