Everyone wants to attend a growing church that is reaching many people yet remains small. Sunday School helps keep the church small. As the population increases and more and more people move to metropolitan areas, we have seen the emergence of many mega-churches. Whether your church is a megachurch or not, she should be a growing church. I believe it is God’s will that everyone repent and come to faith in Christ.
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Pet. 3:9)
I believe it is God’s will for churches to grow because it is God’s will for everyone to be saved; however, a growing church faces the serious challenge of becoming bigger, and many people do not like to attend big churches. We do not have the option of not reaching more people, but we do have the challenge of accommodating people into a larger congregation. Since large congregations can be intimidating to many, how do we help people get assimilated into our growing churches? Sunday School!
Sunday School keeps the church small because Sunday School makes the church personal and relational. This places people in an environment where they are comfortable. It positions people in surroundings that are conducive to their emotional and social well-being. God designed us for relationships, and relationships are best formed in small group settings. We recognize the spiritual experience that church attendance provides, but it also offers social experiences, and we need both.
Churches work hard at reaching new people. Much time, effort, and money are expended to reach others for Christ and church membership. Yet sometimes little energy is given to assimilate those we reach. Companies have a difficult time staying in business if they cannot keep their customers. They do much in the way of marketing to acquire new customers, but they also do much in maintaining their current clients. Business is much better when you have repeat customers instead of one-time customers. So it is with the church. How do we keep the new people we reach? How do we assimilate new members? We do this through relationships! Where are relationships formed? They are formed in small group settings. Sunday School is the church’s Velcro.
Sunday School puts a face to the church and presents the characteristics of smaller churches such as a hand of fellowship, a prayer of support, a hug in difficult times. Therefore, the larger a church grows, the more vital Sunday School becomes! When we stop to analyze the role that Sunday School fills in the context of a local church, it is mind-boggling. Every church needs a small group ministry. If a church has no small group ministry or has a dysfunctional small group ministry, then it leaves a huge hole in the church. I submit to you that Sunday School is the best small group ministry known to the modern-day church. The contribution of Sunday School to the church ministry cannot be overstated.
Taylor, A. (2009). Sunday school in hd. Nashville: B&H.