“You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:32, ESV)
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27 ESV)
One of the ways we can think of Sunday School outside the church walls is with our homebound. Have you considered ways to share God’s Word with your homebound/shut-ins and those in the nursing homes? These individuals were often the backbone of the church in years past and still want to feel as though they matter. After all they do matter to God. Here are some ideas:
Set up good records of how many shut-ins you have and begin with a care ministry. Is it possible to begin a care ministry where one or more SS classes offer care? Provide a fruit basket at Christmas, visit the Shut-ins on a regular basis including caroling at Christmas. (Set up a Homebound Ministry Team in your church if a Sunday School class doesn’t take on the ministry to visit the shut-ins once a month.)
Get your youth involved in a care ministry to shut-ins. At one church I took the middle school youth once a week after school to a nursing home. (I got permission from the parents and school to pick them up on the church van every Wednesday.) They each developed a friendship with someone at the nursing home, read Scripture and heard stories about the shut-in’s life. I took the youth to McDonald’s for ice cream afterwards and heard great things God did through their ministry.
Start a class at a nursing home. If you have two or three at one nursing home, why not start a Bible study class? (Start one in a nursing home in your community either way!) It doesn’t have to be on Sunday mornings. Whatever schedule works best for them and the teacher. You may be surprised that others at the nursing home will join you. These classes count as a Sunday School class in attendance and care.
Send recordings of a Sunday School class discussion or have someone read the lesson and record it. I have seen both approaches work well in churches. Some classes had a member who was no longer able to come, so they recorded their SS lesson and took it to them to hear later in the week. Another person read the quarterly and recorded it for persons who were sight challenged, and distributed copies during the week.
The bottom line is we are called by Scripture to care for those who cannot join us on Sunday mornings due to health reasons. And share God’s Word. Make plans to show you care through Sunday School!