No, no, I don't mean that we need to stop doing Sunday School. Sunday School is still a great tool when done right and well. But in order to be more effective, Sunday School does need to stop. Sunday School needs to stop in at least three ways. Consider the following:
STOP TO PRAY. Sunday School is without power and direction without prayer. It may be that you are practicing the admonition of Paul to "pray without ceasing." Great! But often Sunday School is not a part of the prayer conversation. Stopping to set aside a special time periodically to pray can remind people to pray daily. Stop to pray for Sunday School, leaders, reaching efforts, and disciple-making. Pray for insight into needs, problems, and vision. Pray for courage, compassion, and leadership. Pray during a retreat, before Sunday School, and as a part of regular activities. Pray weekly (not weakly), monthly, and/or quarterly. Stop to pray.
STOP TO EVALUATE AND PLAN. Sunday School loses its focus without annual and regular evaluation and planning. Stop and calendar an annual retreat and monthly planning meetings. Stop to gather your leaders to evaluate goals and practices, identify needs and dreams, establish priorities, set goals, and make plans. Stop regularly to evaluate progress and make adjustments as needed. Stopping to evaluate ensures fruitfulness and effectiveness. But remember that all evaluation and planning should be preceded and covered with prayer. Stop to evaluate and plan.
STOP INEFFECTIVE PRACTICES. As a part of your prayer, evaluation, and planning, identify ineffective practices. What is not working? What is working poorly? Where are adjustments needed? What practice needs to be changed or replaced? This may be poor training. This may be poor records. It may be the lack of care group or outreach leaders. Be honest. Seek input and counsel. Many Sunday Schools fail here. Because of fear of repercussions related to change, they avoid change. That means there are two ineffective practices: the one you didn't change and the fact that you are afraid to change what you know you need to change. Frequently an ineffective practice needs to be replaced with an effective one. Adjustments to ineffective practices made regularly (monthly) can often avoid the need for big change. Stop ineffective practices.
How does your Sunday School need to stop? Do you need to stop to pray? Do you need to stop to evaluate and plan? Do you need to stop ineffective practices? Do you need to stop in all three ways? When is the right time to stop? As soon as possible. Gather your teachers and workers and stop together. Plan a time to pray, evaluate and plan, and end ineffective practices. Give God your best. Make disciples through the Sunday School. Reach and shepherd His sheep. Be revolutionary!
For more ideas about setting goals, check out these blog posts:
- Giving Sunday School Direction Through a Planning Retreat
- Foundational Pillars of a Sunday School that Grows, Part 1 (multi-part series)
- Grow Your Sunday School: Set Goals This Year
- Building Blocks for a Strong Sunday School Class, Part 2
- 5 Goals for Sunday School Growth This Year, Part 1 and 5 Goals for Sunday School Growth This Year, Part 2
- How LARGE Should We Make Our Sunday School Goals?
- Key Actions for Sunday School Class Growth, Part 3
- Set God-Sized Goals for Sunday School Growth
- Personal Invitation and Enrollment: Twin Key Metrics in Sunday School Progress, Part 2
- Four Stumbling Blocks for Sunday School Growth, Part 2
- Annual Sunday School Progress Report