Posted: 9/17/19 at 2:00pm. Post by Tony Brooks.
As I mentioned in my blog post here last week, I am doing a series based on Ken Braddy’s book, Breathing Life into Sunday School: 12 Essentials to Revive Your Most Important Ministry. This week we are looking at the budget.
You can tell a church’s priorities by its budget. What does the budget tell you about your church? I know there are some churches who put more money in the cemetery fund than they do in Sunday School and discipleship; what does that say about the church?
I know some have more in their budget for fellowship than they do in Sunday School and discipleship. What does your budget say about your church?
As Braddy puts it on page 29, “Healthy things grow. Growing things must be fed.” If we want Sunday School and discipleship to be healthy and grow, they require investment. Here are some thoughts:
Are you spending money on curriculum that fits the church in discipling members and reaching unchurched people? Some churches have chosen to get rid of curriculum and put the pressure on teachers to develop their own by just using the Bible. There are several challenges here:
- Teachers/group leaders are volunteers. Many work full time jobs, experience heavy pressure to care for families, and are highly involved in their communities. They do not have the time to adequately develop lesson plans each week. They are not usually trained in seminaries. They will focus on what they already know in many situations and get stuck in the books of the Bible they know and love. Members of the group will likely become frustrated and quit.
- People no longer are there every week. If there is not a curriculum
- to take home and study for themselves, they won’t learn what others are learning that week. Personal study guides help people become more active than persons without a study guide.
- New teachers are more inclined to say yes. Without curriculum, prospective teachers will feel inadequate and say no when you ask them to teach.
Are you providing the best learning environment for Sunday School classes? Pastors, staff members, and Sunday School directors: Have you visited every classroom? Here are some things to consider:
- If this was a room in your house where guests will be, would you be comfortable with the room? Often classrooms collect clutter. Is the classroom open and inviting? Does it have clean walls and floors? Is it inviting for guests?
- Are there necessary elements for learning? Is there a marker board for questions as people walk in the room? Is there a way for pictures, quarterly posters tied to the theme, and maps to be displayed on walls? If they wanted to do a DVD series or use a PowerPoint presentation, are you equipped for that?
Here are the practical takeaways:
- Examine the budget. Is there money for curriculum and to begin working on one classroom a year for updates? Each church may vary where to start on updating classrooms. In a church with all ages, start with the classrooms that house the youngest and work upwards in age range from there.
- Have a clean-up day to remove clutter and clean every classroom the way you would your house when expecting a special guest.
- Provide curriculum that fits your church and each class. I could go many directions with this one. (Email me at email@example.com to set up a discussion.)
- Update one or more classrooms a year. You will be surprised how word will spread when you update classrooms and try something different! You may have more people come to that class that day. (Make sure the lesson is creative and focused on life application to keep them coming back.)
Sunday School can still be the outreach arm of the church as well as the discipling arm. Are you feeding it financially?