With God All Things Are Possible
By Rodney L. Pry, P.S.S.S.A. Executive Director
The story is told of a woodpecker that was pecking at an old tree during a thunderstorm. As his beak was pounding away, the tree was struck by lightning, splitting the dead tree right in half. After recovering from the surprise of the moment, the woodpecker stood back, looked at what had happened and proudly said to himself, “Wow, look what I just did!”
Many times we tend to dwell on the negative things that are happening in Sunday school, but as I look across Pennsylvania I see many great things happening in hundreds of Sunday schools!
As you look at your own church and Sunday school, what good and positive things do you see happening?
As you see your attendance growing or see a new Sunday school class being started, how do you react? Do you, like the woodpecker in the story above, pat yourself on the back and say, “Wow, look what I just did,” or do you see that, indeed, there are forces at work here far greater than yourself?
For many years I have expressed the belief that things like poor Sunday school attendance and problems finding Sunday school teachers and workers are not so much problems in and of themselves as they are indications of deeper, much bigger problems. Specifically, I believe that they often indicate real spiritual problems that exist within the church or within the lives of the individual members.
How can we expect persons to have a real hunger to learn more about God, His Word and His will if they are not really committed to Him? On the other hand, just like the young lover who reads and re-reads a letter from his or her sweetheart to find out everything possible about the object of their affection, when Jesus Christ is truly number one in our lives, we will do all that we can to learn more about Him and how we can serve Him. We will want to read His Word, the Bible, every day. We will want to talk with Him often in prayer. We will want to come together with other followers to study His Word in depth in Sunday school. And, we will want to share the Good News of His love with everyone that we meet.
All of us would like to see our Sunday schools grow, but how do we go about it? What is the real key? Is it reorganizing our class structure? Is it organizing new Sunday school classes? Is it using a good Sunday school enlargement campaign? Each of these can be effectively used to help bring about Sunday school growth, but I don’t believe that they are the most important element. What is? Spiritual renewal!
If we really want to see our Sunday school and other Christian education programs grow, we must first work to make sure that each of our members, young and old, has truly made Jesus Christ number one in their lives.
Before you can really see Sunday school growth, you must work to bring about spiritual renewal and growth within your congregation. You need to encourage every member to read their Bible daily. You need to encourage each person to pray often. You need to encourage parents to hold time of family prayer and devotions each day. You need to encourage each of your members to be involved in a program of Bible study and prayer. Perhaps your pastor could preach on the theme of spiritual renewal. And, you might even want to plan a series of special spiritual renewal services with a guest evangelist.
The real question is one of commitment. What are you committed to? If it’s making money or your job, that’s where you’ll put your primary efforts. If it’s Jesus Christ, you will do all that you can to learn more about Him and His will for your life. And, if Jesus Christ is really number one in your life, you will want to see all persons come together in Sunday school to learn more about Him.
So, as good things happen in your church and Sunday school, don’t forget that God’s might hand has a major part in all that you do. And, as you want to work to make your Sunday school even better and more effective in its work, don’t forget the most important element – God! Without Him, we can do nothing! But, with Him, all things are possible!