Do you believe your Sunday School class can grow? Arthur Flake, Southern Baptists’ first national Sunday School director, believed the Sunday School could grow by keeping its focus on winning the lost to Christ. He said, “The supreme business of Christianity is to win the lost to Christ. This is what the churches are for … surely then the Sunday school must relate itself to the winning of the lost to Christ as an ultimate objective.”
Too many of our Sunday School classes today have forgotten that the purpose of the Sunday School is threefold: Reach the lost and unchurched; teach the Bible for life change; and minister to the needs of members as well as prospects. In many Sunday School classes today, we are only teaching the Bible for knowledge exchange. We see the same people come week after week and listen to great Bible teaching, but we see very little spiritual growth.
If your Sunday School class is going to grow, then we must do four key things. First, we must pray. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Ask your class to volunteer names of people they know who need Jesus. Write these names on a tear sheet and display them in your class. Each week, as a class, pray for each of these people. Pray, expecting God to provide opportunities for you to invite someone to your Sunday School class and to share your testimony with your unsaved friends and neighbors. Evangelistic prayer is vital to having a Sunday School that is reaching the lost and will move our outreach from human striving to spiritual empowerment.
The second thing we must do to see our Sunday School class grow is to enroll new members. Enrollment focuses the Sunday School on people who are not present. It is often the forgotten factor in evangelism. When Sunday School members enroll their friends, the entire class gets to practice relationship evangelism. Adopt the “Anyone-Anytime-Anywhere” method of enrollment and encourage everyone to pray and be sensitive for opportunities to enroll people in Sunday School. Challenge your class members to enroll at least one person over the next four weeks.
Note: Enrollment must lead to new units and new leaders or we will end up with more deadwood on our roles.
This leads us to the third thing we must do to see our Sunday School class grow: We must start new groups. Every Sunday School grows to the size of its organization. New groups enlarge the organization so that it can reach and minister to more people. New groups grow faster and tend to be more evangelistic. New leaders can emerge quicker and commitment to attend is generally higher. For every new Sunday School group a church starts, attendance usually increases by ten people.
Lastly, if we want to see our Sunday School class grow, we must enlist and train new leaders. New leaders are needed to minister to new people and begin new groups. A Sunday School will only grow to the level of its leadership, so trained leaders are essential to a vibrant, growing Sunday School. I believe your Sunday School class can grow. Do you believe?
Our fourth annual “Show-Me Sunday State-Wide Sunday School High Attendance Day” emphasis is now ready to share! The purpose of this emphasis is to draw attention to Sunday School and to use the excitement of a new Sunday School year to get your members enthused about attending Sunday School and especially about inviting lost people to come with them. Our suggested date for Show-Me Sunday is October 30 and our theme Bible verse is Deuteronomy 32:2 – “Let my teaching fall like rain and my word settle like dew, like gentle rain on new grass and showers on tender plants.”
Promotional materials will be mailed to all Missouri Baptist Convention churches starting in early August. They can also be downloaded for free at our website (www.mobaptist.com/sunday_school). For ideas and help with anything shared in this article, feel free to contact Mark Donnell at firstname.lastname@example.org (573-636-0400 ext. 413).
MARK DONNELL / MBC Sunday School Specialist