Sunday School provides the opportunity to teach people the Bible. Without people, there is no Sunday School. Naturally, therefore, groups offer community, but Sunday School is more than a party. Sunday School involves community with life-change.
Community with Life-Change
Allow me to offer a couple of definitions. What is community? In the case of Sunday School, community is a group sharing life and Bible study experiences together. Community is the relationships in which life-change takes place. What is life-change? Simply stated, life-change is meeting God in Bible study with a willingness to adjust our lives to Him.
When a group gathers and opens God’s Word, God speaks through His Word. But this does not happen by accident. Community and life-change begin during the week prior when the group leader opens the Bible, listens to God, and adjusts his/her life. Then out of the overflow of that relationship, the leader prepares a lesson leading group participants to meet God in Bible study and be changed.
Group members become cheerleaders for each other. They want to help each other keep commitments made to God from meeting Him in Bible study. When Bible study experiences take place in community, care and encouragement are natural. There is greater likelihood that spiritual progress will occur, and daily time in Bible study and prayer is more common.
Don’t Settle for Either/Or
Too many groups settle for less than relationships with life-change. They accept community and a lesson, but they don’t seek life-change. Or they seek life-change in a vacuum of community. Both are possible and preferable together.
In order to seek both, on which one do you need to give a little more attention this year? Make this a matter of community prayer. Ask for help. Doing so will increase interest, trust, and community–even if the focus is on changed lives.
Open God’s Word. As leaders, meet Him in Bible study and prepare lessons that lead your group to do the same. Nurture an environment where care, transparency, and honesty are present and where group members are champions for each other. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!