As we conclude 2017, I’m reminded of a quote I heard, “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” Well, as we conclude 2017, I’m certainly an optimist about Sunday School.
I’m optimistic that Sunday School still works! In our own church we have seen about 8 % attendance growth in our Sunday School. We have also seen that growth translate into increased giving, increased worship attendance and more and stronger disciples of Jesus Christ. As the Sunday School goes, so goes the church. I still believe that and see the evidence to back it up.
I’m optimistic that starting new classes is how the Sunday School grows. We have added classes in our own church in 2017, and the results are encouraging. We started a new preschool class and a new mixed adult class for young adults. These classes have not yet reached their potential, but there are people attending them that have never attended before and they are growing in the right direction.
I’m optimistic about the way Sunday School classes assimilate new people into our church culture. I know that when new people enroll in a class that they will be loved on, ministered to and taught God’s Word. When they attend Sunday School, they are much more likely to have a quiet time, serve in a ministry, share their faith and tithe their income. In addition, they are much more likely to stay active in the church for years to come.
I’m optimistic about how our current classes are developing new church leaders for the future. As God’s Word is taught, it has transforming power. Our thinking and our behavior is changed as we apply what the teacher brings to our hearts each Sunday. The real-world problems people are facing are being connected to the powerful answers found in holy Scripture. It’s life changing! These new disciples can then, in turn, lead other disciples to maturity in Christ, creating a leadership base for our church to continue doing the Great Commission.
I’m optimistic that those who attend our Sunday School are going to be more excited about being a part our church. As people are engaged in a ministering Sunday School class, they see how God can use them to impact others. They see themselves involved in a greater mission and making a significant contribution. They understand their value in the greater work of God’s kingdom.
I’m optimistic that our Sunday School is preparing the next generation for the work of God. As our children and teens are being discipled in Sunday School, they are growing in knowledge and grace. They will be able to face the challenges of living in a world that is becoming more opposed to Christianity. They are being equipped to be true defenders of the faith and on how to live out the principles of the Word of God. In truth, we are building for the church of tomorrow.
One man said, “I love when they drop the ball in Times Square. It's a nice reminder of what I did all year.” I think I can honestly say that our Sunday School leaders have not dropped the ball in 2017. Because of the steady, diligent effort of our teachers, we have something wonderful to build upon for 2018. I can hardly wait to see what God will do.
Dave Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors First Baptist, So. Lebanon, Oh.