I read an interesting article entitled Saving Sunday School by Peter Beck. Beck is assistant professor of religion at Charleston Southern University where he teaches history and theology. In the article, Beck talks about his love for Sunday School and then states the following:
Apparently a lot of folks must hate Sunday School. They have to. They’re trying to kill it. They’re killing it with their apathy. They’re killing it with their absence. They’re killing it, sometimes, with their good intentions. Sunday School is dying at the hands of those who should it love it the most.
At that point, Beck offers four advantages of a strong Sunday School ministry. In Part 1, I will share the first two of his four advantages in all capitals followed by my commentary:
- SUNDAY SCHOOL PROVIDES A PLACE OF COMMUNITY.The world is hungry for meaningful relationships. Sunday School encourages these through study together, fellowships and projects, and mobilizing to minister to each other. Affinities are discovered. Mountains and valleys are travelled together. Trust develops. Hurts and real needs are shared. The class responds. Friendships are begun and deepened. For more ideas about community, check out Ways Sunday School Can Encourage Friendship-Development, Best Friends in Sunday School, Ideas for Making Friends Through the Adult Sunday School Class, A Key Question to Deeper Sunday School Relationships, What a Sunday School Teacher Can Do to Deepen Relationships, and Sunday School/Small Groups: Where Everybody Knows Your Name, Part 1.
- SUNDAY SCHOOL PROVIDES A PLACE OF SERVICE.The best teaching leads to obedience, application, and implementation. Jesus in the Great Commission commanded us to be “teaching them to obey.” This is teaching and Sunday School ministry that is prepared with the specific learners in mind. Every attender is expected to contribute to service for their own good and for building up the Kingdom. Even busy people can be encouraged and led to invest in serving within the class, the church, or the community. And serving together is often more enjoyable. In fact, Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay, discovered in research that 80% of new members drop out of the church within one year if they did not discover new friends, get involved in a small group, and find a place of service. Sounds like Sunday School has an important role to me! For more ideas about serving, check out these posts: Love People to Jesus Through Sunday School Class Serving Projects, What Sunday School Members Can Do to Strengthen Class, Part 2, Raise Expectations for Sunday School Leaders, Multiply the Potential Impact of Your Sunday School Class Christmas Party, and Revolutionary Adult Classes Are S.M.A.R.T..
Beck concludes his article with the following words of encouragement:
So, let’s not throw out Sunday School. Let’s promote it. Let’s not kill Sunday School. Let’s grow it. Let’s recruit teachers who can teach. Let’s enable members to minister to each other. Let’s focus on the Word of God and let God speak to us. Let’s save Sunday School while we can. Let’s see our churches grow from the inside out.
Great words of encouragement! What can you do to help your Sunday School or class to become a place of community, service, spiritual accountability, and biblical teaching? What step can you take this week to strengthen one of these advantages? Take steps to grow Sunday School. Be revolutionary!