I believe everything has a shelf life. That is why there are dates on food labels. That is why you cannot find 8 track tapes, dial up telephones, or typewriters any more. The paper mill in our community, which produced the best quality grade of writing/typing paper in the world & employed more than 2,000 people, has closed down. Why – people are storing things on computers & flash drives. Paper is becoming a thing of the past. You are reading this online, not on paper. Smart phones are replacing computers. Someone shared with me recently that thy wanted to buy an old type flip cell phone – not a smart phone, only to discover they do not make them anymore. A salesman went to the back & pulled one out of the trash and gave it to them. Things come and go and things change. Has the time of Sunday School reached its shelf life?
If you want to increase overall attendance, connect people, help them learn the Bible, grow as mature Christians, increase offering, or see your total church grow – the answer is Sunday School. But I said everything has a shelf life – what about Sunday School? There will always be a need to teach the Bible, bring people together, and connect folks. That is what Sunday School is all about! Maybe you need some fresh ideas or new expressions for SS to make it more effective?
As you read these ideas, you may think, “that would never work in my church or Sunday School or folks will never go for that.” So is your class “stale”? Someone once said, if you keep doing things the same way you can always expect the same results. Do you need or want different results?
How about getting your class to pray for your teacher & class members- for more life, excitement, enthusiasm & people? Or having prayer partners to ask God to intervene & re-energize your class?
How about making it a point for everyone to invite someone new to your class every week? When was the last time you had a guest or new member? What are you doing to bring them in? When was the last time you invited someone?
Why not do some type of social event with your class like go out to a restaurant together or have a covered dish? It could be as simple donuts & coffee. Always invite someone who is not in your class to join you.
At a former church, our Sunday evening event had gotten down to single numbers in attendance. There was a restaurant close by that had sparse attendance in the winter months. During
Jan – March we met at the restaurant, sat in booths or tables for 4. They would order from the menu (and pay for their own meal.) While they were waiting for their food & even after it arrived, they had a sheet of paper with a scripture passages and questions that they were to answer & talk about together. The group loved the concept & grew to more than 40. And they studied the Bible. Who said it had to be at 10:00 in the educational building for Sunday morning?
Some of the most insightful questions are related to why someone would want to come to your Sunday School class? Do you go out of your way to make them feel a part or special? Do people talk to them & introduce them to others? Will someone sit with them in church showing your appreciation for them being there & how special they are? Is the lesson prepared well so that the class is engaged & encouraged? How do you connect the passage to everyday life? The shelf life of Sunday School is not over, however there may need to be some tweaks or adjustments or changes needed to make it more effective. What would make your class better & involve more people? Maybe your class can talk about that one Sunday soon.
The guest writer this week is the Reverend Tommy Speight, Pastor of Courtland Baptist Church in Courtland, VA.