Sunday School is a great tool for helping the church mobilize God’s people to carry out the Great Commission. One of the ways Sunday School can help the church “make disciples of all nations” is in the area of evangelism. Sunday School is not just about people who are already on the class ministry list. I have talked about this previously.
In a post entitled Growing Sunday School Equals Evangelism, Ministry, and Discipleship, I stated:
Many Sunday Schools…are not focused on reaching out to new people. They are not prepared when new people show up. They do not follow up. They may care about each other. They may minister to one another’s needs. But they don’t really care whether new people come to class or not. They don’t care enough about lost people to invite them to Sunday School or Jesus.
Sunday School can make an eternal difference. In a post entitled Reaching Lost/Unchurched Sheep Through the Sunday School, I stated:
Sunday School is a great tool for mobilizing the church to carry out Jesus’s command. We should be in classes by age groups so we can be responsible for a specific segment of people. Senior adults are best reached by senior adults. Teens are best reached by teens and so on.
Also, new classes tend to be even more evangelistic than existing classes, often growing to 20 in enrollment and 10 in attendance in 12-18 months. And Sunday School helps us share the gospel with lost people even more effectively than worship alone. Statistics by Andy Anderson (The Growth Spiral) show us that only about 1 out of 342 lost people accept a relationship with Jesus through worship alone in 12 months while 1 out of 3 lost people do so through Sunday School. The environment for interaction, questions answered, and personal touch provided through Sunday School enables lost/unchurched sheep to take the next step.
What are ways Sunday School can be evangelistic? How can Sunday School reach out more? How can Sunday School share Jesus more? What could be added or done to add more evangelistic thinking and acting? Don’t limit your thinking to an hour on Sunday morning. Think about how this can be done at church and away, on Sunday and through the week. Think about ways practiced in your setting and community.
In this ten-part series, I want to share 101 ways that Sunday School can be even more intentionally evangelistic. At times, I will simply share ten ideas. Some ideas will be shared with comments while others will be self-explanatory. Because 101 ways are a lot, I will share them in installments by some arbitrary categories: prayer, relational, fellowship, greeting, teaching, lesson/application, follow up, visitation/contacts, testimonies, and ministry/outreach projects. My hope is that these categories and ideas will spur your thinking to help you make plans for your Sunday School to be even more evangelistic!
So the category for today is Prayer. What are ten ways Sunday School can be even more evangelistic through prayer? Consider the following:
- POSTER. Place a large poster listing the names of lost/unchurched people your class is praying for. People like to be prayed for. They don’t mind being on a list. Even when unsaved persons have attended and seen their name on the list, they understand that prayer is a sign of your care and concern. And after they are saved, you cross their name off the list, and they can be excited to see the result s of prayer and God’s work.
- PERSONAL. Pass out an index card of a blank card the size of a business card (that will fit in a wallet) on which members list the names of three lost/unchurched persons they will pray for every day or every week. When one accepts Jesus or joins the class, add another name. Remind class members regularly about this responsibility to keep it important. Share testimonies about it.
- CLASS TIME. Include time before or after every lesson to pray specifically for lost/unchurched people.
- PRAYER SHEET. Develop a class prayer sheet from Sunday morning requests. Include the names of lost/unchurched on the sheet. Print it to share in class.
- EMAIL. The class prayer sheet from #4 can be made into electronic form to be emailed to members, including absentees to encourage prayer during the week for the requests including lost/unchurched people.
- SPECIAL TIME. Set aside a time as a class each month or quarter to pray at length and in depth for lost/unchurched people. This can be in a home, at church, or another location. Divide the time into segments with various needs for prayer for lost/unchurched people. Make sure you pray and not just talk about the needs and people.
- PRAYER LEADER. Enlist a class prayer leader. Ask the prayer leader to keep the class focused monthly on prayer for lost/unchurched people.
- PRAYER PARTNERS. Establish prayer partners. Encourage class members to pray together on Sunday morning and/or through the week with an additional focus on lost/unchurched relationships.
- PRAYER TEAM. Enlist a group within the class who lead the class to stay engaged in praying for and reaching out to lost/unchurched people. Sometimes this can add energy, ideas, and creativity to the work of the class prayer leader because of the synergy of the team.
- LESSON. As a class, pray for the evangelistic impact of every lesson. Pray for members to be witnesses as a result of every encounter with God’s Word.
So check out Part 2 for relational ideas for making Sunday School evangelistic.