This past Wednesday night, I was part of an adult Sunday School leaders training event at our church. This was the kick-off for the Sunday School year. I don’t know how the Sunday morning Bible study is going in your church, but this meeting gave me hope for the viability of this venerable institution in our church. Why? Here are a few reasons.
I was part of a conversation with three leaders who were talking about how the class could use social media to connect members with the lesson during the week. Not remarkable? All three of these individuals are retired persons (who have been educators in either public schools or higher education). I was impressed by their openness to new ways to approach their task and to “think outside the box.”
Two other leaders are working on launching a new class that will take both theological reflection and life application seriously. They are excited about trying something new in Bible study in our setting and involving others in this endeavor.
Other leaders shared moving stories about the ministries that their classes have provided to members in times of stress and loss. Some good ideas were presented about inviting new participants into Bible study. Even so, there was awareness during the discussion that each class could improve in some areas, and they were willing to pursue these opportunities for growth.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the night was a presentation by our pastor, Noel Schoonmaker, about the importance of Sunday school in developing disciples, promoting fellowship, and reaching out to the unaffiliated. His comments were fresh and based on his personal experiences of being blessed through Sunday morning Bible study. He even shared a quote from deconstructionist philosopher Jacques Derrida on the tension between community and openness to the other. And several participants knew who Derrida was!
An interesting Sunday School meeting indeed.