Ken Braddy Director of Sunday School at LifeWay
In many churches, Sunday School (or as David Francis says, “It’s functional equivalent by another name”) is what we call a “Step 2″ strategy. For many congregations, having people attend the worship service is “Step 1,” and moving those persons into a smaller group for Bible study is Step 2.
If Sunday School (insert whatever name youcall your church’s teaching ministry) is to be an effective step 2 strategy, here are some ways to lift up its importance during your church’s worship service. If you aren’t on your church’s leadership team, send them this post and encourage them to bring Sunday School to the forefront of people’s minds. Here are 10 ways to do that in the worship service:
1. Pray for a class and its teacher each week
2. Interview an individual or a family about the things they enjoy about their Bible study group (do this once a quarter)
3. Have a commissioning service where you pray for all of the teachers at the start of a new Sunday School year (usually in August)
4. Preach a sermon series on the importance of groups, Bible study, and connecting with one another
5. Use the worship bulletin to feature a group and its teacher each week…a short bio on the group leader, where the class meets, the Bible study materials they use, etc.
6. Create a special registration card (or include it in your guest information section of the worship bulletin) in which people can specifically request to be connected to a Bible study group
7. If your adult groups use the same curriculum, preview the upcoming sessions and units of study occasionally to create interest
8. Preach a sermon series that aligns with your adult groups’ curriculum (if the majority teach from the same series) – and encourage guests and unconnected members to give a Sunday School group a try
9. Encourage guests to stay and connect with a Bible study group since they are on campus already
10. Encourage time-compressed people to attend a Bible study group instead of the worship service. I have served with several pastors who have encouraged people to get involved in a smaller group if they only have one hour to give on Sunday mornings. Pastors know that people are more likely to be around for the long haul if they are in a group.
There are more ways than these to lift up the importance of your “step 2” strategy. I’d be curious to hear from you about how your church calls attention to Sunday School and gets people moving in that direction.