One of my convictions for Sunday School to be most effective is for every Sunday School class to have an ongoing emphasis on service in the community. In one of my first blogs I mentioned Albert Winseman’s book, Growing an Engaged Church. In it he mentions that persons are more active and involved if they feel like they are contributing in some way. Every person needs to feel like they are making a difference. Ongoing mission projects that focus on the gifts and passions of your class will help to do just that!
Though each class should choose for themselves what to do, based on gifts and needs in the community, here are a couple of examples you may not have thought of:
Children’s Coloring Ministry Committee: Years ago I believed that every person had something to offer including children. I know that most children like to color pictures. I had the Nominating Committee choose five older children to form a committee to be voted on (like all other committees). Their job was to get all children involved in coloring uplifting pictures (with the help of their SS teachers who found pictures on the internet) to give to the staff and deacons to share with shut-ins, and persons in the hospital and at home who were sick. The children loved it and so did the recipients!
Youth Media Tech Day: Twice a year I would advertise in church and the community that the youth would offer free lessons for adults on how to use their cell phones- put in phone numbers to their address books and text along, with lessons on how to set up a Facebook page for those interested. Every time we offered this Sunday afternoon class we had adults from the church and community who wanted help!
For adults it is really discovering their gifts and passions and allowing them to be creative with the church’s support and encouragement. Examples:
Sports Clinics and fellowship events– Offer free lessons for children in different athletics. Have a fellowship gathering for those who love a particular sport. I know of a couple of laypeople in a previous community that formed a tennis fellowship two mornings a week for persons to play doubles tennis for a couple of hours. They began each time with a devotion and prayer time. It became a nonthreatening and encouraging event for Christians and non-Christians.
Crafts- I know of ladies and men who get together to crochet/knit for a Prayer Shawl Ministry. Others make Afghans for the nursing home and shut-ins. We even had some who made them for worship! When a person feels cold, we have them on the back pews and encourage them to wrap up in one.
Use these opportunities to do an inter-generational service project as well. Have some classes join together to serve and get to know each other. I could go on, but the bottom line is many of our churches and Sunday Schools have become inward focused in their approach and are missing opportunities to grow and make an impact on the community. In order for Sunday School to be focused on the future, service must become a part of classes. Feel free to message me if you want to share some creative ideas for other churches.