There are many factors that impact whether Sunday School will grow or not. Some of these include the following:
- Is God at work?
- Have you joined your hearts in prayer seeking God’s direction?
- Are you regularly starting new classes?
- Have you implemented a system of outreach and follow up?
- Are processes in place to assimilate and care for guests and members?
- Is there space to grow?
- Have goals been set and pursued?
- And so many more!
As I think about it on this plane bound for Houston to attend the annual meeting of Baptist Association of Christian Educators, I realize there is another significant missing in many of churches: desire. Does someone in your church want Sunday School to grow? My definition of leadership is taking a person or group where they need to go. But this begins with a leader who has a desire to see movement, to see change, to realize a desire to be or do something different. This begins with a leader who is willing to pursue it no matter what.
Do you as a pastor, a Sunday School director, or teacher want Sunday School to grow? Do you really? How much do you want it to grow? Why? Is your desire for legitimate reasons? Do you desire growth just to be bigger? Do you desire growth simply for ego strokes? Or do you desire growth because you want more people to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord? You want more people to study God’s Word and live obedient lives?
What would you be willing to do to bring it about? How strong is your desire? Are you willing to be unpopular? Are you willing to be inconvenienced? Are you willing to work long and hard? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to reach, teach, and care for men, women, boys, and girls? How can you communicate that desire so that the person or group will follow? If they don’t follow, you haven’t led! If your passion, your desire, does not motivate and produce results, have you led? Share your passion. Bring them along!
I talked to a pastor last night about his lack of congregational response to new ideas he had shared. To sum up the conversation, he said that after five years there as pastor only one of his ideas had met with any measure of successful adoption by the congregation. He wanted to know what to do. Wow, that is a challenge! My answer was to continue to be faithful in his leadership. To pray. To share his ideas with one person. Start small. Build on it. Grow it strong. To stop sharing his sense of God’s leadership for the congregation would be wrong. He may need to find another church family to lead, but he was not giving up even though he was in his seventies. That is inspiring!
I have a deep, abiding passion for our Lord and for His marching orders for us. I believe Sunday School is one of the most effective ways we have found for carrying out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). That means I have a great passion for Sunday School. And I believe that more passion is needed in our Sunday School work. We need to share it. We need to lead from it. We need to work through or around the obstacles. We must never give up! People need the Lord. Our Sunday School work can make a difference. Lead with a passion! Be revolutionary!