This is part 3 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 not forget the vital behaviors that must happen to be a live and connecting SAC Sunday school.
Sunday school small groups are to:
- Connect people to Jesus by inviting and bringing our friends, relatives, and neighbors to Sunday school and by sharing the gospel and equipping members to share their faith
- Connect people to His Truth by teaching the Bible for life change and obedience
- Connect people to community by caring for and serving each other as Christ commanded and by serving others in our community and world
- Connect people to mission by developing and equipping future leaders to start new groups of all ages and then starting new groups
What grade would you give your class on each of the behaviors above?
I want to discuss with you the last vital behavior, connecting people to Christ’s mission. Christ’s mission is very clear in the Bible. Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” If we are going to make disciples of all nations and teach them to follow his commands, it is going to have to be done in small groups. It will not happen in worship services.
Let me share a story of a SAC church doing this very thing. My office did an Acts 1:8 SAC church growth conference in the Johnston Marshal Association a few years ago. At the end of the session the church leadership from Coleman Baptist caught the vision of starting new classes and decided to start an adult class the very next day. They chose the teacher, shared where they would meet, went home and started calling people. Their Sunday school doubled from 10 to 20 in one week. In 2006 their average worship attendance was 20 and their average Sunday school attendance was 10. In 2007 it was 30 in worship and 24 in SS. In 2008 it grew to 36 in worship and 34 in SS. In the 2011 ACP report they recorded an average worship attendance of 67 and average SS attendance of 48 and baptized 12 souls. Also, their offerings went from $22,279 in 2006 to $139,236 in 2011.
Do you want to turn your church around? START NEW SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES!
- Teach life changing Bible study and model it for your teachers.
- Teach a class.
- Train and equip leaders.
- Care for your class members and the community around your church.
- Invite and bring people to church.
- Share the gospel
- Equip members of your class to share their faith.
May God bless you and increase your church by getting back to the basics.