One of the greatest tools of the church over the past 100 years is the outreach oriented Sunday School.
One of the greatest weights around the neck of the church over the past 100 years is the inward focused Sunday School.
Every church makes a choice about focus of their Bible Study hour, small groups, cell groups or Sunday School (whatever you call it most churches have some type of Bible study in small groups that meet during the week, either Sunday morning, afternoon, evening or some time during the week). You either choose for it to be focused on growth or on “fellowship”. I think you can have both, but we most of those who focus on fellowship tend to not incorporate much growth while those focused on growth find it easier to incorporate fellowship. So, as you might guess, I think it better to focus on growth and allow the fellowship to naturally happen. I think our natural instinct is to fellowship and so we don’t need to spend much time on that aspect while growth is a stretch for us.
Growth requires change. Change our room, change our seats, change our teacher, change our structure. Growth requires us to become uncomfortable with new people, new places, new structures. It’s easier to just keep everything the same and keep our friends and let our relationships grow deep. Over time the easy way leads to stagnation, paralysis and, ultimately, decline.
To challenge you and your Sunday School class I would like to take some time to think over, discuss, respond to this blog if you like, the following questions:
- What would be the best arrangement of our class to welcome visitors?
- Are there good seats available for the person who visits for the first time?
- What are some things we can do to help a visitor want to join our class?
- How many could fit in our class before it would be best for us to sponsor a new class? (keep in mind the 80% rule: you can’t average over a long time more than 80% of your capacity)
- Do we have a plan to make immediate contact with visitors to our class? (studies show that people are most likely to attend a church again if a lay person contacts them within 24 hours of their visit)
- How must I change to reach more people, to grow my class? (the answer for a teacher is probably different than that for a member of the class)
Perhaps if we take some time to think these things through we can see how God might change us to grow our Sunday School.