Disciplemaking Teachers


The #1 predictor of the growth of any class is the teaching ability of the teacher. Incredible teachers have fast-growing classes. Good teachers have slow-growing classes. Mediocre teachers have plateaued classes. Poor teachers have declining classes. Nothing affects sales like the quality of the product. IPODs don't sell because of marketing or salesmanship. They sell because they are cool. They work. Customers like them. They are a quality product. People like to hear quality teaching. The better the teaching the more likely the growth. The #1 predictor of the growth of any class is the teaching ability of the teacher.

Begin with the end in mind

Stephen Covey taught us to begin with the end in mind. Good teaching starts this way. It begins with defining what we are to create. In the book (also seminar and video series) I define what we are trying to create using a nine-part definition spelling out the word DISCIPLES.

D - Disciplined in daily life.

By this I mean, we are trying to create people who have 300 quiet times a year. That is, on a normal day they spend time in the Word and in prayer.

I - Intimate friendships

We want people with a close relationship with God, but, we also want people with a close relationship with each other.

S - Self-image

We want people to see themselves as God sees them: saints, soldiers, the beloved, the vine, and so forth.

C - Corporate worship

The key word here is worship. We want to create people who love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and communicate that love in worship. We want people to have a stack of worship CDs at home and regularly spend time adoring God.

I - Intimate family life

Bill Hybels says, "We only want three things from our people, 'More, more, more.'" More time. More meetings. More evenings. More. More. More. Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to throw a ball in the backyard with your kid or take your wife out on a date night.

P - Passion for God

We want to create people who not only believe right and behave right, we want to create people who feel right. One of the things we want them to feel is passion. We want them to be obedient to the command of God to, "Never be lacking in zeal." Romans 12.11. The problem with the church today is at this point. We believe right. We behave OK. But, many of us are about half bored with this thing called Christianity. Show me a people who are passionate about their God and I will show you a people who are turning their world upsidedown.

L - Lay Ministry

By this we mean two things: we want them to know their spiritual gift and be ministering in the area of their giftedness. The second is of greater importance.

E - Evangelistic Interest

Regardless of style, we want to create people who pray for, care about, think about the lost. The closer we get to God, the more we find a God who is focused in on the lost sheep. Some people think they are getting closer to God because they attend church and do churchy things but their heart is not getting more and more like the heart of God.

S - Sacrificial Giving

Generosity is core to what it means to be a fully developed follower of Christ.

What has to happen inside the student inside class to create D.I.S.C.I.P.L.E.S.?

Evaluate your students based on the list above. Disciplemaking Teaching is not about making a flashy presentation so much as it is about creating a certain kind of person: disciples.

Next question: what has to happen inside the student inside class to create that kind of person? Here is my list.

We must get and keep their attention.

The #1 problem in the average American Sunday School is boredom. Research shows if you were to take all the people who sleep in church and lay them out, end to end, they would all be a whole lot more comfortable.

The truth must become truth that matters

They must see specifically how this truth relates to their Monday morning.

He must see the benefits of changing and the cost of not changing.

This is the heart of the disciplemaking process. In the long run, people will do what they believe to be in their best interest. It is always in our best interest, in the long run, to do what the Bible requires. The Bible says, "His commands are not burdensome." And, in Deut. 30:15 we are given two choices, life and death: "See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction."  [NIV] If you want life follow God. If you don't, don't.

People fail to live the Christian life because they don't believe it is in their best interest to do so. And, as long as they believe it is not really in their best interest to live the Christian life, they won't do it, not over the long haul.

There is a world of difference between having a quite time because I ought to or I should and coming to understand what they hymn writer had in mind when he wrote the words, "Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer."

Two questions you can ask every week are, "What are the benefits of______________ [whatever this week's topic is]." and "What will it cost me if I don't ________________ [beat worry; attend church, have a quite time, be faithful to my wife, etc.]

He must be held accountable

We have to be careful about this in Sunday School because we want Sunday School to be an open "101" style group. We don't want newcomers to feel intimidated. But, we can do accountability in such a way that does not run off new- comers. And, most people need accountability if they are going to be be consistent in their time with God.

What does the teacher do in class to create D.I.S.C.I.P.L.E.S.?

There are several ways you can teach adults, but the best way is through the use of questions. Questions make class interesting. Questions get everyone involved. Questions create life change. Questions uncover areas that need more teaching. Questions are the best way to teach adults.

I believe in the Question and Answer approach so much that I write two lessons a week based on the question and answer approach. Each lesson consists of 20 - 30 ready-to-use questions. They are based on Lifeway's Explore the Bible and Family Bible Series. I have been doing this for years and for a low monthly subscription, you can have access to all of them. For details, see www.joshhunt.com/vault.htm

How does the teacher do preparation that creates D.I.S.C.I.P.L.E.S.?

Answer: slowly.

Start Sunday night by reading over the next week's passage and praying, "God, what would you have me to present to your people from this passage next Sunday?"

If you really want to be an incredible teacher, look two or three weeks ahead. Let it simmer. Think about it. Pray about it. Talk about it. Let the truth flow through your life.


Doubling classes starts with Disciplemaking Teachers. For more information, consider these four resources:

Disciplemaking Teachers, the book

Disciplemaking Teachers, the video series

Disciplemaking Teachers, the seminar

The Lesson Vault


Dr. Charles Stanley

We recently had the privilege of hosting Josh Hunt for our mid winter Sunday Morning Bible Study leadership conference. The emphasis on investing and building relationships is the key to reaching our society today. Fellowship is premium in a world where we face an epidemic of loneliness. People are looking for more than a "friendly" church. They want a place where they can grow and develop lasting relationships that will assist them in building a biblical foundation for life. If you have not had the opportunity to have Josh Hunt in your church or attend one of his conferences, make plans to involve your leadership. His concepts will make a difference in your thinking about how simple it really is to reach out to people.


Charles F. Stanley
Senior Pastor First Baptist Church Atlanta

The Lesson Vault

Hundreds of ready-to-use lessons available online.
For more information, click here.