Fresh off another stint in Vacation Bible School, I’ve found myself reflecting on the week. I heard children recite verses – some lengthy sections from Philippians 2. I listened to our four-year-old granddaughter sing the songs in the afternoons. I watched child after child participate enthusiastically. And almost everybody was there every day-including a large number from outside the church.Could we transplant some of that enthusiasm into the Sunday school?
Before you say it’s different, bear with me. If we are going to reach this generation it will require more than tweaking a few things. We must rethink everything. That requires imagination, creativity with dependence on and direction from our God.
So, if you’re willing, ask some questions. Have you had a kid’s ministry effort that really worked? Why? Can some of those ingredients be incorporated into a program that’s struggling? Or maybe it’s time to stop doing one thing so that you can try another that might be more effective. Underscore the word “might.” You must have the courage to change, which is no small thing, particularly if you fear messing with success. Because you might fail, and then you will have to try again. Where and how will the Spirit work?
Back to Sunday school. What about breaks between the quarters or even a semester system with a lengthy hiatus? That way it doesn’t just keep going, and it can begin again with a fresh burst of energy.What about lengthening the time frame? That also means enlarging your staff to include special activities. What would it take to have a great time of singing? To focus on learning significant sections of the Bible? To have some fun time?
Is it possible to revive the attendance drives that were part of many Sunday schools years ago? That will require challenging programs for adults as well as kids-no small order. But the possible result is families beginning to attend church together and perhaps discovering for the first time the life-changing message of the gospel.Could you try Sunday school at a different time?And what about your teenagers? I saw a number of them taking on adult responsibilities last summer. Could their role in Sunday school be enlarged?
Hopefully I’ve raised enough issues to get you thinking. What you’re doing now may be effective. How can you make it more effective? Or you might have to stretch to justify it. What can you do with it to begin making a difference in the lives of those in your church and your community?