I sense a growing movement of unrest in Sunday School today. It is not just with leaders in the movement, it is a sense of unrest that finds its roots in the people who belong to Sunday School classes or groups all over our country. Simply stated, there has got to be more to Sunday School than sitting in a class for the rest of my life!
There is! Your Sunday School group is meant to be more than a holding tank for the saints. Your group is actually how your church is organized to carry out its mission to make disciples of all people groups all over the world. I hope that is a big enough challenge for you!
Simply put, your Sunday School or small group is how your church is supposed to be organized to fulfill the Great Commission. You do this, not by having designer coffee and Krispy Kreme donuts in your groupmeeting every week, but by organizing your group to reach out into your community and your world with the Gospel of Christ.
Did you really think that sitting in a huddle once a week in Bible study was your group’s ultimate reality? Your group’s cause (and ultimately your personal cause) is to be the hands and feet of Jesus in your neighborhood, your workplace, your school, and around the planet.
I am winding up an interim as the education minister at Northwest Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. We have challenged our LifeGroups (Sunday School groups) to go beyond the Sunday morning huddle. We are asking each LifeGroup to do the following five things:
- Minister to everyone in the group every week (proactive rather than reactionary ministry)
- Adopt an unreached people group (the 6426 Project)
- Adopt a homeroom at a nearby middle school
- Start a new group
- Lead at least one person to Christ this year
While the first challenge is focused on ourselves (ministering to each other), the remaining four all address reaching out to other who are unchurched. Three of these challenges require the group to organize itself for mission in the neighborhood and beyond.
We call it “missional Sunday School”. Missional Sunday School is more than just organizing your groups to do missions, although that is part of it. First, missional Sunday School is about a strategy to impact lostness across the street and across the world through the church’s small group structure. Second, missional Sunday School is about turning members into missionaries. Ultimately, we want to impact lostness with the Gospe, but we also want to impact church members with the Gospel as well. I believe that this latter challenge is missing in many of our church’s small group strategies. The Gospel is not just the diving boa