In Part One, I discussed my belief that teaching is not the purpose of Sunday School but a task to accomplish the purpose of Sunday School. In my experience as a consultant, churches and Sunday School leaders that believe teaching is the purpose of Sunday School focus primarily on the Sunday morning experience. You can’t teach someone who is not there. (That’s debatable with today’s technology, but that could be the point of another blog article.) The focus becomes internal.
In Power UP Your Sunday School, Bob Mayfield defines Sunday School as “a small group of people who gather for…Bible study, Friendship and fellowship, Prayer, Ministry, and Outreach and service to friends and neighbors.” In a Sunday morning focused Sunday School: Who are they teaching? Who does the class primarily have friendship and fellowship with? Who are they praying for? Who are they ministering too? Are they reaching out to anyone? The answer is to those that regularly attend.
Bible Study, friendship and fellowship, prayer, ministry, and outreach and service to friends and neighbors are all tasks of the Sunday School. The Sunday School should be doing all of these things. The solution to changing lives is to not be internally focus on those who attend but externally focused. The philosophy must become the People who aren’t there are just as important as the people who are there. If the Sunday School ministry is to be a strategy to help the church fulfill its purpose, the Sunday School must become more than a Sunday morning business. The work of reaching, ministering, and encouraging people in their spiritual growth primarily is done through the week.
My Dad, who was Sunday School Director for my home church for thirty-five years, told me, “Sunday School Work is hard work.” Sunday morning only classes rarely help the Sunday School accomplish its primary mission of winning people to Christ. It’s easier but the rewards for utilizing Sunday School as a team of people on mission for God are eternally worth it.