Should your focus be on worship or on Sunday School? Some may answer that it depends on where help is needed. Others will argue for their silo, their preference–worship leaders argue for worship and Sunday School leaders argue for Sunday School. Is competition really necessary? Is it healthy? Is it helpful in any way?
I served on a staff of a church where there was competition between the music ministry and the education ministry before I came. I worked hard to develop a good relationship with the Minister of Music, to say positive things about the music ministry publicly, and to deal with issues privately. This reduced competition, produced cooperation and support, and resulted in positive gains for the church. With the Lord’s help, Charlie and I were able to focus on worship AND on Sunday School.
I can only think of one way in which a little healthy competition could be good. Jeff Crabtree, Minister of Education at Central Baptist in Corbin, KY, ribs his pastor, who is a strong Sunday School supporter, about having more people in Sunday School some Sundays than were in worship. No, there is nothing wrong with worship! Instead, both are praying and working to make both worship and Sunday School even better. Make them both great!
I like what Josh Hunt said in an article entitled, Worship or Sunday School. To pastors, he said:
We need you….We need you to stand in the pulpit and bleed for the importance of community, the importance of the group life, the importance of Sunday School. People will never think groups are more important than they perceive you think they are….The easiest place to grow a strong Sunday School is in the shadow of a strong pulpit. And, a strong pulpit is complemented by the assimilation and community created by a strong Sunday School of small group ministry.
Don’t divide your efforts. Work with God. Work together. Work to help people make progress. In Simple Church, Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger call this “movement”–sequential steps in the process that cause people to move to greater areas of commitment (p. 72). Sunday School is a natural progress or next step of involvement for people, to be involved in community. When worship grows, Sunday School can more easily capitalize upon the growth. Be revolutionary by focusing on worship AND Sunday School!