My friend, Steve Parr who is the vice-president for Sunday School and Evangelism for the Georgia Baptist Convention, has recently edited a great new Sunday School book. It is entitled KEY Strategies for Healthy Sunday Schools. I highly recommend that you purchase the book. It can be purchased for $15.00 from the Georgia Baptist Convention, Attn. Steve Parr, 6405 Sugarloaf Pkwy, Duluth, GA 30097.
Each of its nine chapters was written by nine Sunday School experts: Steve Parr, Tim Smith, Earnie Burfitt, Billy Britt, Keith Murdock, Patrick Thompson, Alan Folsom, John Yates, Bill Gabrell, John Yates, Bill Gambrell, and Patrick Thompson. In this three-part series, I want to share the book’s nine key strategies. My commentary will be my own and not necessarily reflect the book. In Part 1, I will share the book’s first three strategies in all capitals followed by my commentary:
LEADERS UNDERSTAND THE PURPOSE OF SUNDAY SCHOOL. Sunday School is more than a great time for people to get together. It is more than fellowship. It is more than just teaching or even teaching and learning. It is about helping the church pursue the Great Commission, to make disciples of all nations. Sunday School is about reaching, leading people to Christ, assimilating them, caring for their needs, teaching them to obey, and moblizing them into service. Do your leaders understand this? This chapter written by Tim Smith has many great suggestions about promoting Sunday School’s purpose.
SUNDAY SCHOOL IS ORGANIZED FOR GROWTH. Many Sunday Schools are organized to decline. Some are simply trying to maintain the status quo. But healthy Sunday Schools should be organized to grow. That means they are led by expectant leaders. There are more classes and more teachers for each age group (preschool, children, youth, and adults) than are needed right now, but they will be needed. Others are being prepared. New classes are being started regularly. New leaders are being apprenticed, trained, and released. Burfitt shares many concrete ideas in this chapter.
ENROLLMENT IS PROPERLY DEFINED AND APPLIED.Guests do not need to attend three times in a row before they can be enrolled. In fact enrollment is seen as an invitation to ministry. Enroll anyone, any time, any place as long as they agree to be enrolled (ask parents for children). Don’t drop anyone unless they (1) died, (2) moved out of the ministry reach of the church, or (3) joined another church. Set goals to enroll and care for more people. The care is essential! Britt shares many great ideas in this chapter.
Rate the health of your Sunday School in these three areas. How are you doing? Which area(s) do you need to address? Don’t forget to read the next two parts of this series. In Part 2, we will examine the strategies of contaccts, training, and teaching. Help your leaders learn, understand, and implement the purpose of Sunday School. Organize for growth. Enroll properly. Be revolutionary!