As a Sunday School teacher, it is imperative that you know your purpose. Why do you study all week, make phone calls, and teach on Sunday mornings? In an average year, I will lead about 50 Sunday School seminars. In most of those seminars, I will ask the participants what they believe is the purpose of Sunday School. The top three answers, in order, are:
- Bible study
All of them are wonderful answers, and all of them are wrong answers. The purpose of Sunday School is to help the church carry out its mission of making disciples all over the world! Now that is a great mission. In fact, if you want to put the purpose of Sunday School in modern terms, read Colossians 1:13. Did you see that "rescue" word? Your Sunday School class, whether it is a senior adult class or a newborn class, is part of the greatest rescue mission in world history. We are part of our Leader's rescue mission to save lost and perishing souls from a Christ-less eternity and bring them into a personal relationship with Jesus.
My friend Ed Stetzer says that each expression of the church owns the mission of the church. Back in the old days, we used to say that the Sunday School is the church organized to accomplish its mission. Ed is saying the same thing, but in a different way. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus says that our mission is to "make disciples". One of the most effective ways of making disciples is by gathering together in small groups for Bible study, prayer, ministry and evangelism.
So why is knowing your purpose so important? Because when you know your purpose i.e., the mission of your class or group, then it helps you prioritize what you are doing. Knowing your purpose also helps you evaluate how you are doing. Understanding your mission gives direction to where you are going.
Knowing Your Mission
What you are doing;
How you are doing;
Where you are going.
We are going to be sharing more over the next 31 days about some practical things that you can implement to help you have a better Sunday School. But if you miss this most important first step – the purpose of your Sunday School class – you missed it completely. Even if you develop some wonderful teaching skills over the next 31 days, if you miss the purpose of your class's existence, then you are "leaning your ladder against the wrong building". So as you pick up a useful idea this month, make sure that you are using it to help your lead your class or group to be on mission with God.
Tomorrow, we are going to share about a great technique to help the people in your class move beyond the dreaded SSA – "Sunday School Answer".