Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NIV)
Many see the glass half empty for Sunday School: “Sunday School is dead.” “There is no hope for Sunday School.” “Sunday School is for children and youth.”
I see the glass half full: We are all called to make disciples. Sunday School is a great tool to help us do just that! Here are some ideas:
Sunday School on Sunday morning provides a time for the whole family to be in Bible study. We need Sunday morning to provide this essential need. Perhaps you have Sunday School for preschool, children, youth, special needs and adult classes. Perhaps some adult classes are closed small groups for discipleship (which I would recommend based on the need of members.) Sunday morning is still the time to reach more members and prospects. Don’t let this go!
Sunday School is about an open small group Bible study at any time and place. Sunday School is about outreach, evangelism, and discipleship in an open small group. Sunday School is credited to Robert Raikes who could only have a class on Sunday morning to teach children to read, and the Bible was included in that reading to reach people for Christ. These children worked the other six days of the week.
Now we have many adults who work on Sunday morning. Small, open group Bible studies at another time and place still count towards Sunday School in my book! Start one at work at lunch, in your home or a business. If it is an open, small group Bible study, count those numbers. People come to know Christ at a much higher rate in a small group Bible study than in worship. They are much more involved in the church as well. It is the best way to reach new people!
Sunday School can happen on the go! I hear pastors all the time lamenting that families are not here on Sunday morning due to weekend travel ball teams. Have you asked them to teach a Bible study for parents and their children while they are away? Have you asked a family to hold a Bible study at the lake or beach? This could be a Sunday School class as well. Look at the glass half full!
Provide curriculum that meets the needs of your class. Many have used the same curriculum in adult classes for 20 years. Find out the needs of your class and look at options. (E-mail me at email@example.com for some options.)
Use different learning approaches. Did you know the retention level for lecture is only 5% after three days? Use different learning approaches. Some adults have given up on Sunday School, because it is repetitive or boring. (E-mail me and I will send a learning approaches inventory and Edgar Dale’s retention levels.) You must have variety in your teaching.
Sunday School will be dead if we don’t make some changes. Teachers are missionaries and disciple-makers. Are you growing in ways to teach and provide opportunities for Bible study? If you are, then the glass is half full!