Monday, August 01, 2016

Church Growth Through Sunday School

I am an education guy! I earnestly believe education has the power to change people in profound ways and alter the course of their lives for the better. Combining education with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the change in the lives of people is eternal. I was encouraged to receive Michael Broadwater’s email on April 27th of this year informing us that our theme over the course of the next few years in the Valdosta Baptist Association will be “Pathway to Church Growth.” Like you, I am excited about our upcoming meeting in October where we will hear about starting the coming year with “Personal Soul Winning: From the Pulpit to the Pew.”

I immediately began to consider how the Education and Evangelism ministries of Northside could support these emphases. Sunday School should be doing three things: reaching people, teaching people, and ministering to people. That sounds pretty simple and in reality, it is! I have yet to hear of a Sunday School class that does not minister to the needs of their members upon learning about those needs. Meals, hospital visits, or just sitting with someone dealing with the trials of life, Sunday School classes are wonderful about meeting the needs of members of their classes.

Sunday School is the discipleship ministry of our church. There may be other Bible studies in addition to Sunday School or your church may call this ministry something else such as small groups but the function is the same. We gather together regularly to systematically learn more about the word of God. I am excited to be working with Michael on innovative ways we can deliver Sunday School training to more of our VBA churches to help increase the effectiveness of the teaching aspect of this vital part of our education ministries.

What about the third part of Sunday School: reaching people? This is a critical part of our Sunday School ministry that can become neglected. There is the part that focuses on reaching in towards our own people who have not been to church recently (or simply missed last week) we need to tend to. There is also the reaching out to friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc. and inviting them church. In a typical Southern Baptist church, the Sunday morning worship service remains the primary way people come into our churches but it shouldn’t be the only way. Roughly, eight out of ten people will come to church if personally invited by someone they know!

I am humbled by the privilege of serving as your VBA Sunday School Director and look forward to getting to know the ministers of our association.

**This article originally appeared in the August newsletter for the Valdosta Baptist Association (VBA) which is published monthly.