When I look around my part of the world, I realize we have not been successful in "making disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). I see loneliness, purposelessness, sin, hopelessness, and selfishness for which Jesus is the answer. While church and Sunday School attendance will not make you a disciple of Christ, in the community of believers you are more likely to continue to grow in Him and to serve Him in the world.
Sunday School is a great tool of community. It is a great tool for honest searching together in God's Word for His guidance, will, ways, and our purpose. It is a great place in which to discover our need for Him and to accept what He has done for us on the cross. It is a great launching point for finding a place to serve Him in the church, community, and world. It is a continual reminder of other sheep who are not there (John 10:16) but for whom Jesus gave His life. Sunday School is a launching point for sharing our faith in our daily interactions.
So, why are we not inviting people every day to join us in Sunday School? There certainly are plenty out there to invite. Yes, some will say "no." But some will say "yes." In fact, some are waiting to be invited. And some will attend, accept Jesus, and stay. Some will become teachers, leaders, and deacons. Some will grow and tithe and minister. Some will serve and participate in mission trips. Some will change the world. So, why don't you invite them?
I want to extend the challenge to you to increase your Sunday School enrollment. Add people to your class rolls. Invite people to join. People like to be invited. Are you a teacher, challenge your class to increase the number of people on your list. Are you a pastor or director? Challenge your teachers to increase their enrollment. Need some ideas about how to challenge them? Here are a few ideas:
- set a numerical goal for the year, or for a quarter, or for a month
- ask them to pray and invite relatives, neighbors, friends, and associates to enroll
- have a contest with another class, age group, or church about who will contact and enroll the most people in a period of time
- set out an open chair every Sunday at the end of class to remind them to invite someone to fill the chair
- ask the church office for the names of prospects who attend worship that you may invite to join your class
- invite prospects to your class fellowships and then to class
- assign class members to sections of the Sanctuary and befriend guest worship attenders who would fit in your class to enroll
- ask the church office for names of church members who are not enrolled in Sunday School--then pray and invite
- provide bottles of water at a soccer game with an invitation to Sunday School on the bottles
- give class attenders pocket sized enrollment cards to ask people along their path to enroll
- teach class members to share their Sunday School testimony with people along their path, inviting listeners to enroll
- challenge your class to start a new class to reach the younger half or older half of your age group (or another age group)--new classes often reach new people faster than existing classes
You can probably think of a dozen more ideas. Stop thinking and start inviting! Personally accept the challenge. Extend the challenge to others. We have a long way to go to "make disciples of all nations." Let's conquer the task by reaching on e person at a time, one day at a time. Set goals. Develop relationships. Invite people.
About 50% of those enrolled in Sunday School attend each week, but a much smaller percentage of those not enrolled attend (duh!). So, let's invite them to enroll. Love them. Care for them. Contact them. Fellowship with them. Be revolutionary and allow God to work through you this week!