In 2001, LifeWay Christian Resources published a great Sunday School book by Ken Hemphill and Bill Taylor entitled Ten Best Practices to Make Your Sunday School Work. LifeWay has taken the book out of print. So if you have the book, you will want to hold onto it. I have been told that they will make it available as a free download, but your cost for printing can be prohibitive for a 275-page book.
Think about your Sunday School strategy. What are your “best practices” which have proven effective in carrying out your Sunday School strategy? In the meantime, I wanted to share an overview of the chapters (in bold) followed by my questions for each of the ten practices shared in the book:
- COMMIT TO THE STRATEGY. Are your pastor and church committed to Sunday School as the foundational strategy for building Great Commission Christians? Or is it one of many ways? How committed are you? Are you willing to calendar, budget, staff, and work the plan?
- ORGANIZE WITH PURPOSE. Are you organized to carry out the strategy? Are you organized to be revolutionary or mediocre? Is your Sunday School age graded, life-staged, with classes organized to carry out the functions effectively?
- BUILD KINGDOM LEADERS. Do you prayerfully and personally seek out God-called teachers and workers? Do you share job descriptions, provide regular planning meetings, and plan regular training events?
- DEVELOP SOUL WINNERS. Are you helping attenders be sensitive to those around them in need of the Savior? Are you helping them pray for, care for, invite, and share with lost people. Are you training members how to share their Sunday School and evangelistic testimonies?
- WIN THE LOST. Do you ask attenders to share the names of evangelistic and outreach prospects? Do you have and use a prospect file to contact, invite, pray for, and care for prospects? Do you have a regular time established for evangelistic, outreach, and ministry visitation? Are you teaching evangelistically, as would be appropriate for each age?
- ASSIMILATE PEOPLE. Do you enroll all church members in Sunday School, expecting them to attend as a part of your discipleship strategy? Do you keep good records of participation and involvement? Do you follow up weekly when members are absent? Do you fellowship regularly? Are adult and youth class greeters serving?
- PARTNER WITH FAMILIES. Are you prepared for every family member to have a place in Sunday School? Do you work to partner with parents in pursuit of stronger families?
- TEACH TO TRANSFORM. Do you seek to inform or to transform? Are you a guide who has encountered God prior to leading the class to do the same? Do you provide age-appropriate space, furnishings, and equipment life-changing spiritual transformation sessions? Are you providing time and space for every segment of your community to gather together to study God’s Word?
- MOBILIZE FOR MINISTRY. Do your youth and adult classes seek to meet the needs of members and prospects? Are care groups organized to contact, pray for, care for, and communicate with members and prospects? Are you organized to mobilize attenders into ministry and service? Are you training your ministry leaders to be even more effective?
- MULTIPLY LEADERS AND UNITS. Is there an ongoing strategy for enlisting, apprenticing, training, and launching new teachers, workers, and classes? Do you promote new classes and groups? Do you encourage all adult classes regularly to prepare for and sponsor a new group?
Wow, good reminder of some best practices to make our Sunday School work. Look over the list. Where are you strong? In which area(s) is improvement needed? What can you do between now and the start of the new Sunday School year to take steps to strengthen your practices? Is there an area where you’ve had success? Share your story. Is there an area in which you are struggling? Ask for help. Press the Comments button below. Pray. Plan. Expect. Execute your plan. Adjust where necessary. Be revolutionary!