Two important announcements:
1. I look forward to seeing all who are interested in coming to our next Sunday School Leadership meeting on Wednesday, September 5th at 7pm.
2. Due to the holiday weekend we will move our Department Director’s meeting to Sunday, September 9th at the regular time.
The fun stuff:
Ed Stetzer is president of the research department of Lifeway Christian Resources, and a prolific writer. In addition to providing some of the most insightful analysis of church related research available today, he also contributes great insight to church leaders regarding Sunday School small group ministries. In this week’s post, I would like to highlight 4 points that he makes from a recent article about how Sunday School classes change lives. You can read the whole article here. Below are 4 points on the life changing qualities of Sunday School…with my commentary.
1. Connectable: Small groups connect people in relationships. According to William Hendricks in Exit Interviews, one common reason given by people who leave churches is a failure to connect in relationship. Small groups provide a comfortable environment for newcomers to connect.
My thought: You may be thinking,”Tell me something I don’t hear every time we have a leadership meeting.” I know, we say all the time that Sunday School is where people connect and don’t get lost in the crowd. This is a simple and profound truth that we just can’t lose sight of, and one that bears repeating. One of the most exciting things that I witness at PSBC is how every week we have new guests who come to our worship service. Every Week. This causes me to be both excited and anxious. It excites me because that’s a bunch of new people who could join our fellowship and serve the Kingdom alongside us at PSBC. It makes me anxious because if we don’t follow-up well, that’s a lot of people over time that will have slipped through the cracks. Join me in committing to diligently follow-up with guests so that no one leaves our church because they never connected to a small group.
2. Reproducible: In human growth, multiplication allows the cell to become multiple cells, which allows change and growth to occur. Similarly, for growth to occur in the church, people groups must continuously grow and multiply. Small groups are more easily multiplied than large groups.
My thought: This Sunday we will begin 2 new Sunday School small groups. Both groups are growing mostly out of classes that were started themselves not long ago. We have had a record-breaking attendance level this summer. Our overall Sunday School attendance has increased every year for 6 years in a row. God is blessing us with healthy groups that are improving in how they care for one another and enjoying rich fellowship and Bible study. What this means is that we have a tradition of being a good Sunday School, and have the opportunity to grow into a great one. Depending on the Lord for blessings, and sticking to our simple shared values that make Sunday School W.O.R.K will get us there.
3. Assimilative: Just as small groups connect newcomers to the church through relationships, small groups assimilate members to ministry through service. As people in small groups grow in relationship together, they will readily serve alongside others and integrate into ministry opportunities.
My thought: The Sunday School is not JUST a ministry of the church. It IS THE CHURCH organized to mobilize in ministry. I want to begin highlighting local ministry opportunities at our leadership meetings. Would you consider leading your group in prayerfully considering how it could mobilize in ministry around our community?
4. Transformative: Small groups allow individuals to experience faster and deeper personal transformation through authentic community. For non-Christian seekers, small groups provide a safe setting to ask questions in a community of people who also wrestle and struggle. Thus, when they do come to faith in Christ, they are more likely to experience authentic life-change having been in and remaining in community.
My thought: Translation: real life happens in Sunday School small groups. We celebrate life’s joys together, we care for each other in times of struggle, we pray for each other’s needs, we apply the bible to real concerns, and enjoy real blessings from it all. The growth and life change God wants to bring about in us doesn’t happen in a test tube, it happens in the real world. It happens when we get real with God and one another in Sunday School. God’s plan is to use the community of believers to care for and disciple one another.
Thank you for your hard work and commitment to the values that make Sunday School W.O.R.K.!