Purpose matters. Over the years, I have come to understand that people need to know more than “how” to do things. “Why” is important. If people lack an understanding of “why,” then “how” seldom matters for long. The action or method may begin with energy and accuracy but frequently motivation fizzles resulting in cutting corners, questioning, and ceasing the activity.
For instance, a class outreach leader is enlisted and told to develop a prospect list. He starts without fully understanding “why” he is needed except for developing the list. And he is not told “why” the list is needed. He gathers a few names with contact information from class members and the church office, but without understanding “why” nothing is done with the list. His effort was simply busywork.
The same issue applies to Sunday School. If you ask pastors, Sunday School directors, or teacher “why” their church does Sunday School, you would likely get a variety of responses. Some would say it is so people will learn more about the Bible. Others might say that Sunday School is to strengthen relationships and connections. Still others might it is to equip the saints to serve in the church and community. A few might recognize that Sunday School reaches the lost, wins them to Jesus, and helps them to grow as disciples.
“Why” makes a difference in “what” you do and “how” you do it. A narrow or incorrect motivation changes interest and direction. Too many Sunday School champions and leaders have small or no understanding of “why.”
Add “why” to everything you do. When you do training about “how,” add “why.” Tell them why it is important. Tell them why it makes a difference. When you have an appreciation event, affirm the “what” and “how,” but tell them “why” their actions make so much difference.
Paint the “why” BIG. Connect what Sunday School leaders do to the Great Commission and the work of the church. Raise a vision for why the work of Sunday School is so important. Help them to see the possibilities. Help them to see how Sunday School makes a vital contribution. “Why” is important!
Why are you doing Sunday School? Stop to write down your answer. Ask your leaders and members to share their answers to that question. Talk about it. Raise your vision together. Stretch toward the goal. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!