5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5-8 NIV
As I think about this Holy Week and Jesus having his eyes fixed on Jerusalem and a cross, I am reminded that the best way to transform a Sunday School class/small group, church and community is having the mindset of Christ as a servant. Picture the upper room where Jesus met with his disciples one last time for a meal. While the disciples had been arguing over which one was greatest in Jesus’ Kingdom, Jesus recognized there was not a servant to wash the feet of the dinner guests before the meal. (It was customary to have a slave of the host to do this menial task before a meal.) Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist and took a basin of water and did what was needed. Then he challenged the disciples to be servants.
In a day when we would rather have a gavel to judge and make decisions, Jesus wants us to grab a towel and be a servant. Are there things in your class, group, church and community you expect others to do without realizing you could do it? We all have chosen to use the gavel at times, while what was needed was a servant’s role. If we want to transform our Sunday School class/small group (and beyond), it is time to ask, “God, what do you want me to do? How can I serve you today?” So how do we change the mindset of our class?
Begin every class with a prayer, How can I serve you today Lord each day? If we are going to change a mindset, it has to start with us. Make prayer an attitude of asking what God wants instead of just what we want from God. I don’t usually quote a Michael Jackson song in sermons or blogs, but I was impressed with his song, “Man in the Mirror” many years ago.
I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer. If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change.
Develop a spirit of gratitude for what God has done. I have always enjoyed singing the hymn, “Count Your Many Blessings.” When I realize what God has done for me, I can’t help but feel grateful and wonder what I can do for God. As we approach Easter Sunday, there is no better time to rejoice for what God did for us through Jesus’ sacrifice on a cross. When we consider we have been set free from sin and death to eternal life, our perspective should change from self-centeredness to gratitude towards God. Dale Evans, the famous movie star, had wealth and fame, but it wasn’t enough. Her life changed when she discovered Christ, and said, “All of my life I looked for a pot of gold, and I finally found it at the foot of the cross.”
Find ways to involve every class member in serving. Set up care groups, get people to be in charge of service projects for the class, and outreach & fellowship events. People who serve develop a servant’s mindset. Spend a session on spiritual gifts and share a gifts’ inventory for them to take to learn what their gifts are. (I can help you with this piece. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Discover the joy of helping someone less fortunate than you are. It is easy for us to get so tunnel focused on our problems that we miss the less fortunate around us. As we begin serving the less fortunate, we discover joy that sets us free from our anxious filled problems and we find Christ. Matthew 25:40 (NIV) reminds us, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’