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Steve Parr: One class that gets it

"I HAVE THE UNIQUE PRIVILEGE of working with hundreds of Sunday school leaders and pastors every year. God has blessed me on my journey to be involved with churches where the lost are being reached, lives are being changed, and leaders are being sent. I have the joy of teaching others how they can have the same experience through the ministry of their Sunday schools and small groups. It is thrilling to speak with pastors and teachers once they begin applying principles that make a tangible difference in their ministries. Here's one letter that I received:'

Dear Steve,

About two years ago a young woman, Tina, began to attend our couples class and later ask us to pray for her husband, Greg's, salvation. Greg had grown up in our church but had never accepted Christ. He had been away from church for years and would not attend with her, even when their little girl was in a program. Our class began to pray for him.

Some of the members in our class work at the same job as Greg and began to purposefully reach out to him. Shortly thereafter, he started attending whenever his daughter was in a program. He started having some health problems, and our class and his co-workers let him know that we were praying for him. A few months ago he agreed to be enrolled in our class but wanted to know why we wanted to enroll him since he never attended our class. We shared with him that we cared for him and wanted to help him in any way that we could.

Slowly he began to ask questions about spiritual matters, and his wife shared that she could see God working in his life. About two months ago he began attending and has not missed a Sunday since he started. He said, "I don't know why, but now I want to come:' We know why! Seeing our prayers answered energized our class. We now have a list of unbelievers that we are praying for.

We began to pray even more fervently for his salvation. We rejoiced when his wife told us that he had accepted Christ although he was hesitant about making a public profession. The pastor and I visited him and gave him the option of sharing his decision at his baptism service (rather than responding to a public invitation during a church service). He said, "No, I want to respond publicly during a worship service, and I want my co-workers to go with me:" We all rejoiced when he did. Greg will be baptized on Easter Sunday.

Here is an example of a class that really got it. Here is a Sunday school class that really works. When I talk about growth, that is what I am talking about. You see in this letter that the lost were being reached, lives were being changed, and leaders were being sent. "I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who don't need repentance" (Luke 15:7 HcsB). I know what some of you are thinking. What about the members of our class and church? What about their needs? Jesus is the best example at this point. He was the master of ministry, and He clearly balanced ministering to the needs of His flock while also seeking out the lost, but He did do both. I find that many Sunday school classes totally neglect seeking out the lost. You almost have to overemphasize it in order to

Steve Parr. Sunday School That Really Works: A Strategy for Connecting Congregations and Communities (pp. 143-145). Kindle Edition.

Steve Parr is speaking as part of the All Star Sunday School Training Team. To attend an event, or host an event. see http://allstarsundayschool.com/