During part of the last two weeks, a team of five persons from Kentucky (including myself) have spent time in Tanzania strengthening our partnership with the convention leadership there. The meetings were a good reminder that the same God we serve north of the equator is also served on the other side of the world. Pursuit of the Great Commission applies on every continent (maybe with the exception of Antartica). And the time there was a good reminder that we need to move Sunday School from mediocre to revolutionary all over the world.
I spent time with the newly elected Sunday School director for Tanzania. Paul is a school teacher with a degree in Theology. And while he is young, he seems to have a good grasp of what needs to happen on Sunday morning. He is eager to learn as was evidenced by his many good questions. We did not have time to talk in much depth about what should happen related to classes beyond Sunday, but I could tell he understood why it was important. You will find Sunday School in most of the Baptist churches in Tanzania.
Like many classes in Kentucky, the class I attended with Paul (at Magomeni Baptist Church, the oldest Baptist church in Tanzania, where Paul is a member and the Sunday School director) was led by a teacher who primarily lectured. He did ask three or four good questions to apply the lesson, especially at the end. At lunch when Paul asked me what I thought about how the teacher had taught, my response began with the positives. The teacher was passionate, appeared well-prepared, and did involved attenders through questions.
One of the comments that Paul made was that many teachers in Tanzania are more lecturers than facilitators. They tend to preach a sermon before the worship service. Paul and his pastor believe that Sunday School is essential to help Christians apply God's truth to their lives. And this takes interaction. They need time to think. The teacher needs to take advantage of their experiences and insights. For additional thoughts about how a teacher can be a facilitator, check out The Best Adult Sunday School Teachers Are Facilitators. Paul is fortunate to have a pastor who is as knowledgable and supportive of the Sunday School.
Is your Sunday School revolutionary? Do your teachers involve their members in the Bible study session? What can you do to move Sunday School from mediocre or okay to revolutionary and life-changing? Write it down. Pray about it. Share your thoughts with others. Begin taking small but important steps for God through your Sunday School. Be revolutionary!