A Big Hurdle to Growing a Sunday School

As State Sunday School Director, I believe one of the biggest hurdles facing most of our churches is the belief that the purpose of Sunday School is to teach the Bible. In order to change your Sunday School, re-examine the purpose of Sunday School. The church must be challenged to understand that Sunday School’s purpose is not to teach the Bible. We teach the Bible to accomplish the purpose of Sunday School. The purpose is to change lives.

Sunday School classes and members that believe the purpose of Sunday School is just teaching relegate Sunday School to become a Sunday morning business, teaching those who show up, ministering to those who show up, praying for those who show up, and fellowshipping with those who show up. Rarely do these Sunday School and churches see sustained growth.

My dad always told me, As the Sunday School goes, so goes the church. If all the Sunday School is doing is teaching, praying, ministering and fellowshipping to those who show up, how’s the church doing? Sunday School leaders should read David Francis’s new book, Connect3, available at your local Lifeway book store or free from http://www.lifeway.com. David stresses that classes are either on a class, community, or commission level. I believe that every Sunday School needs to have some key classes to move from simply being a class level for Sunday School to become a strategy that helps the church fulfill the Great Commission.

Some Actions that could be implemented to re-examine the purpose of Sunday School.

a. Have a Sunday School Focus Day.
b. Weave illustrations for Sunday School into your sermons.
c. Participate in Training events, such as Sunday School University.
d. Tell stories from other churches that are growing.
e. Encourage individual Sunday School classes to conduct fellowships and service projects. Invite the unenrolled church members and worship attendees to participate in these outings.
f. Improve your enlistment process for Sunday School leaders in order to insure that new and existing leaders understand the church’s vision for Sunday School and what is needed from every leader to accomplish that vision.


About drmarkmiller

I serve as the Sunday School, Discipleship, Small Groups Specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention
This entry was posted in Evangelism. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A Big Hurdle to Growing a Sunday School

  1. Great article, Mark. You have such a positive view of the power and value of Sunday School. Thank you for sharing.

  2. pastor says:

    Excellent Mark! Thanks for a simply-stated analysis of the church’s number one problem with Sunday School and how to solve it.

  3. Chas says:

    On the money my man. As I taught the Outreach Conference as part of SSU I realized that most of those there were in classes that were just happy to teach those who showed up, and that is easy because the classes are so large that it doesn’t matter if there are a few absent and that there are no people in the class who are not Christians or members. It is not teaching lessons it is reaching, teaching, winning, and growing men, women, boys, and girls to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Part of that is also the results of classes that have been together so long they are comfortable with who they have and don’t want to expend any energy in making new relationships. Grouping and grading is a thing of the past.

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