Whose Sunday School Is It, Anyway?
By Rodney L. Pry, P.S.S.S.A. Executive Director
How do you think of your Sunday school and your Sunday school class? Do you think about your Sunday school and church belonging to God or your minister? Do you think about your class as being your teacher’s? True, your church and everything about it does belong to God, and true, your minister, your Sunday school teacher and others play an important part as church leaders, but, again, who does your church, Sunday school and Sunday school class really belong to?
I recently read a book that I would highly recommend to all pastors, Sunday school leaders and teachers. The book is called “You Can Double Your Class in Two Years or Less,” by Josh Hunt (1997: Group Publishing). The book contains many down-to-earth ideas to help every Sunday school and Sunday school class grow, to the glory of God.
One of the first things that Mr. Hunt does in his book is to raise the question, “Who owns your class, anyway?” If we see our church, Sunday school and Sunday school class as being “theirs,” we are assuming that “they” will do all the work and that “they” will take responsibility for both spiritual and physical growth. But, if we see these things as being “ours,” we will take responsibility for them, too.
In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19 & 20), Jesus said that we should “Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples…” One of the key words here is the little two-letter word “GO!” “Go” is a word that signifies action. We aren’t to just sit there and do nothing. We are to “go” and to “do.” In other words, each of us, as followers of Christ, is expected to do our part as we do the things that God has called us to do.
It’ easy to say “they” should do this or that, but when we realize that we have a responsibility for getting things done in our church and Sunday school, we must realize that when we point a finger and say “they” should do something, we probably should be pointing right back at ourselves and say that “we” should be doing something.
As Mr. Hunt says in his book, “It is easier to make excuses than it is to make things happen. They don’t erect statues to people who make articulate and erudite excuses. But there are statues all over the world erected to people who make things happen.”
He also says, “God will hold us responsible for getting done what he wants us to get done.”
Yes, there’s an appropriate “chain of command” and proper procedures for doing things. There are some things that you, as an individual Sunday school member or even a Sunday school teacher cannot and should not do without going through proper channels. But, there are also many things that you can do. As a teacher, you can work to prepare better lessons and make your classes better, more relevant and more interesting. You can read books and Christian education magazines and attend Christian education workshops and seminars to become a better teacher. You can talk to the members of your Christian Education Committee and Church Board to tell them your needs and concerns and to share ideas about things that will help your Sunday school.
As an individual Sunday school member, you can share your love for Jesus Christ with others. You can tell friends, neighbors, family members and others about the value of Sunday school and invite them to join you in Sunday school. You can also be better prepared for each weekly Sunday school lesson and actively participate in each lesson.
Who owns your Sunday school? Even if you are not the pastor, a Sunday school teacher or other leader, it is YOURS!
Assume your position of ownership – take some responsibility for what is yours. Do your part to make your Sunday school all that it can be. After all, if you don’t do it, it might not get done!