By Bruce Chesser
President, Tennessee Baptist Convention
Think about it. Sunday School is the only ministry of most of our churches that is for everyone of all ages. We offer it in prime time. And it is connected to the most important event of the week in the life of the church, the worship time.
Sunday School has historically been central in seeing our churches reach people for Christ for several reasons. One reason is because it is lay led (rather than led by the pastor or other ministers).
When laypeople get involved in leading a ministry, they take ownership. God has gifted them for this. The pastor(s) cannot do everything in a church. More people will be involved in the shaping of the lives of others.
Never forget that discipleship takes place best in the context of relationships. And relationships will happen best in small groups, like Sunday School.
What does that mean? It means that as much as I like to preach and as hard as I try to convey the truths of God’s Word, Sunday School is a better place for discipleship to happen because of the relationships that are taking place.
I can preach and the Holy Spirit can use it to see people saved and energized in their faith. But people need what is going to happen in a small group.
Sometimes I think we see the church as being filled with a lot of programs and projects. Sunday School is not a project or a program; it is a process. Discipleship is a process. Sunday School can be key in you seeing discipleship take place in your church.
Here is another key factor when it comes to seeing your Sunday School grow and reach people for Jesus: enrollment. In fact, enrollment is the key matrix.
The more people you enroll, the more people you will see attend. And the more lost people you enroll, the more lost people you will see be saved. And the more lost people you see be saved, the more baptisms you will see in your church. And the more people you enroll, the greater your attendance will be. And the greater your attendance, the better your tithes/offerings will be. Enrollment is the key matrix. Develop a plan. Train your leaders and work it.
It’s time we re-think Sunday School.
If you need help from the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, contact Sharlyn Ricks in Roc Collins’ office at email@example.com or call 1-800-558-2090 and she will get your request to the right person. B&R — Chesser is pastor of First Baptist Church, Hendersonville.