Have you ever given the answer to a question that was absolutely correct only to have someone offer another that is absolutely correct? And maybe you even liked their answer better than yours? That’s the way I felt when I read an entry on Tom Bougher’s blog entitled 10 Easy Ways to Grow a Sunday School. I have shared many “right” answers to how to grow the Sunday School, but I sure like Tom’s list!
Here’s Tom’s list. His 10 ways are in all capitals followed by my commentary:
- LIVE THE LIFE BEFORE THEM. Pray. Read the Bible. Share your faith. Love your family. Be honest. Live for Christ. They’ll notice!
- SHARE THE TRUTH WITH CONVICTION. Facts without conviction or passion often fail to capture attention or motivation. Share what you believe. Share your excitement and confidence. Do so one-on-one and with the group.
- KNOW THE NEEDS OF THE CLASS. (THIS COMES FROM RELATIONSHIP.) This takes time, but it makes teaching more meaningful for you and them. Spend time in your home or theirs, one-on-one before group time, at lunch, at fellowships, etc. Spend time with individuals rather than large group all the time.
- LET PRAYER BE THE CENTRAL THEME, TEACH THEM TO PRAY & BELIEVE. This could be life-changing! This is more than having a prayer time during group time. Lead them to develop prayer journals to record prayer requests and answers. Teach them to pray in faith and watch as God responds!
- ENCOURAGE THE CLASS TO PRAY AND READ THE WORD FOR THEMSELVES. (BUILD PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.) Again, this could be life-changing. This is different from group Bible study. Bible study could also be part of the journal. Challenge and encourage them. Hold them positively accountable. Ask what they are reading and learning. Ask how they are applying the truth.
- NEVER LET ‘INFORMATION SHARING’ BE THE GOAL OR EMPHASIS OF YOUR CLASS. This means you are working for more than a “cognitive dump.” You are working for application, for life-change. You are challenging them to respond to God, to live for Him. Save some time for reflection, for critical thinking, for response, for deciding what’s the next step.
- MAKE SURE EVERY STUDENT IS GIVEN TOOLS TO APPLY THE TRUTH LEARNED TODAY. Help them get started. Teach them what to do next. Offer some suggestions, but allow them to make personal and creative responses. Help them to realize application is an expectation.
- GO AFTER NEW STUDENTS, FRIENDS & FAMILY–THIS IS EVANGELISM! This starts with you! Model this. Challenge the group. Lead them to pray, contact, invite, fellowship, care, and reach out. Invite them to your home, fellowships, projects, and group time. Focus. Keep good contact records. Be persistent.
- GET OUT OF THE CLASSROOM, EXPOSE YOUR STUDENTS TO THE HURTING & NEEDY OF YOUR COMMUNITY. This can be done with individuals and with the group. Make the community needs real by helping them to intersect with real individuals. Help group members to understand that service is a natural response to what Jesus did for them. Help them to live what they are learning as Christians.
- FIND PROJECTS THAT GET THEM INVOLVED WITH TOUCHING & CHANGING THEIR COMMUNITY. At least quarterly, lead the group to prayerfully plan projects in your community. These can be one-time or long-term projects. Tap into some of the group’s affinities/interests/relationships. Stretch them.
I don’t know Tom, but his list is solid. Feel free to post a comment on his blog thanking him for the list. While I have blogged about many of the ways on his list, collected together they form a great challenge. Pray through the list. Where do you believe you need to focus, to begin to give additional energy and time? Work on one at a time. Take a step for your group, for the Kingdom, and for God! Be revolutionary!