Over the last three or four decades, Sunday School Enrollment and Sunday School Attendance have steadily and consistently declined. There were a few bumps of growth, but the trend line has been heading down. Over the last several years God has challenged me to try and simplify what the average church needs to do to move toward a healthy, growing Sunday School. As I understand it, the average church in Louisiana has a worship attendance around 67. With the help of a focus group of Pastors, Directors of Mission, other staff and some lay leaders, we have developed the Sunday School Challenge. (You can find and download resources that will explain how your Church can participate in the Sunday School Challenge at LouisianaBaptists.org/SSC).
The goal of the Sunday School Challenge is to provide the Pastor and Sunday School Champions a tool to equip teachers and other leaders to develop a healthy, growing Sunday School class or Small Group. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (HCSB)
The Pastor can lead his congregation to accomplish three primary objectives through the Sunday School Challenge. They are: Reach and Enroll New People, Teach Toward Changed Lives, and Involve Members in Ongoing Ministry. The Sunday School Challenge seeks to engage every teacher/leader of every class to set a minimum of 3 goals during The Challenge. After setting goals, each class will develop a plan to accomplish the goals they have established with the help of their Sunday School Champion.
The Secret to a successful campaign is the Sunday School Champion(s). These wonderful leaders in your church will work with the Pastor to influence and encourage others to join God in accomplishing the three objectives listed above. Check out the Sunday School Challenge Guide for more information about the Sunday School Champion(s).
At the conclusion of The Challenge, the Pastor, in conjunction with the Sunday School Champion(s) will recognize and/or give rewards to the classes who have achieved their goals. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:6 (CSB Bible) This verse skillfully reminds us that God gives the growth. Nonetheless, Paul planted and Apollos watered. We are to do our part. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me. John 15:5 (CSB Bible) This gentle reminder should encourage us to be faithful and obedient to do and accomplish what God desires.
We celebrate what God has done and we reward and affirm those who worked toward accomplishing the objectives God has given us.
Honestly, there is nothing new in the Sunday School Challenge. Unfortunately, too many of our churches are not practicing these clear and effective principles in building a healthy, growing Sunday School. Why not lead your church to participate in the Sunday School Challenge?
Head to the website LouisianaBaptists.org/SSC now and download your guide to the Sunday School Challenge. Let us know when you plan to lead your church in moving toward a healthy, growing Sunday School.
Sean Keith is the Sunday School/Discipleship Strategist for the Louisiana Baptist Convention. More resources can be found at LouisianaBaptists.org/churchgrowth/.