Tuesday, April 5, 2011

sunday school REFORMAT

Many student pastors lead in churches that have Sunday School. Sunday School is just the old name for Sunday morning Bible study groups. If you lead in a church with Sunday School you have to figure out how it is going to impact the students you lead. Most leaders just go through the motions knowing that the idea of Sunday mornings are not the best time to engage teenagers with much more than doughnuts to wake them up. If you are a leader in a church that has Sunday School I want to challenge you to not miss an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of teens.

Before we talk about the reformat let me make it clear that we do not have Sunday morning teen or adult Bible study groups at Grace Community Church. We feel adults connect better in homes and we want teens and adults to serve and worship on Sunday mornings as families. I had the honor of leading in four churches that were Sunday School churches and at each stop I tried to make the most of Sunday mornings with some amazing leaders. In my last Sunday School church I tried to reformat what we did on Sunday mornings knowing that our greatest influence on teens would be on Wednesday nights when we could really connect with teenagers. Here are some ideas of how to reformat Sunday School if you lead in a church that embraces the model...
  • New Name >> If you call your Sunday Morning experience for teens Sunday School you are making a mistake. No teen wants to join anything with the word school in it. Call them small groups, discipleship groups, bible study groups. Brand your Sunday morning experience so your students know that Sunday mornings have a goal. Your Sunday morning experience needs a name and it's not Sunday School.
  • New Look >> Tables and chairs with florescent lights and grey walls will never connect with this generation. If you want your Sunday morning experience to go the next level work hard to make the environment inviting. If you want to foster the idea teens are going to engage with scripture make the environment a place they want to be. Paint, furniture, art, coffee, and free labor from students go a long way to create a space they want to be on Sunday mornings.
  • New Goals >> If you think Sunday morning is the place your teens will bring friends you are simply not in touch with this generation. Teens invite other teens to large group experiences where it is safe...not to Bible Study groups that meet at 9 AM n Sunday morning. Why not shift the aim of Sunday morning from evangelism to spiritual growth. Focus on teens that are there. Build relationships of significance. Invest in teens to the point they are ready to not be in your Sunday morning environment but rather leading a middle school small group or working in the preschool area!
  • New Leadership >> When it comes to Sunday mornings you need to find out who your best teachers/speakers are and who your small group leaders are. If someone is going to teach they better have the skills to teach. Small group leaders better have the ability to connect and ask questions. If you are going to reformat your Sunday morning experience you better rethink who you need leading. Also know if you are doing Sunday morning groups well you probably will not be able to groups at other times of the week. FOCUS and let your leaders make an area excellent!


  1. Excellent thoughts! I was at a church that did "Sunday School" on Sunday PM collectively as a church. This was perfect for small groups and fellowship activities. This might be a better alternative to the Sunday AM alertness concern. However you have to be careful not to keep them all night so they can finish homework for the next day.

  2. great idea Justin...thanks for commenting!

  3. personally, I believe that if the kids are on fire for God, nothing will get in the way. My church has Sunday School at 930am, in a basement with brick walls, and florescent lights. Because we were too big (TOO BIG!) we took the table out. Our youth groups have many new believers (everyone in our youth group is also in our Sunday school)and you can feel the hunger. I personally think we are all learning more in Sunday school, than youth group. The sunday school teacher is using a curriculum that is all about living for Christ, but it isn't one of those lame RBP ones that are all the same, but one that we can actually live to and learn to. I don't think we necessarily need to rethink everything about Sunday school, but the curriculum or whatever you do, should be rethought and adapted to fit the needs of the group. Thanks for the good blog post!

  4. Adam, love that God is working through your Sunday morning ministry at your church, that is amazing! Thanks for taking time to comment!