Allow me to be clear about this issue from the beginning. The work we do will fail miserably if we try to do it alone. As we read in Psalm 127:1 (NIV): Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” So from the beginning, I want to be clear that we must join God where He is at work. This requires a heart that seeks after God. This requires time spent with Him in His Word and listening to His still, small voice. This requires humbleness, seeking His face, and turning from our wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Before I focus on the key to Sunday School growth, let me say that I am assuming the above. But honestly, this relationship with our Living God is a missing ingredient in many Sunday Schools. Honestly, are you there? Are you genuinely seeking Him and His leadership? Are you spending time with Him daily? Do you really want Him to work in and through you? This is a prior (assumed) step before moving to the key to Sunday School growth.
Before I mention the key, take out a piece of paper. Write down ten critical actions, elements, or keys to Sunday School growth. You can write more, but it will make the exercise more difficult if the list gets too long. Now, narrow the list of ten down to five. Then, narrow the five down to one. I am sure I have written about some of items on your list in some of these blog posts:
- 5 Goals for Sunday School Growth This Year, Part 1
- 5 Goals for Sunday School Growth This Year, Part 2
- How LARGE Should We Make Our Sunday School Goals?
- Set God-Sized Goals for Sunday School Growth
- Plan for Your Sunday School to Grow This Year, Part 1
- Plan for Your Sunday School to Grow This Year, Part 2
- Evaluate and Plan to Take Your Sunday School to the Next Level
- and many more.
While I have listed in this blog many actions that are of critical importance to Sunday School growth, I have not focused upon the one key. I have mentioned it in a list, but I have never focused solely upon it. After preaching for five weeks in a church and doing a Sunday School growth retreat with two churches, I am more convinced than ever of the key to growth. Without this key, other right actions will have greater difficulty of coming to fruition.
Stated plainly, the key to unlock Sunday School growth is a sense of expectancy. It is expecting God to work. It is knowing that Sunday School is more than maintaining a program. It is about giving God our best. It is about expecting results. It is about expecting God to lead and work and bless. It is about hope. It is taking our eyes off of ourselves and focusing on God and His love for our world. It is about believing God wants to work through us. It is believing that He has a plan for us. It is knowing that we can grow more in our relationship with Him, each other, and the community. It is about realizing that all of the people we are to care for are not already in the sheep pen (John 10:16). It is expecting plans and goals to become reality when we follow God’s leadership.
Are you expecting God to work? Are you anticipating His blessings on your Sunday School? Do you believe He wants your Sunday School to grow? Pray for God to make you expectant. Ask Him to make you patient while He prepares to grow you and your Sunday School. Ask Him to help you to “see” the potential for your Sunday School. Ask Him to enable you to share your expectancy with others. Start a Sunday School revolution by sharing believing in Him and believing in your Sunday School’s future. Be revolutionary!