In Part 1, I emphasized that this blog is an attempt to challenge the status quo in Sunday School. It is about raising expectations, giving God our best efforts, doing things right, building a strong foundation, and making Sunday School effective, life-changing, and revolutionary! Then I mentioned that the building blocks of Sunday School are the individual classes, teachers, and leaders. It takes revolutionary Sunday School directors, pastors, teachers, and leaders to make Sunday School and individual classes strong.
That is why in Part 1 and Part 2 I began sharing eleven building blocks suggested by Paul Hata in an article entitled How to Build and Grow a Strong Church. I have shared the first eight of Hata’s “methods you can use to build and grow a strong church.” In Part 3,I will share the final three of Hata’s eleven building blocks [applied to the Sunday School class] in all capitals each followed by my commentary:
- [TEACH] TO GET RESULTS. Again, Hata is applying his article to the church as a whole and directing it to preachers. What he says applies to teachers: “When you preach a sermon on tithing, expect people to start tithing….Always expect additions and conversions in the services. Preach to get results!” That is so true in Sunday School. We don’t see life change because we are not teaching and expecting it to happen. Build your lessons expecting results. Get learners involved. Set up accountability structures. Allow time for learners to reflect on the truth and make plans for how they will apply it to their lives. Then, check on progress. Ask for stories about (testimonies of) how they applied the truth of last week’s lesson. Teachers, help learners know you are serious about obedience to His Word and growing together to be the people God desires; then, teach in such a way as to get what you are expect!
- GIVE YOUR MEMBERS TIME AT HOME. Your class will be stronger if your members’ marriages and families are stronger. While it is essential that you encourage your members to serve to help build up the church, it is also easy to get so busy with class and church activity that your members spend more time with each other than with their families. Avoid overscheduling. Balance class activities between some with and some without the family (and make sure those with the fellowship has some family activities rather than separating the children during the whole event). Help them to set prioritize. Teacher,your obvious concern for their marriages and families will raise their attention to this matter and increase their appreciation of you as a teacher!
- DO NOT WEAR OUT YOUR MEMBERS. When a meeting is not needed, cancel it. Make sure you are not so busy with class business that you take up all of your members’ time when some of it is needed for impacting their community and world. Help them to set aside regular time to invest in developing relationships with lost people. Encourage them to invite guests to class and fellowship activities. Teach them to slow down to minister to needy people. Get them involved in outreach and ministry projects, personally and corporately. Don’t teach so much that they have no time to absorb and apply it. Teacher, keep their motivation and energy high to carry out God’s work!
Now, evaluate your class. Want to ma ke it even stronger this year? Check out Part 1 and Part 2 for the previous eight building blocks. Circle one building block in each part of this series. Then number the three circled building blocks in order of priority for your class. Begin focusing on the most important building block right away. Give it attention until enough progress has been made that you can begin work on number two. Build a strong Sunday School class. Be revolutionary!