Giving Attention to the Two Doors of the Sunday School

Monday 17th November, 2008

Many Sunday School classes give good attention to what happens on Sunday morning. The teacher prepares well. The announcement and prayer time is well done. The lesson is presented with passion and thoroughness. Some classes even greet members and guests well. Moments of fellowship are enjoyed before, during, and after class. And yet there is so much more.

My conference in Ohio over the weekend reminded me that revolutionary Sunday School cannot ignore the two doors of the Sunday School: the front door and the back door. No, I am not talking about the physical room having two doors. But I am talking about people entering and leaving the class.

You see, much potential work for revolutionary Sunday School should take place between Sundays. Let's focus for a few minutes on the work that needs to take place between Sundays on the front door and the back door:

  • FRONT DOOR. Many classes enjoy being together. They have good fellowship with each other. But there is no plan or focus on bringing more people into the class. They are content the way things are. No goals have been set. No plan have been made for inviting friends, relatives, associates, or neighbors. Fellowship activities are planned, but no prospects are invited. Contact information is not collected when guests attend because there will be no attempt to follow up. Prayer for lost and unchurched people is general, and no one is prayed for by name. The class might give money to minister in time of need to a person who is not a member of the class, but it would not be an attempt to begin a relationship that was expected to continue. Ouch! That is not what revolutionary Sunday School is about! Revolutionary classes care. They know that care is spelled W-O-R-K. And they consider the time and energy required to care to be invested well.
  • BACK DOOR. As I said above, many classes enjoy beging together. But everyone in these classes is on his/her own. What I mean is that they fellowship with the group that shows up on Sunday. If someone misses, the group may wonder out loud about where the absentee is, but no one checks on him or her. If someone is sick, they may pray for him or her (during class), but don't expect them to visit the hospital or bring food to the home. And don't expect prayer between Sundays. If a person misses enough Sundays, don't be surprised if the absentee/dropout is removed from the roll. Fellowships are announced in class and no attempts are made to share that information with any who are not in class that day.

With but a little prayer and effort at care, most of our Sunday School classes could move from plateaued or declining. We could move from giving God and the sheep in our care a mediocre effort to giving Him and them our best. Which is your weakness: front or back door? Focus on one until you get it going well (even if both need work). Then when your class has that door working, focus on the other one. Reach out. Follow up. Minister. Contact. Care! Be revolutionary!

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