I asked in Part 1, what if everything we did related to Sunday School was planned to produce learning AND life change? How would that change the Sunday morning experience AND everything we do to support Sunday School in outreach, member care, and mission? In Part 1, I focused on the change in the Sunday morning experience. In Part 2, I want to focus on outreach, member care, and mission.
OUTREACH. Relationship with Jesus leads to loving those He loves. As we become more like Him, we will pursue His mission. Jesus said He came to “seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10, ESV). Outreach is a natural outgrowth and expression of learning and life-change. At the same time, when guests attend Sunday School for a few weeks, exposure to loving relationships and a participatory encounter with God in His Word leads to natural questions and a pursuit of a relationship with Jesus. Kentucky pastors are telling me that 50-100% of unsaved people attending Sunday School for a year are getting saved.
Turning the perspective just a little, having guests (including unsaved people) in Sunday School changes the learning experience. It helps us to think about the needs and questions of those who are unsaved in class and along our daily path. Their presence encourages us to listen and learn. We communicate basics more clearly. We avoid “churchy” language. Our learning and life change invests in their learning and life change. Together with Him and each other impacts life!
MEMBER CARE. When member care is done well, the teacher and entire class know and care for each other. They know needs and desire to help with those needs. They pray for each other. This knowledge extends beyond physical needs to personal, spiritual, and disciple growth needs and struggles as well. Transparency is key, but transparency is not possible when people do not know or trust one another.
Achieving trust takes time and risk, but the payoff is huge! As a result of this investment in relationship, the teaching-learning experience can address real life issues, struggles, and needs. Honesty leads to support and help. Guilt and stuckness are addressed. Priorities are assessed and addressed. Learning and life change are the result.
MISSION. A natural outgrowth of learning and life change is “sentness” (think Great Commission). Disciples are sent-ones who “go and make disciples.” As a result of the group meeting God in Bible study and prayer, they become more like Jesus. They pursue His mission. They have compassion on those for whom He had compassion. Learning and life change lead to seeking His agenda, meeting discovered needs, and exploring avenues to meet those needs.
In turn, meeting the needs of those in the community and world always leads to greater learning and life change. Mission leads to learning about self, God, and the world. Eyes are open. Passions are discovered. Spiritual gifts, abilities, and personalities are utilized. While learning and life change move us to mission, at the same time mission moves us toward learning and life change.
Ignoring outreach, member care, and mission results in cripple attempts at learning and life change. Disciple-making through the Sunday School demands full focus on relationships in conjunction with learning and life change. Stop going through the motions. God and His people deserve our best. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!