In a series entitled Steps Toward Sunday School Change, Part 1, Steps Toward Sunday School Change, Part 2, and Steps Toward Sunday School Change, Part 3, I shared eight steps toward change: prayer, attention, evaluation, motivation, commitment, ownership, action, and repeat. I pointed out that leadership is the medium in which those steps are carried out. Without leadership, those steps will fail to be carried out.
In this series, I want to set each of those steps into the context of the class. Change is needed. Leadership to accomplish that change is needed. Most class change will be led by the teacher, but most class change will need to involve others in the class besides the teacher. In other words, ownership for the change will help create motivation and momentum for the change.
In order to illustrate these steps, let's assume one of several common class change scenario: leading the class to shift focus to prospects and people not in the class. The first step is prayer. The teacher personally spends time in prayer seeking God's leadership for himself/herself, the class, and the need for change. The teacher prays for lost people and specifically for one to three lost FRANs (friends, relatives, acquaintances, or neighbors). The teacher invests in relationship with these one to three individuals to discover prayer needs. When possible, the teacher asks for permission to pray with these individuals. Just the act of asking people how we can pray for them and then praying with them opens many relationships.
The example of the teacher is important at all levels of his or her leadership. The teacher can talk all he or she wants about focusing on people not in the class, but actions speak louder than words. That is why teacher-led prayer in class should regularly contain passionate concern for the lost and unchurched and especially for the teacher's FRANs. The teacher will want to challenge the class to focus their prayer on specific individuals.
A youth class in Oklahoma became concerned about lost people and made a class poster listing those who needed Jesus. As the class prayed for these people, some accepted Jesus. The person who added the lost person to the list was given the privilege of crossing the person off the list. Two teens accepted Jesus who were the grade of the class, and they proudly asked to have their picture taken next to the poster on which their names had been crossed out.
A teacher will regularly want to challenge class members to share about their FRANs and what they are facing as a reminder of the need to pray for them specifically. Prayer should precede our actions. Prayer should empower our ideas and efforts. As the class prays for lost people, their hearts for lost people will be softened and their feet will become more naturally aligned in the direction to reach out and help.
What change does God desire for your class? The place to begin the change is in prayer. Pray for the change. Lead others to join you in praying. Listen to God. Follow His leadership. Be revolutionary!
For more ideas about prayer, check out these blog posts:
- Pray for God to Use Sunday School
- Is Your Class a Praying Class?
- Don’t Just ASK Your Sunday School Class to Pray, TEACH Them to DO It, Part 1 and Don’t Just ASK Your Sunday School Class to Pray, TEACH Them to DO It, Part 2
- Helping Sunday School to Focus on Prayer for Outreach
- Contract Prayer as a Sunday School Class
- Leading Attenders to Meet God in Bible Study, Part 3
- Groups Creating Community, Part 1
- Sunday School and the Law of Large Numbers
- A Key Question to Deeper Sunday School Relationships
- Grow Your Sunday School: Part 2, Steps for Inviting New People
- Sunday School Effectiveness Begins with Prayer and Evaluation
- Sunday School Change Is Needed But Should Not Be Rushed
- Giving Attention to the Two Doors of the Sunday School
- Adult Sunday School Teacher Evaluation, Part 1
- Care Groups: Prayer, Ministry, Assimilation, and Invitation