What are the basic elements that make an evangelistic Sunday school? There are many. We will not attempt to list all of them – entire books have been written on the subject. But here are some key factors that might be considered to help your Sunday school become more evangelistic.
By Tim Massengale
Pastor Fields stood before the assembled group of Sunday school teachers and bus workers and called the meeting go order.
“Thank you for coming out tonight. I know everyone’s busy and it’s not easy to give up one of your evenings for a Sunday school staff meeting, but we have a lot to cover tonight. The next three or four months will be both busy and exciting for our Sunday school. We have an important new program we want to implement, as well as explain our upcoming plans for Easter. Before we get started I’ve asked Bro. Tony to come up and share his testimony. Most of you know he and his lovely wife Missy teach the Junior High class. They are doing an outstanding job. However, what many of you may not know is why Brother Tony is in church today. So Brother Tony, please come and share your story.”
Brother Tony cleared his throat and smiled weakly, his hands slightly shaking as he adjusted the microphone. “Thank you, Pastor. I’m not much at public speaking. I love teaching the Junior High class, but that’s more group discussion with a bunch of crazy adolescent kids than what I’m doing here. But I wanted to share why Sunday school is so important to me.
“I grew up in the East Knightstown district. As you may know, that’s not a very good neighborhood – lots of drugs and crime. My older brother spent three years in prison for car theft. I was already involved with a youth gang when Brother Wallace drove the big blue bus down our street with his loud speaker blasting out some gospel song and him yelling about free popsicles for anyone that wanted one. I was sitting on the front stoop of our tenant building, bored and wanting something to do. When I went to get a popsicle he asked me if I had ever gone to Sunday school before. I remember clearly his big toothy smile and how he said Sunday school was a fun way to spend Sunday morning. Plus, they were giving away kites to everyone that rode the bus the next morning. So I said, ‘Sure, why not.’
“He followed me back to our apartment and got my mom’s permission to pick me up the next morning. I remember she looked at me kind of funny and told me I would have to get myself up because there was no way she was getting up that early. Anyway, that was how I started coming to Sunday school.
“Every Sunday morning Brother Wallace would pick me and a half a dozen others on our street up and take us to Sunday school. He made the bus ride fun. We sang songs and played games. He used to dress up as a clown and throw candy our way if we were singing extra loud.
“I was ten years old when I started coming. At twelve I received the Holy Ghost at youth camp. Brother Wallace paid my way to go.
“Church was the only place I felt safe and clean. My home environment was not good. Mom and dad drank and smoked a lot. They also argued all the time and occasionally it got ugly. But I could always come to church and what I felt here, I never felt anywhere else. I wanted to be here all the time. Brother and Sister McPherson began picking me up for Sunday evening service. All the young people would go out to Pizza Hut after evening service and I could always bum a ride home afterwards.
“When I was eighteen I met my wife at a holiday youth conference. We’ve been married ten years and have two beautiful kids. But it was Sunday school that got me in church. It was the burden of a wonderful old man that drove a big blue bus and Sunday school teachers that loved me and taught me the Word of God. It was a youth group that grew to become my best friends and a pastor that preached to me and called me whenever I missed church. I owe my whole life to a God that loved me enough to make a way for me to get in church before I got all messed up in the crime and drugs that were the normal way of life for most kids on my street. That’s why I teach Sunday school and why I believe in Sunday school so strongly. Thanks for letting me share.”