This is part 2 of 5 in the Sunday School in the smaller attendance church series. In my ministry context of Oklahoma, 1200 of our 1800 churches have less than 100 people in attendance. Sunday School in smaller attendance churches is done a little differently than in say, a megachurch of 3,000. Today’s post (and the rest of the articles in this series) is from my friend Jim Brunk. Jim is the Associational, Smaller in Attendance Church (SAC) Outreach Specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Jim has pastored smaller attendance churches, and these churches have grown under his leadership.
Let us review the vital behaviors that must happen to be a live and connecting SAC Sunday school.
Sunday school small groups are to connect:
1. People to Jesus
a. We invite and bring our friends, relatives, and neighbors to Sunday School
b. We share the gospel and equip the members to share their faith
2. People to His Truth
a. We teach the Bible for life change and obedience
3. People to His Community
a. We care for and serve each other as Christ commanded
b. We serve others in our community and world
4. People to His Mission
a. We develop and equip future leaders to start new groups of all ages
b. We start new groups
Today, I want to share with you about the second point in our vital behaviors list, connecting people to the truth. You might ask, “Why are you even asking the question? Why teach the Bible in Sunday School? Don’t we know that?” Yes, we do know it but do we put it in practice? After thirty years of observations I have realized that we have a lot of Sunday school classes spending very little time in life changing Bible study. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Life change doesn’t happen unless God’s Holy Spirit and His Word are planted in the minds and hearts of people, and then He gives the increase. Good stories will not change a life. Prayer requests are vital but will not change a life. Coffee and fellowship are important but they will not change a life. Only His Word will change a life. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” II Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Pastors, we need to be training our teachers to study the Bible and show them how to prepare a lesson as well as teach it for life change. We have some good teachers, I have been in their classes, but we also have some that are not well-prepared. Pastors and teachers, II Timothy 2:15 says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” Teacher, be prepared to teach a minimum of thirty minutes in your Sunday school class for older children on up. Children and youth teachers, break up the teaching times and use creative ways to teach, not just lecture. But, by all means teach the Bible for life change.