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Sunday School Ministry

Topic: Many goals for the Sunday school ministry exist, so what is your goal?

What is the goal of the Sunday school ministry?

Sunday school ministry

If you ask twenty people to define the Sunday school ministry, you will probably get seven or eight different primary answers. Several will say it is all about evangelism. Others will say the focus should be on Bible teaching and education. In order to get a couple of examples, I just now did an internet search on "Sunday School Ministry," and one of the first big web sites that came up defined the Sunday school ministry this way: The mission of Sunday School is to reach unchurched people and the heart is Bible study.

While I agree that each of these elements are part of the Sunday school ministry, I don't believe they should be considered its central focus or goal. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gives us a clear and concise ministry goal: "Therefore go and make disciples ... teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

First and foremost, the Sunday school ministry should be about making disciples.

Sunday school ministry Tip:Information and Explanation are Foundational to Your Teaching, but Transformation is the Goal!

So, first and foremost, I believe the Sunday school ministry should be about making disciples. Yes, you have to "reach unchurched people" to do this, but making disciples and reaching unchurched people are not the same thing. Of course, to "reach people" they have to be saved, but I don't believe Jesus' command to "make disciples" was just his way of saying, help people believe the gospel.

When Jesus said, "make disciples . . . baptizing them . . . teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you," he was referring to an ongoing process of teaching believers to obey him in every area of their life. Making disciples in the Sunday school ministry begins with reaching the unchurched, but then moves beyond that by helping them mature in their relationship with Christ so they become fully committed Christ followers.

The goal of the Sunday school ministry is not Bible study

Sunday school ministry

Now, some may continue to argue for the above Sunday school ministry definition and say, "Right, that's why the above definition says, 'the heart of Sunday School is Bible study.'" But, once again, "Bible study" and "teaching them to obey" are not the same thing. An effective Sunday school ministry must include "Bible study," but "Bible study" is not the primary focus or goal of the Sunday school ministry. The main focus is teaching individuals to obey Christ's commands.

Some may see this as a matter of splitting hairs, but I believe churches are filled with individuals who have attended "Bible studies" for years, or even a lifetime, but still don't obey Christ commands. Bible study alone should never be the goal of the Sunday school ministry; whereas, making disciples who obey all that Christ commanded is. The same difference existed between the pharisees and Christ's disciples. The pharisees attended plenty of Bible studies, but the disciples learned to obey Christ's commands.

How does a disciple making Sunday school ministry change the way I teach?

When the goal of the Sunday school ministry changes from Bible study to teaching your class members to obey, it may cause you to ask yourself, "So, how does this affect the way I teach?" That is a great question, one that the Teaching To Transform Not Inform series answers. This series focuses on showing you how to turn informationally or educationally oriented Bible lessons into life-altering transformational ones. It teaches you how to teach not only the head but also the heart which results in changed lives. You will learn how to integrate transformational principles throughout your teaching so you can fulfill the Great Commission as a Bible teacher. For more information, see the books listed in our store area.

The goal of the Sunday school ministry:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Matthew 28:19-20

Find more links for Sunday school ministry

To find more links on Sunday school ministry, see the following:

Additional Topics for Sunday school ministry
Book 1 Topics for: Sunday school ministry Book 2 Topics for: Sunday school ministry
How You Teach More by Teaching Less (chapter 3) The 7 Ingredients of a Transformational Lesson (chapter 1)
How to Become One of the Imperfect People God Uses (chapter 5) Help listeners live godly lives by presenting practical, memorable, life-principles (chapter 2)
Your impact does not stop at the end of class . . . it ripples from person to person to person all the way into eternity (chapter 6) Create a lesson listeners will remember for five or ten
years ... maybe a lifetime (chapter 5)
Sunday school ministry Teach lessons listeners can apply (chapter 3)