Written by Billy Britt
Published by Lifeway Christian Resources
Transformed lives! That is what Sunday School is all about. In one state almost two-thirds of the Sunday Schools are declining or maintaining. Yet each one of the churches has a Sunday School that does Bible studies.
Why the decline? Many Sunday Schools are merely a time for Bible study. Transformational Sunday Schools focus on transforming lives through obedience to the Great Commission. So, for example, what does a Sunday School look like when it focuses on transforming members?
One example of transformational Sunday School is a men's class in a small town in Georgia. The class operates under a mission statement built around four primary functions:
• Reaching the lost
• Bonding and assimilating members through ministry
• Teaching the Word of God
• Equipping members to serve
The class started four years ago with just a teacher and an outreach leader. Since then the class has seen dozens of men profess Christ as Savior, 80 percent of class members become active in ministry, and multiple teams visiting and ministering weekly. The class even relocated away from the main church to provide space for those yet unreached. The class still grows and men continue to be transformed by this loving and caring class.
A Sunday School class can make a difference in lives if the leaders and members maintain a focus on Bible study, evangelism, assimilation, and ministry involvement.
How can a class maintain focus?
- The teacher or teachers must be committed to lead the class to be transformational. The teacher under the leadership of the pastor and Sunday School director casts the vision for spiritual and numerical growth. This commitment is expressed in practical ways such as making visits. Visits include visiting absentee members, members needing ministry, or evangelistic prospects. The leader should take members along on visits to mentor them through the experience. A leader also displays commitment by occasionally telling the class a fresh testimony of a personal witnessing encounter.
- The class organizes class leaders to meet ministry needs. Adult classes can start with just a few leaders. Consider starting a class with a teacher, a ministry coordinator, and an apprentice. As the class grows class members should be recruited to serve in the areas of visitation-evangelism, care groups, fellowships, prayer, and missions.
- The ministry team needs regular ongoing meetings. At times the team needs to meet with other classes or the larger Sunday School ministry team. Use these meetings to inspire, inform, instruct, and inspect. Few teams grow or improve their ministry without team meetings. Team meetings are most effective if they occur at least monthly.
- Annual goals need to be established. These goals include spiritual, numerical, and organizational goals. Goals help classes focus on their mission and provide a foundation for developing strategies to accomplish the goals. Goals are not unbiblical or unspiritual if they are rooted and grounded in the Great Commission and anointed with prayer.
* Statistics are from Research Services of the Georgia Baptist Convention, http://www.gabaptist.org/.
Dr. Billy Britt is Pastor of Ministries, Hebron Baptist Church, Dacula, Georgia.