In Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is visited by three Christmas spirits who help him to realize the impact his life has had, is having, and will have–unless something changes. That something was Scrooge himself. He needed to refocus his life, direction, and priorities. He needed to stop being so greedy. He needed to become aware of those around him and their needs. And he needed to realize the impact he could have upon the needs of others.
In a similar way, Sunday School needs an encounter. Consider these questions:
What if you knew you only had one year to live, how would you do Sunday School differently? If you stopped to consider the impact of your Sunday School in the past, today, and tomorrow, what would you adjust? If Jesus spoke directly to you and told you to make as much impact in the next twelve months, what would you do differently?
I can think of many answers to these questions for me, but your answers should be impacted by who you are individually, as a Sunday School, as a church, and as a community. But it is absolutely vital that we pause to reflect upon where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re headed. And could we have more impact upon our world if some adjustment or change was made now?
I spent the morning with a group of Sunday School leaders who have struggled through several months of challenges. They seem to be in a more constructive place now. Some obstacles have been removed. Some distractions are gone. Some focus has returned. Care has increased. Optimism is higher. And attendance reflects the changes in the environment. It appears to have bottomed out and to be trending upward.
But the group is expecting more. They are prepared to pray and work harder. Their expectations are higher. They are growing in their understanding about Sunday School and its potential. They believe in each other and have confidence in taking steps today. Communication is clearer. Planning and training are taking place. These are all important signs.
But the group has to do more than want things to be better or want attendance to increase. They have to pray, set goals, plan actions, make assignments, set deadlines, and work to make Sunday School great. They have to go after the people. They have to start new classes. They have to train new teachers–apprentices. They have to set contact, guest, attendance, and enrollment goals. They have to prepare God-honoring lessons, involve the people, and organize to care.
Go back to the questions above. How would you answer them personally? How would your class or your Sunday School? What is the first step you need to take to live differently? What do you need to do to give God your best effort in the time you have left to make the most impact through Sunday School? Pray. Follow His leadership. Give Him your best. Work until Jesus comes. Be revolutionary!