Should a Church Have High Expectations for Sunday School Classes?

Sunday 9th November, 2008

Why not? Some might argue as a result of high expectations that teachers and workers would be hard to find. Others may fear classes who would just give up. But what if instead of having negative impact, high expectations produced surprisingly positive results? What if teachers were challenged by the expectations, realized they had to trust God, and were willing to give their best? What if classes knew what they were supposed to do and did so with reckless abandon?

Isn't that what Jesus' disciples did? And isn't that what He expects of His disciples today? Let's release the power of His disciples mobilized as a Sunday School class. As churches, let's expect them to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Let's expect them to produce surprising results. This means the church needs to understand the potential for Sunday School classes and communicate high expectations for them to pursue that potential.

What expectations do you have for your classes? What expectations would be appropriate? How much is possible? What expectations are God-sized? How small should the steps be toward high expectations? How quickly can you move from low (or no) expectations toward high expecations? Each church will have to answer those questions individually.

As an example, allow me to share some simple expectations from Roswell United Methodist Church for an adult class. They are from a web page entitled Sunday School Class Recommendations and Guidelines for Class Leaders. What could happen as a result of the following expectations?

  • INVITATION - Classes should intentionally reach out to other adults - both within and outside our congregation - to include them in the Sunday school program. Here are some suggested ways and places to do that:
    • Always contact any prospects forwarded to the attention of your class
    • Plan to send a representative to new member gatherings as needed
    • Ask for permission to share about your class at the parent’s confirmation class
    • Always greet people when they join the church – and perhaps have class business cards to give them so they will have your vital information in written form
    • Share your excitement about your class with those you meet – in Bible study classes, in your neighborhood, with those you sit next to in worship
  • STUDY - Classes should plan regular opportunities to help class members to hear and interact with the Word of God.
  • FELLOWSHIP - Classes should intentionally schedule events and functions outside regular class time and allow sharing times within the class period in order to strengthen the fellowship and personal relationships of class members.
  • SERVICE - Classes should offer opportunities for outreach to encourage all members to take on the servant lifestyle of Jesus and to give regularly to the Lord’s work.
  • INVOLVEMENT - Class leaders should participate fully in Adult Council meetings and teacher training sessions, and encourage members to join them in congregation-wide activities.

Your list may look different from this list, but this one is a good start. What would you add? What would you leave out? What would you change? How could you begin to raise expectations? What is the potential? Give God your best. Be revolutionary!

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