Steve Parr: Purpose of Sunday School

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Steve Parr is working on a new book called Sunday School that Really Responds. It is a follow up to his fine book, Sunday School That Really works. I was honored that he asked me to write the forward to the book. He has given me permission to share a few key insights from the book.

The purpose of Sunday school is to study the Bible. Really? If that is the case then why is your Sunday school dying? Bible study is central and it is essential to the health of the Sunday school ministry. But, surprisingly, it is not the purpose. Every Sunday school would thrive if that were the case. A healthy Sunday school is focused on engaging the congregation in fulfilling the Great Commission. Jesus spoke with the apostles and told them: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even o the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV) A healthy Sunday school ministry focuses on the lost being reached, lives being changed, and leaders being sent. When a congregation intentionally focuses on these aims the result is health and growth. If any of these are neglected the result is struggle and eventual decline. People do move and people do eventually die, therefore, failure to reach the lost will result in decline and death of a Sunday school. The lost will not be reached if the focus is not on lives being changed. Lives are changed as God’s people study and live out His word. Living it out will lead to sending and releasing leaders to serve wherever needed to accomplish Kingdom tasks. What is the purpose of your Sunday school? Have you lost focus? The time has come to re-establish and re-focus on the correct purpose. You will not see a change until you adjust the way you view the purpose of the Sunday school.