He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Luke 10:2 NIV
Today I want to focus on knowing your possibilities for starting new classes and reaching out through existing classes. In a day when worship becomes our main focus for reaching new people, Sunday School/Bible study is still the most effective way for transformation to take place. Here are some questions to ponder from a training session we had this week about knowing your possibilities:
Does your Sunday School know its potential for reaching people?
Does your Sunday School accept its responsibility for reaching people?
Does your Sunday School have the heart for those it has the potential to reach?
Is it clear which class/department is responsible for reaching specific people?
Knowing your possibilities begins with creating an environment where people are passionate about reaching others for Christ. Sunday School classes have become focused more on their own members than following the original purpose of the organization. Sunday School was a missionary endeavor (See blog– Sunday School: Missional or Discipleship.) Your SS leadership team may need to do some educating with all of the workers about the original intent of Sunday School. David Francis’ book, Missionary Sunday School is a great resource and can be downloaded free at Lifeway. Get your teachers a copy to read.
Knowing your possibilities requires prayerful research inside and outside of your church walls. Let’s begin at church: Who comes to worship that is not in Sunday School? Who are members of the church, but not SS? Who comes to special events at church that are not in SS? Perhaps informal discussions will help you find out why. Do they not feel comfortable in existing classes? Do you need affinity classes rather than age group? For example, if you have a group of men not in SS who love to play golf, start a golfers’ Bible study group. Look for genuine connections to start new classes or tweak existing classes.
When you are looking outside the church walls, consider:
Census data– Where are pockets of people around the church with similar needs, hobbies and passions? Build relationships and ministries for them with intentional designs to start a Bible study group for them.
Sunday workers– Around 20% of the population works on Sundays. Do you have small open group Bible studies at other times? I would be happy for one of my SS members (who is a people person) to skip Sunday School one time for the purpose of going to the stores and other businesses open during that time to ask them if they would attend a Bible study at another time if offered. Make it a survey to get names, addresses and contact information as you consider starting these classes. With permission, start a Bible study at a community store, police department, fire department or hospital. Allow the Spirit to move in news ways.
Special Needs– There are families who do not feel that they can go to church, because they have a special needs child. (Most churches do not have a class for them.) Contact me and I will get a consultant in your area to talk with you about starting a special needs ministry.
Be praying for the Lord of the harvest to transform your Sunday School. (See the blog: Growing Your Church: Growing Your Sunday School for more ideas.)