Is Sunday School or small group Bible study classes really important to the health of a church? I believe it is not only important but crucial to the life and health of a church. Much has been written over the years about the 10 Best Practices, the Eight Great Essentials, or the Six Keys to a healthy, growing Sunday School and small group Bible studies as a main component of a healthy church. All of these are great to know and equip our teachers and other leaders to learn and pass on to the people in their classes.
It has been said that the one common denominator in all healthy, growing churches around the globe is starting new units; new classes, and new churches. One thing is certain, when we have a vision for continually starting new units and as a church we are looking forward to the next two or three classes we will need to prepare for, we will see growth and forward movement. Through this process we will be reaching people for Christ, but the growth will not only be numerical.
As our leaders and class members become equipped with the concept and need for stating new units, we experience spiritual growth in our members. Along with this spiritual growth comes leadership growth as well. Both our current and future leaders begin to grow in their spiritual walk and in leadership abilities. Healthy leadership breeds healthy leadership. Healthy spiritual leadership breeds healthy spiritual leadership. Seek resources and help in equipping and growing your leaders in leadership skills, teaching ability, and spiritual health. It is an investment that will pay great dividends in their lives, in the lives of others they teach and mentor, and in the life of the church.
A strong healthy Sunday School (or small group Bible studies) also brings ministry effectiveness to the church. Not only at the traditional 9:30 Sunday morning hour, but ministry effectiveness throughout the week for the church and God’s kingdom. I have for years used the statement, “Anything a church wants to do, it can and should do through the Sunday School.” I say this not only because I believe it, but because I’ve lived it. If our church needs to be more involved in mission work, we’ll take it through the Sunday School. If the Worship leader needs more choir members, we’ll take it through the Sunday School. Whatever it is that the church needs, we can and should attempt to meet those needs through the Sunday School (small group Bible study ministry).
To some this may seem a little odd, but if your Sunday School/small groups Bible study is structured as a caring organization, there is absolutely nothing you cannot do through those involved and engaged in small groups ministry. Sunday School is the largest organization in the church. Therefore it is in essence the church organized. A church organized is a fruit bearing body for God. However, this does require a healthy caring structure at every level of Sunday School and in every class. Healthy fruit producing ministry comes through effective caring structure involving everyone in the organization.
Learn to build healthy effective structure in your Bible study ministry and you can become a fruit producing ministry in God’s Kingdom.