Mondays are the day I share a quote from a book on Sunday School or groups ministry and leadership. I’ve chosen a quote from the opening chapter of one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors on Sunday School. The book is Allan Taylor’s The Six Core Values of Sunday School. Allan is a good friend and I’m a big fan of his ministry and passion for Sunday School. We’re using this book at a church where I’m serving as a part-time Minister of Education. It’s helping the pastor and I review a number of facets of Sunday School work with the church staff.
Here is what Allan has to say about Sunday School and it’s “beyond the campus” influence. If all Sunday Schools did this, they would soar again and be relevant ministries in our culture:
Sunday School is more than an educational institution; it is a reaching, caring, ministering organization as well. Of our three tasks (1 – reach people for Bible study; 2 – teach people God’s Word; 3 – Minister to people’s needs), only one has to do with education: teach. If only one-third of our tasks is educationally oriented, then we need to develop a new mentality toward the work and ministry of the Sunday School. Education is definitely part of what we do; and we will continue to put strong emphasis on the teaching of God’s holy innerant Word. But education is not all we do. We also must have a mentality and vision that moves us to reach people for Christ and church membership. We cannot teach people God’s Word if we first do not reach them. The Sunday School is better equipped to reach people than any other organization in the church. We are the biggest organization; we meet during “prime time” (Sunday morning); we are structured into age graded units; and we are organized to quickly assimilate new people…Therefore we must see Sunday School as something more than a one-hour happening on Sunday morning. This new vision will enable us to see it not as an event to attend once a week but as a ministry to embrace.
One reason that I believe Sunday School has struggled as of late is because it has become too campus-centric. By that I echo Allan’s warning against it becoming an educational institution that finds its main work on the church campus. Good, effective Sunday Schools have a 24/7 mindset when it comes to this ministry. When you find groups that study together, but also fellowship regularly and serve one another (plus others in the community), then you have a Sunday School group or ministry as it was intended to be.
How is your group? How is your Sunday School? Is it campus-focused or is it full of life and energy once the Sunday morning event is over? Is it rearing to meet needs of members and guests? Are the people fellowshipping together and deepening relationships? Or is it primarily about teaching a Bible study and increasing people’s information about the Bible? If it’s the latter, it may not be around for the long haul.
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