The goal of the church is to fulfill the Great Commission. As Christians, we are to take the Gospel into all the world. Every people group should have the privilege of hearing the Good News of the Savior. As new, true followers are discipled, they will be the means of taking the Gospel from the front door of the church to the ends of the Earth.
Sunday School is the primary strategy of the local church to connect people to His mission. Sunday School has at its heart the grand mission of the church to reach the ends of the Earth. A Sunday School class, or small group, must take seriously the Great Commission.
A pastor recently shared with me a wonderful story of a missional Sunday School class. The 90-year-old teacher challenged her class to pray for an unreached Muslim people group. One day, when visiting a local restaurant, she and members of the class discovered that the owner was from this very people group. Their prayers took on a new energy and focus. No longer was this people group far away, but now was up-close and personal.
Over the next few months, the class frequented the restaurant and prayed. They shared the Gospel, and the day came when the owner embraced the Gospel and came to faith in Christ. His teenager became involved in the church and went to Falls Creek. At Falls Creek, the teen came to faith in Jesus as Lord. That is being missional!
Sunday School is not just about “us four and no more.” It is not just about getting people who fit “our” profile into a class, it is about taking seriously the challenge to reach all people with the Gospel.
Bob Mayfield, Sunday School leader for the convention, has challenged Sunday School classes to adopt one of the 6,426 unreached people groups. Members of each class can research the people group and share with the rest of the class. This group can become a prayer focus for your class. When you start praying, keep your seatbelt fastened. You cannot imagine what the Lord may do in response to your prayers.
One of the ways some classes exercise their involvement in the Great Commission is through service projects in the community. After the recent tornado disasters, many Sunday School classes volunteered to serve the victims of the storms. These acts of love did not go unnoticed by the communities. People who were served received a powerful testimony of God’s love, and members of the classes received unbelievable joy that comes in serving others.
Children’s classes can visit shut-ins and nursing homes to minister to those who are isolated from others. Adopt a missionary family and pray for them during class prayer time. Have the teens or children write emails to missionaries and pray for the people group they are seeking to reach. Another missional approach would be to get involved in a church plant in your area. Discover an Oklahoma church planter who has planted his life in a part of the United States where the Gospel is scarce. Pray for him and his family, and send encouraging emails or cards to them.
The opportunities for mission involvement of a Sunday School class is as wide as the imagination of the leaders and members. The issue is not what a class does, but that they find a place to serve in order to be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission.