I occasionally find people who are ready to hand me a shovel to help bury Sunday School. It doesn't work; it's washed up; it's passe. To be quite honest, I have been in a few Sunday School classes that I would have gladly taken that shovel and started digging! But before we put a eulogy in tomorrow's paper, let me share some good news with you… Sunday School (or whatever name you call it) is alive and well. Let me give you a few thoughts that might make you think twice before calling that guy with bagpipes over to play "Amazing Grace".
At a meeting of State Sunday School Directors recently (those are guys who lead the small group/Sunday School ministries at Baptist state conventions), our keynote speaker, Daryl Eldridge, made the following comment. "Whatever you lead and put effort into will grow. Whatever you ignore will die." As I've considered this statement, I think he's right. As a general rule, we all know that when a leader gives something his time and attention, that area of ministry thrives. Ignoring an area of ministry however, is almost certainly the kiss of death. (interpretation: get the shovels ready)
This is not just an issue for pastors, Sunday School directors, and ministers of education. This issue is also important for a class teacher or a small group leader. As a teacher, when an area of your class is not receiving attention, that area will ultimately get sick and the disease will spread to other areas of the class. For example, suppose a teacher has not led their class to be evangelistic and invite friends and neighbors to the group. The attitude of the class will ultimately turn inward. Once a class turns this direction, it has the smell of death to those who visit the group. Without new people in the group, no class can survive for too long.
But when a pastor, or a teacher, is giving Sunday School their attention and leadership; things begin to change. Let's face it folks – leadership brings change! As much as many of us hate change, it brings a freshness and vitality with it that is invigorating. Jesus was a leader. When Jesus appears on the scene, just about any scene, things start to change. A meal of fish and chips feeds 5,000. Jesus takes a hike.. on water! Lame men walk. Lepers lose their spots. Lazarus comes back from the dead. And… a small group of disciples change the world!
I want to encourage you. Your class is probably not ready for burial. Pastor or Sunday School director - some attention and leadership to your Sunday School will, through God's power, change it into something better, much better! If you want your Sunday School or small groups to thrive, then give them your leadership.