ESTABLISHING A MONTHLY “HOLY GHOST SUNDAY” IN THE SUNDAY SCHOOL
By: Tim Massengale
As previously mentioned, the job of the Bus Ministry is to reach the parents. But it is the responsibility of the Sunday School to reach the children. The only chance that we have of reaching the souls of our children who’s parents do not come to church is during the Sunday School hour. What will happen if we don’t? It should be obvious. Look around and see how many children continue to come to Sunday School and on the Bus Ministry beyond thirteen years of age. Within most of our churches, you could probably count them on one hand.
When a child reaches their teenage years and have still not made a decision to live for the Lord, it becomes increasingly more difficult to reach them. It is no longer “cool” to go to Sunday School or ride the bus. Now they are “grown-up” and “grown-ups” don’t go to Sunday School – “just look at mom and dad,” they say. The opportunity to give their heart to the Lord and receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost needs to be offered and made available on a regular basis while they are still young. This is the concept of the monthly Holy Ghost Sunday.
The idea of a monthly Holy Ghost Sunday came as the result of one teacher’s frustration at the traditional “Baptist” method of having a Sunday School class: pre-session time, followed by worship, followed
by the lesson, followed by the craft, followed by the snack, followed by going home. . . . Hopefully the lesson was a good one and touched their heart. But something was lost during “craft” time, and after the
“snack” the feeling totally died. The children went home with the knowledge in their head, but no real touch in their heart. This should not be!
So this teacher decided to switch things around a bit. He put his lesson quarterly aside. He prayed and fasted that week for a Bible lesson from God. He felt the Lord impress a simple Bible story to his
heart. That next Sunday, he skipped his pre-session time and had a quick craft. Then he went directly into an extended time of worship and singing. After this, he taught his lesson under a burden of the Holy Ghost. It was a short lesson and at the end he gave a simple altar call. Several received the Holy Ghost that Sunday morning. He followed the same pattern the next week and several more received the Holy Ghost. This want on for several weeks. All told, over fifty children received the Holy Ghost in that one Sunday School (it spread to other classes too). They had, in essence, a Sunday School Revival – but without an evangelist.
He realized, of course, that this could not go on indefinitely. After a while the altar call becomes “old hat.” But it could be done very effectively once a month – and effective it is! The concept is simple, the results are consistent. The following outline will help you start your own “Monthly Holy Ghost Sunday” in your Sunday School.
1. Explain the simple concept to your teachers much like it was explained above. Somehow we must reach our unsaved-parent children before they drop out of our Sunday Schools. Then too, our saints children often times are “left out” in our normal services. The message is over their heads. This approach brings salvation down to their level.
2. Set aside one Sunday each month as a “Holy Ghost Sunday”. This is usually the first or last Sunday in each month. Let your teachers know plenty of time ahead when it will begin. This concept applies only to
primary ages and up. Cradle roll, nursery, and beginners are, of course, not included because of their young age.
3. The Sunday before “Holy Ghost Sunday,” meet with your teachers and take up prayer and fasting pledge times. Have them spend the week before Holy Ghost Sunday in spiritual renewal. They should pray for
each student daily, calling each by name. Try to have someone fasting on each day of that week.
4. The teacher should set their lesson quarterly aside for that week. This is very important. The lesson they teach should be a lesson that they feel God inspire to their hearts. They should build their own illustrations and lesson visuals (they should have sufficient teacher training to allow them to do this). This lesson they need to “feel,”not get out of a book.
5. Stress that this lesson should not be long. Fifteen to twenty minutes is maximum, depending upon the age level. The younger the children, the shorter the lesson must be. Plenty of time should be left at the end for altar call and prayer. This is their main purpose in teaching that lesson, to give an altar call. Note – it may be needful to teach your teachers the “do’s and don’ts” of praying with children in the classroom. Care must be given to not allow zeal to replace wisdom.
6. Realize that not every class will have results every month. But over the long run, the results will come in.
7. When a child receives the Holy Ghost, and their parents are not in church, the Pastor, Teacher, or Sunday School Superintendent MUST go home with that child to explain to the parents what has happened. This is an excellent time to witness to that family and to get a Home Bible Study.
8. Explain to the parents the importance of baptism for their child. If they refuse or don’t understand, encourage a Home Bible Study. Let them know that “little Johnny needs to have a spiritual example in his
parents.” If there is any interest for God at all in the parents heart, they will be stirred by their child’s decision and accept a Bible Study.
9. In a few cases, the parents have become angry and pulled their children out of the Sunday School. Although this is unfortunate, it is better to have that happen than to be guilty of never providing the
child with the opportunity for salvation. Rest assured that the child will never forget what he or she received. If the Lord tarries, they will often come back when they are older. No other form of religion
will ever satisfy!
10. This concept is also adaptable to a Children’s Church program. If an altar call is given every Sunday in Children’s Church, it soon looses its impact and the children learn to “turn it off.” The Monthly Holy Ghost Sunday has proven to be effective in “breaking out of the rut.” The other three or four Sundays are devoted to Bible instruction and memorization.
A well known Christian educator states, “Evangelism is the chief work of the Sunday School. In fact, Christian Education cannot be Christian unless it is evangelistic. To fail our primary reason for existence.”
Often we are prone to teach the Word of God and forget the purpose for which we are teaching it: to bring the students to the knowledge of salvation (first), and then to train them in spiritual growth (second).
James told us to be “doers” and not “hearers only.” If we are not careful, we can bring children to Sunday School in our buses and vans and teach them a lesson out of a book, and forget that a soul sits before us without God.
God help us! We must bring the altar back into our classrooms! A once-per-month “Holy Ghost” Sunday will do exactly that.
(The above material was prepared and published by Tim Massengale from Total Church Growth. You can order the complete 2 volumne set from Pentecostal Publishing House.)
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