Sunday School is not a program that happens only one hour per week. Sunday School is a ministry with people that takes place 168 hours each week. There are no bounds that say that ministry, relationships, outreach, teaching-learning, encounters with God, etc. all have to take place on Sunday. In fact, they should not be limited!
Allow me to make a suggestion for the coming year. Stretch your class! Look for ways to extend the ministry and work of your class beyond the walls of the class and beyond the Sunday morning experience. There are hundreds of ways to do this. Consider some of the following in Part 1 and in Part 2, and then come up with your own. Don’t try to implement too many at once or you may overwhelm your class, but do try to stretch them this year. Consider the following in the important Sunday School areas of responsibility of evangelism, discipleship, and fellowship:
- EVANGELISM. Ask each member to pray for a lost person for a couple of weeks. Give them a small colored dot to place on their watch or some regularly seen place to remind them to pray for the person’s salvation and for opportunities to invite them to a home, to a class fellowship, to a class session, and most importantly to Jesus. Teach members to share their Sunday School testimony in 2 minutes or less (check out Sunday School Testimony: Powerful Revolutionary Tool). Teach them to share their testimony. Ask members to call the person they have been praying for and invite them to a class fellowship. Pick up the person to take them to the fellowship if they are willing. Whether they attend the fellowship or not, ask members to invite the lost person to their home for a meal–to get to know each other. Whether they are able to accept the invitation to the meal or not, ask members to invite the lost person to class and to worship (check out Grow Your Sunday School: Part 1, Preparing Your Class to Invite New People and Grow Your Sunday School: Part 2, Steps for Inviting New People. (Do you see how Sunday School can be at work the other 167 hours?)
- DISCIPLESHIP. Ask a member to prepare a 5-minute report for next week on Pharisees. Assign homework to the entire class. Ask two people to lead small group discussion around an assigned passaged; ask them to prepare by reading the passage and coming up with 3 discussion questions. Ask members to read an entire book of the Bible during a unit of study one month. At the end of the class, ask members what they will do as a result of God’s truth they have encountered, and at the beginning of the next lesson ask for their reports. Divide into accountability pairs to check on scripture memorization (check out Revolutionary Sunday School: Changing Converts into Disciples and Taking Discipleship Seriously in Sunday School). (Again, do you see how Sunday School can be at work the other 167 hours?)
- FELLOWSHIP. Plan a fun fellowship activity, like bowling, skating, a movie, or other. Have a meal together as a class in a home, at the church, or at a restaurant. Divide the class into smaller groups and ask the group to fellowship together four times over the next four months. Plan fellowship activities monthly (check out Ten Values of Monthly Sunday School Fellowships). Challenge members to extend fellowship to unchurched people around them (check out Reach and Assimilate People into the Kingdom Through Sunday School Fellowships). Share icebreakers during the class session or class fellowships (check out Five Suggestions for Using Icebreakers Well in Sunday School/Small Groups and Nine Reasons to Use Icebreakers in Sunday School/Small Groupsand Using Icebreakers Purposefully in Sunday School/Small Groups). Put greeters into place (check out Revolutionary Sunday School Classes Have Greeters).
In Part 2, we will add two more areas of responsibility for the Sunday School: ministry and worship. How can you lead your class to stretch this year during the other 167 hours? Pray. Challenge. Hold them accountable. Check on progress. Then challenge them some more. Be revolutionary!