After our church went to a new Sunday morning schedule, it provided an hour of Sunday School where there was no worship service. This gave Pastor Johnny an opportunity to attend Sunday School so he visited some Sunday School classes with the goal of joining one. (He did join one and is in Sunday School every week.) One day in a staff meeting he shared about visiting classes and said to me, “Allan, we have some wonderful classes, and we have some teachers who really know their Bibles, but I have noticed that many of them lecture every week. I think we want to get people interacting in a Sunday School class.” “I agree, Pastor, we do want people interacting in Sunday School,” I replied, “and I think I know why so many teachers lecture and where the problem lies. Pastor, you are the problem.” Now at this point I was going to have some fun or many regrets! Pastor grinned and said, “All right, tell me more.” I then explained that it was really a compliment to him. He was such a great Bible teacher, a wonderful communicator of truth, and so passionate about the Word of God that all the teachers wanted to be like him. When teachers hear the Word proclaimed, they most always hear it preached from the pulpit. Unconsciously their mind is conditioned that preaching or lecturing is the way to do it. They mimic that style in their Sunday School class. We must be careful that we do not turn Sunday School into an age-division worship service. Sunday School is to be distinctly different from a worship service.
As we involve people, not only do they learn more effectively, but their retention rate increases as well. Retention is a by-product of concentration. Therefore, teachers cannot afford to let class members sit on the sidelines each week and watch the teacher play the game. They must be engaged in the game with the teacher. Members discovering truth are involved; involvement produces concentration; concentration produces retention; retention means they have grasped a truth. They are positioned to obey because they understand. It is shameful for the teacher to take “the word of God [which] is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12) and render it dead, weak, and duller than a butter knife to the unengaged member.
Taylor, A. (2009). Sunday school in hd. Nashville: B&H.