Today’s blog post, like all posts on Mondays, centers around a book excerpt. Today’s book excerpt comes from the book Transformational Class. It is a book based on the research findings from the Transformational Groups research project. To get a free electronic copy, just follow this link!
David Francis, LifeWay’s Director of Sunday School, reminds us of the importance of reaching kids, and the rich heritage that Sunday School has in that area:
I’ve become convicted that the Sunday School movement, through a church where it is properly understood and strategically implemented, can remain an effective missionary force. i also have a strengthened conviction that Sunday School needs to see a revival based on its missionary heritage. A heritage and history that continues to have kids at its center.
A disturbing trend among Sunday School and small group ministries over the past couple of decades is the emphasis placed on adult groups. The Sunday School movement started with an emphasis on kids, with adult classes coming later…Today that has – I believe unfortunately – switched. The question I hear pastors wrestling with now is “What do we do with the kids while teh adults are enjoying their classes or small groups?” I think that’s the wrong question. In North America we have two generations left (maybe) before the near extinction of orthodox, church-centered Christianity…Will it make a difference if your church decides to build a Sunday School fueled by a missionary mentality, focused on kids and their families? I don’t know. But I think it’s worth a try! Whether you actually call it Sunday School or ascribe a different label in your church, will you consider engaging in this historic and effective missionary enterprise with fresh fervor?
If your church doesn’t reach children and students, it won’t reach their parents. To make sure that kids are an important part of your overall Bible study strategy, here are several ways we can all help elevate the importance of reaching younger generations:
- Adult group leaders must release their best people to serve – “Sunday School is a clearing house, not a storehouse.” That quote is from a friend and mentor in my earlier days. It was said by Dr. Daryl Eldridge as he addressed a group of my adult Sunday School teachers almost 25 years ago! Dr. Eldridge helped us realize that you cannot staff kid and student classes without good adult leaders – and those new leaders came from adults groups. Leaders of adult groups had to be OK with releasing people to serve. The goal of adult groups isn’t to grow big, but to release people to serve.
- The church must budget sufficient financial resources for the kid’s Bible teaching ministry – I’ve always maintained that if you want to know what is important to an organization, simply follow the money. Organizations place their money on things they believe are of paramount importance. If a Sunday School ministry to kids is really important, the church will have budgeted adequate finances to take care of any needs such as the training of leaders, the purchasing of biblically sound curriculum, and the outfitting of classrooms with the right supplies, toys, and other resources called for by the church’s curriculum.
- The pastor must talk about the importance of the Bible teaching ministries designed to reach kids and students– “If something is important to the pastor, it becomes important to the church.” I’ve experienced that, and perhaps you have, too. When a pastor talks about the importance of the Bible teaching ministry to kids and students, interviews leaders of kids’ groups during a sermon, or talks about his experiences serving as a volunteer in the church’s nursery, it sends all kinds of positive signals to the church family.