Sunday School is the church’s strategy to reach lost and unchurched people! What good is a sermon if there is no strategy to implement its truths? Sunday School gives the church a practical way to collectively pursue the Great Commission. How does a church go after a couple in their thirties that becomes interested in spiritual issues? How does a church reach out to high school students who need Christ? How does a church reach that couple who just got married or those median adults who just moved into the community? With our age-appropriate Sunday School classes!
Sunday School is the church’s strategy to reach lost and unchurched people!
Individual Sunday School classes form a natural connection for the church’s outreach strategy and assimilation strategy. The people reaching prospects will be the same ones building relationships with them, and relationships are the best assimilation tool the church has. Every class ought actively and aggressively to pursue people who would be in their class if they attended because this aligns our outreach strategy with our assimilation strategy. Sunday School is the assimilation arm of the church so she should also be the outreach arm of the church. The way you reach them is the way you keep them.
Reaching people is an ongoing process. Oftentimes we reach out to a prospect with a visit or phone call, and then that prospect never hears from us again. Essentially we have implemented a hit-and-run outreach strategy. We hit them with the gospel, and then they never hear from us again. Now, let me be quick to say that this is better than never hitting them with the gospel.
However, it is usually an ineffective way to reach them. Most people are not going to respond to a gospel message or an invitation to church from a person they have just met for the first time. People today are skeptical and need to have a trust level with the messenger before they buy in to his message. Therefore, outreach must be seen as a process, a relationship-building process. The ones who should build that relationship are those in their life stage, which would be someone in their prospective Sunday School class. This is the reason we have implemented the MTV strategy at First Baptist Church Woodstock.
This strategy provides an easy way to employ continual “touches” on the prospect that will help build a relationship. When a class receives a prospect, we ask them to make an initial visit. After the initial visit we ask them to follow up each week thereafter with sequential contacts of Mail, Telephone, and Visit. The “touches” on the prospect look like this:
• Week 1: Make initial visit.
• Week 2: Mail them a note (can be e-mail).
• Week 3: Telephone them.
• Week 4: Visit them again.
If we still have not gotten them connected, then we continue the Mail, Telephone, Visit cycle over and over again until we do get them connected in Sunday School or they instruct us to leave them alone. The MTV strategy gives every class a hands-on, practical way to carry out the church’s mandate to be Great Commission people. It also gives every person a means by which they can get involved in reaching others. Some will not be comfortable making a visit, but they might be comfortable writing a note or making a phone call.
Taylor, A. (2009). Sunday school in hd. Nashville: B&H.