Posted: 9/24/19 at 12:20pm. Post by Tony Brooks.
Note to reader: This blog post is the third in a weekly series.
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. (Proverbs 16:3 NIV)
The third step to revitalize our Sunday School is giving Sunday School and discipleship the attention they need to flourish with mature disciples who then disciple others to be mature disciples.
Whatever we choose to do in life with excellence requires our attention. Whether it is in school, the workplace, our family, our health, or our spiritual growth, they require our attention. When we are attentive, we are aware of what is needed. When we are aware, we begin to set goals and make action plans to succeed.
In many churches, somewhere along the way, Sunday School and discipleship took a back seat “maintenance” role. When they did, we lost a good portion of Sunday School’s importance as the outreach, evangelism, shepherding, and discipling component of the church. So what do we do? Here are a few ideas from Ken Braddy in Breathing Life into Sunday School:
Preach annually a message about the importance of teaching God’s word and being involved in small group Bible study. Churches with the strongest Sunday Schools have pastors and staff who preach the importance of small group Bible studies and encourage persons to answer the call to teach. Sunday School Promotion Sunday is always an opportune time to do so.
Recognize Sunday School teachers/workers/small group leaders in worship and more. If we believe discipling is important, we need to recognize them on a regular basis. Recognize them in worship at the beginning of the year. Provide other teacher appreciation opportunities as well.
Pray for all your Sunday School workers and small group leaders daily. Remind the congregation to be praying for them. Highlight one class or small group in your church’s newsletter as part of your daily prayer time.
Invite teachers and others to share their testimonies in worship. Sometimes it takes the excitement of another layperson sharing in worship to get others in the pews to realize they should be in a small group Bible study.
Have an enrollment emphasis in worship. Encourage every person who comes to worship to be in a small group Bible study. Offer stations after worship or during the invitation to go and enroll in a class.
Have a focused time of training. We will cover this much more in my next blog post. For now, just know that churches who focus on training their workers do a much better job of discipling!
Update your church’s print and social media to highlight each class. If you want to get classes excited while reaching new people, highlighting classes helps to do both. Younger people will go to your website or Facebook page to check you out and decide whether they want to try you out or not. Having information about the class, a picture of the class members, and some personal information like things they enjoy doing together will help. To take it to the next level, interview someone in the class about its value and have it on video!
Here is the bottom line: Churches that aim for nothing and go with the status quo regarding Sunday School and discipleship will get what they aim for. I think it is time to aim in the right direction to revitalize Sunday School and discipleship. When we do, our churches will be revitalized!