Transformational Church is helping churches create a new scorecard. “Bodies, budget, and buildings” have long been used to measure success in the local church , but is that the best measurement of how effective the church is and how the people are really doing? A quote early in the book (p.3) says that with regard to the progress churches are making in transforming people’s lives, “…too few are making any real headway. Rather than missionary disciples for Christ going into the world, we have a group of people content to go in circles.”
TC is the result of extensive research…the largest research project of its kind…which identifies the practices of churches that are leading to the spiritual transformation of members. 7 practices have been identified in transformational churches, and these should be very evident in the Sunday School…that’s where the work and ministry of the church can take place through small-group Bible studies. Are these seven markers of a transformational church apparent in your Sunday School? Could you say that your Sunday School is a “Transformational Sunday School” and that’s causing your church to be a Transformational Church? Consider if these seven elements, discovered by Dr. Ed Stetzer and Dr. Thom Rainer, are woven into the fabric of your Sunday School:
- Missionary Mentality – TCs “know, understand, and are deeply in love with their cities, communities, and people.” TCs refuse to “sit and soak”…they get out beyond the church walls and into the communities into which God has planted their churches. Does this describe the mentality of your Sunday School classes?
- Vibrant Leadership – Always present is vibrant leadership from the pastor, staff, directors, and leaders. TCs are led by transformational leaders. The Transformational leader “thinks team” (p.80) and “leverages the giftedness of people for the kingdom of God.” Again, is this a characteristic of your Sunday School leaders?
- Relational Intentionality – As Transformational Church reports, Transformational Churches are “turning the world upside down one relationship at a time. They know that people are not just looking for a friendly church, they’re hungry for friends” (p.100) Do you see people connecting with one another (older and newer members), or would your groups be described as “cliquish”?
- Prayerful Dependence – “Prayer is the engine of Transformational Churches” (p.124) Is prayer the engine in your Sunday School? Are people praying for one another, lost friends and neighbors, their pastor and staff, and for the church?
- Worship: Actively Embrace Jesus – “TCs have such a love for God that they know worship is a manner of living and not a mode of church programming.” Is your Sunday School and its Bible study creating followers of Christ who have a lifestyle of worship? Does the way people live reflect the life of Christ to their lost friends and neighbors? It should.
- Community: Connect with People – “Today’s church needs to experience a methodological regression to the early church of Acts 2” (p.175). Small groups were the life-blood of the early church. TCs can’t be built without the community built in Sunday School/small groups. C-G-S-G (Connect-Grow-Serve-Go) helps Sunday Schools connect people to God, Bible study, service in the church, and to opportunities to be engaged in ministry to people in the community.
- Mission: Show Jesus through Word and Action – As one Austin-based church reported about their small groups, they attempt to be “a group of people living incarnationally in an attempt to be salt and light to their neighborhoods, boardrooms, and classrooms…” (p.200). Evangelism and missions go hand-in-hand for TCs and TC Sunday Schools. TCs “place an emphasis on social ministry only as far as it serves the purpose of sharing the gospel” (p.203).
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