Why do so many Sunday School leaders try to do everything alone? Yes, it can sometimes be faster to do so–at least in the short run. The church, like the human body, is connected for a reason. We are more effective when we work together.
Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV): “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Encouragement is much needed in our work together. Encouragement helps us to finish what we start, reach higher and farther, recognize what we have accomplished, stay positively accountable to each other, and realize we are not alone.
Revolutionary Sunday School classes are encouragers! One way your class can be an encourager is by sponsoring the start of another class. It can be a class of similar age group or completely different. For instance, a middle adult class could sponsor the start of another middle adult class, a youth class, or a children’s class.
What is involved in sponsoring another class? There can be many facets of encouragement provided by a sponsoring class, but allow me to share three:
PRAYER. Prayer can be one of the most neglected but needed sources of encouragement for a new class. Take seriously the privilege and responsibility to pray for the class corporately and privately. Pray for the teacher and class leaders. Pray for lives, lessons, and learning. Pray for members, guests, and prospects. Pray for fellowships and projects. Pray for God’s intervention. Pray for change and growth. Pray about ways you can encourage and help them.
INVITATIONS. Invitations are concrete actions of support for the sponsored class. Recognizing the age group and inviting persons who would fit in the class are great encouragement. Make calls. Send cards and letters. Send e-mail. Make visits. Invite individuals in worship and in the community. Think about and invite friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors. Help the class to grow through your invitations!
FELLOWSHIP. Fellowship is encouragement in human form. Invite them to one of your class fellowships. Plan some fellowships together. Plan a fellowship for them. This can be an adult class sponsoring a youth class for a fun fellowship activity. This can be an adult class sponsoring a children’s class for a ministry project. This can be a men’s class with another men’s class. The options are endless. Plan something fun. Plan some ministry. Encourage relationships. Invite members and prospects.
What happens when your class sponsors the start of another class? Your class grows in so many ways! The new class is encouraged and grows. The church grows. Pray about sponsoring a new class. Adopt the class. Make disciples. Be revolutionary and help the adopted class to be revolutionary as well!