My friend, Jim Gifford, recently accepted the call to serve First Baptist Church, Clinton, Mississippi, as their Minister of Education/Administration after having served well as the state Sunday School Director for the Louisiana Baptist Convention for a number of years. On the convention website, he referenced the popular television series, Extreme Makeover, and churches who are taking a radically different approach to Sunday School. Revolutionary Sunday School demands an extreme makeover.
What are the changes necessary for Sunday School to be effective in the twenty-first century? I am firmly convinced that there are some basics that worked well in the 1920s and 1950s and will work today. It would not be a makeover if there were not some parts you wanted to keep. On the other hand, I am just as firmly convinced that much must change. A few of these areas include teaching, working for life-change, reaching, when and where to meet, apprentice and new class multiplication, and goal-setting.
For instance, I believe teaching must move away from the expert model and more toward the facilitator model. Also, for the Sunday School to be revolutionary, the teacher must facilitate an encounter with God in His Word. So teaching must naturally lead to worship. In addition, teaching must be more learner-focused, addressing the real needs of learners and leading learners to critical thinking, self-evaluation, commitment to change, action plans for life-change, and willingness to be held accountable. That would truly be an extreme makeover of teaching in our Sunday Schools.
Quickly, reaching must change from waiting for guests to show up to caring for them and pursuing a relationship with them where they are: at work, at soccer games, wherever they are. We must offer Bible study at times and places the world can attend. We must be more intentional about multiplication of our classes and new leaders (apprentices). What if every class was given 12-18 months to train an apprentice and multiply itself? While there might not be 100% success, there just might be more successful attempts than we ever dreamed. And what if we actually set goals for our extreme makeover and began to work to accomplish them?
What does your extreme Sunday School makeover need to include? What goals do you need to set? Where do you need to start? Who needs to do what? What deadlines do you need to set? What if you were successful? What would your Sunday School look like? Share your ideas with those who will follow by pressing the comments button below and leaving your thoughts. Pray. Brainstorm with your team. Carry out your plans for change. The time for mediocre Sunday School is past. Be revolutionary!