We all want to see and experience excellence in Bible teaching in all of our Sunday School classes and small group Bible studies. Yes indeed. I heard one Associational Missions Director in Mississippi say to a group of his leaders. “There is nothing that can empty a Sunday School faster than a dry, boring teacher.” And he was right.
But, recently I have learned a hard lesson from a great Sunday School teacher. His class is strong and large. It is really too large for the small group dynamics of a growing Sunday School class. AND, they have stopped growing. All the seats are full and they are happy. It is a co-ed class.
A few recent widows in the class approached me with the possibility of starting a new class for widows. I approached the teacher with the possibility. He said we ought to talk to the class about the idea. They were not in favor of that idea at all. “We want to keep everyone in OUR class.” It is a great class, but now it is a closed class, no room to grow and they want no one to leave.
The solution: Time, patience, prayer, and persistence. We may have to plow new ground. We may have to approach the idea from a different direction so no one will have their feelings hurt, but at the same time, the ministry need can be met.
How can we meet the needs and reach the desired end result?
- We have to prayerfully develop a plan.
- We must prayerfully enlist the needed workers.
- We must make sure they are properly equipped.
- We must make certain they have a good place and time to meet.
- We must assist them in accomplishing the purpose of their group, in this case, minister to widows in need through God’s Word for them.
God wants us to grow strong New Testament multiplying disciples who have a heart for reaching others and teaching them to do likewise. We must be careful to build these principles into the DNA of every group we begin. That takes careful, prayerful planning. But God rejoices when we follow His directions.
Kiely Young is the Director of Sunday School for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board.