When I posted my topic on Lifeway, most of the comments I received was about how the material wasn’t deep enough for Sunday School. Let me say first that I believe in Sunday School, I love Sunday School and I think it’s important, but it’s not the whole shebang. Sunday School is PART of the Discipleship Process. In most churches, people begin with a Worship Service. From there, they should move to Sunday School, and from there to a Discipleship Group. Worship Services explore theological issues, they are broad, they are designed for a giant mixed audience of believers, non-believers.
From there, we encourage people to go to Sunday School where they can interact and learn. The environment should be open to fellowship, prayer, ministry and Bible Study. Not deep, plumb the depth Bible Study, but practical Bible Study of how to live out God’s word. Mature believers should be helping the younger Christians, the new believers and encouraging in the discussion. Can you ever have too much dialogue based on Biblical text? Why do we have to plumb the depths? Maybe we as mature believers should be working with and along side new believers, instead of so focused on “what’s in this for me”.
Now, once a person is in Sunday School, they are reading the Bible, they are understanding things, they want more. Now it’s time to get them into a Discipleship group. This is where more mature believers can get deep into things, can really get into the depths of scripture. They learn and they mature so then can go back to Sunday School and lead others to get deep.
Our problems with Sunday School have become that we have stopped caring about the immature, we just want what we want. We have stopped trying to be open and inviting, we want a closed group Bible Study. We have stopped taking time to do Discipleship groups, we want it all on Sunday Morning. We have stopped thinking strategically, we are very linear and unilateral, we just want the people to act and think like us.
As a result, our Sunday Schools are dying. They are not serving the purpose for which they exist, they are becoming sudo Discipleship groups. The problem is a hour is not sufficient time for a good Discipleship group, you more time. We have tried make Sunday School something it’s not, and we are failing. My advice, get a plan that is more strategic, use Sunday School in conjunction with Worship and Discipleship groups and things will go so much easier. That is my opinion.