Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? (Luke 15:4 NIV)
I was reading this week the following book: What Every Pastor Should Know About Sunday School by Elmer L. Towns and Stan Toler. In it they suggest (and I would agree) that Sunday School is the Saving Arm of the church. Unchurched persons who attend an open small group Bible study are more prone to become Christians and stay active in a church. Here are their points:
Urge everyone to attend Sunday School. Sunday School is the best option for spiritual growth. As mentioned above Sunday School members are more active and tend to remain active more than just worship attenders. Give Sunday School prominence in your church. As they would say on page 19, “Organize it, advertise it and emphasize it.” Pastors should regularly encourage persons in the pew to be in Bible study.
Promote the use of Sunday School for evangelism. Teachers need to understand the evangelistic purpose of their ministry. I would go one step further and suggest we need to train teachers in how to share the Gospel in a manner that focuses on lifestyle and hospitality evangelism every day. I would also suggest they understand the “why” of Sunday School. Go back and look in my archives for the Why!
Celebrate Victories. Share with your leaders when one comes to accept Christ through Sunday School efforts. If you want to take it a step further than Towns and Toler, invite the teacher to be in the baptismal pool with the person coming to be baptized! This will inspire your teachers, classes and help them to recognize part of the “why” of Sunday School.
Of course I would take it one step further. We are to make disciples and not just converts! I have been amazed over my years of ministry when teachers recognize this fact. Children, youth and adults are mentored after they accept Christ, and the ministry is multiplied as new converts become disciple makers! Many have accepted their call to ministry in vocational and lay ministry because of teachers who are intentional about disciple making. I pray you will do the same!