As I continue to reflect on “starting with why” in the ministry of Sunday School, I need to ask, “What is your vision for Sunday School?” If your vision is simply to provide Bible study and fellowship on Sunday mornings for an hour, it is time for a revision! I want to introduce a more holistic look at Sunday School with the help of Albert Winseman.
Albert Winseman wrote a book called, Growing An Engaged Church in which he discovered that churches where more than 20% of the members were actively engaged had a common denominator in which four principles highly applied to their lives in the church. They could agree to the following statements about their lives in relation to the church:
- I feel like I belong.
- My needs are being met.
- I am able to contribute something significant.
- I am spiritually growing and the church/class is moving in the right direction.
Now think about a more holistic Sunday School and apply these four statements to your classes:
Would your students all say that they feel like they belong? Are all students affirmed and are their opinions taken seriously? Do they feel connected to others in the class?
Would your students feel like their needs are being met? Do you have an intentional way to minister to persons in your class like a care group system? Is there ministry and fellowship taking place outside of the classroom?
Do you have opportunities for every person to contribute something significant? Are classes involved in ongoing service projects where every person is able to contribute in some way?
Do you have ways of measuring spiritual growth? Are the classes encouraging an openness and a wrestling with Scripture that leads to more mature disciples?
Sunday School, at its best, is to provide an ongoing learning experience which leads to: discipleship through Bible study that lingers throughout the week, ministry to each other, service in the community, reaching people for Christ and providing a deeper fellowship. I will be sharing more about the different facets in this definition in the topics to come. Until then, may God begin to broaden your vision for Sunday School!