A Missing Ingredient: the Importance of Application

By Bev Bradbury. Many times Sunday school teachers may do a great job of finding out what a particular passage means and develop a good lesson outline, but fail by omitting the application.In Micah 6:8 we read, “He has shown you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” We must get our hearts right before God, set our priorities, and model what this passage means.

What are some things we can do with our students to demonstrate mercy and justice and help them put their faith into practice?Let us suppose you are teaching a preschool class about God’s love and ways your class can show His love to others. For the application section, you can:

1) Make pictures for a shut in.

2) Pray for sick relatives, friends, and missionaries.

3) Make encouragement cards. Ask each child what he likes about, or how he would describe, a particular person. Write the words on a card and let the child decorate it with stickers or drawings.

If your primary class is studying Matthew 25 where Jesus tells us we need to minister of hurting people:

1) Make a card or an audiotape in class for a sick friend, classmate, missionary, or prisoner.

2) Pray for sick classmates and relatives.

3) Put a care package together for a missionary family.

4) Visit a nursing home or a shut-in as a class. Sing to the residents. Bring cookies, crafts, or pictures the children have made.

5) Send birthday cards to missionary children.

If middle school students are studying justice and mercy:

1) Interview an older person from the church, ask about their childhood, schooling, family, and when and how they came to faith in Christ. Record it on audio tape and share it with the class. This is a great way to build bonds with some who may feel forgotten. 2) Adopt a grandma or grandpa at the nursing home. Visit with your class, sing choruses, and bring cards and small gifts.

3) Become a servant for a day. Help someone with yard work, clean windows, shovel snow, etc.

4) Deliver a tape of the morning worship service to someone unable to attend.

5) Help in the church nursery.

6) Sponsor an evening at church honoring the senior citizens in your congregation. Provide refreshments and put on a talent show.

7) Go on a mission trip with MTW-IMPACT.

8) Sponsor an orphan from the third world, write to and pray for him or her.

Adult classes could:

1) Provide clothing and food for the needy.

2) Take food or flowers to a sick neighbor. Help with little tasks around the house.

3) Visit nursing homes on a regular basis. Get to know the residents. Give them a hug!

4) Take special baskets to the hospitalized or to shut-ins.

5) Write notes of encouragement to people who are serving the Lord in some way.

6) Provide car tune-ups for widows and single moms.

7) Volunteer in a pregnancy support center.

8) Participate in a prayer chain, so you can be praying regularly for the needs that come along.

I trust that these suggestions have stimulated you. Sometimes the application is the most difficult part of preparation. But without it you haven’t finished the job. James says, “if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does.” (1:23-25)

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