What you Believe about Sunday School, determines how you See Sunday School. How you see Sunday School, determines how you Lead Sunday School. Leaders and members primarily view Sunday School in one of three ways. Many churches see their Sunday School as an Assimilation Tool.
If you were to attend the church that I am a member of, you would be encouraged to join a Connect Group. In reality, the Connect Group is another name for Sunday School, but the name does emphasize that the pastor and staff see Sunday School as an Assimilation Tool. Building quality relationships with members, attendees, and prospects is the objective.
In other to accomplish this goal, members become ministers and teachers are viewed as pastor-teachers. The class list becomes a ministry list. New members and Guests are assigned to the class. The groups exercise the one another’s in the Bible, such as love one another, care for one another, bear one anothers burdens, encourage one another, etc.
People are missed when absent. Groups plan formal and informal opportunities for building relationships. Spiritual gifts are discovered and additional class leaders are enlisted, such as Fellowship Leaders, Care Group Leaders, Prayer leaders.
Lost people find these classes to be accepting and provide a safe place for them to belong before they believe. Stories and testimonies of how members and non members were touched by the class are shared. Why? Because the pastors, Sunday School directors, and teachers recognize that “Life change best happens in the context of small community groups.”
Many times leaders fail to lead and they simply point. They allow classes to grow so large that ministry is encumbered, the class becomes so connected that reproducing new classes and leaders is discouraged, classes turn inward and really do not want new people. When leaders fail to lead and simply point, Sunday School can become inward. When this happens, Sunday School is “reduced to a stagnant pool of introverted groups that look primarily to their own needs and interests and ignores the plight of the unsaved.”*
Building quality relationships is a worthy goal. In fact, Lifeway Research discovered that Transformation Churches value Relational Intentionality. A foundation to using Sunday School as an assimilation tool is a satisfying Bible Study experience each week. If you see Sunday School as an assimilation tool, lead don’t point.
To read another view on Sunday School, click here:
*Ken Hemphill, Revitalizing the Sunday Morning Dinosaur