MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Sunday School Contest

June 3rd, 2007 Visited 5115 times, 1 so far today
This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series How To Reach Them


One of the most intimidating things that a person faces as they progress in their new Christian faith is when it comes to the point where they have to actually go to a church building on a Sunday. There are many different reasons that people have a hangup on going that I’m aware of.

  • They are used to having the day off.
  • Giving up a day is a big commitment.
  • They used to attend a different denomination and the fact that they are going to a different church building is a big thing with their family/friends.
  • Fear of the unknown.

If we’ve taken the time (as suggested in the previous post on this series) to bring them in on non-Sundays via a Vacation Bible School, they should not have as much problem coming on Sunday. However, I believe that one thing that we could do to provide a smooth transition is to integrate VBS into the Sunday School hour for a defined period with the goal of providing a welcoming, external facing, atmosphere for which to get people at ease to the transition.

What I am not suggesting is becoming seeker friendly, or anything of that sort. I am suggesting that we can take the opportunity to provide an atmosphere for new people (particularly those that are un-churched) to get a feeling for the time period, the people of all different age ranges, and how the church operates.

I am not recommending that the church worship service be changed in this way. The worship service is accessible by all believers, but what I have found throughout my time as a believer is that we expect new converts to go from the “baby food” of the Word to “Meat and Potatoes” in a day– by plunging someone head first into a doctrinal analysis of the book of Philippians.

What to Do

Girl Going to Sunday School

  • Divide up the entire church into teams– pair older ones with younger ones.
  • Set apart sections of the auditorium or sanctuary for the teams to have their stations.
  • For each day, have a theme– something that people can bring, something that they should wear… something fun.
  • Have contests.
  • Have a point system that gets awarded and linked to a church fair if you want.
  • Recognize new visitors and those that brought them– where they are from, etc.
  • Don’t take the whole Sunday School time, but consider this a long opening.

What you are trying to do

By placing people in all age groups together, you’ll be able to participate and meet new people. You’ll also give newcomers the feeling that they can join in, because there shouldn’t be any possibilities for cliques. Each member will have to work together with all the age groups. So you’re strengthening the membership as well as the visitors.

Having a group opening allows for a theme song or verse. Something that is accessible for all that are there. Also, you can be emphasizing core truths in the accompanied Sunday School regular time.

The atmosphere will be like the people remember from Vacation Bible School. It could start on as the closing program of VBS. It could keep the same offering or other themes to help bridge the gap.

The point is, if we’re going to make a good effort to reach out to those that have never heard about Christ, we will be aiding the cause if we can create a nurturing environment that shows that Christians are able to fellowship with each other and we don’t want to bury you with what we all know and assume you know it.

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Comments

5 Comments

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  • Mrs. Meg Logan says on: June 3, 2007 at 7:57 pm

     

    hmm.. gotta say what church do you go to that has a ‘doctrinal analysis of Philipians’? On Sunday? I need to go there! I think in general it is not too much to ask for a new believer to come to church on Sunday. I have never been to a church that was so mature and deep in the meat of the Word that they could not accommodate new believers. And really if we re so mature, shouldn’t that make it easier to accommodate the new believer?

    Ok, I think a VBS type thing on a Sunday is a bad idea. Sorry. Better to just become mature gracious christians and then the new believers won’t feel uncomfortable. I personally think that one of the major reasons that people do not come to Sunday church is because of the “I’ve been hurt at church” syndrome…

    Well anyway.

    Thats just my two cents.
    Mrs. Meg Logan

  • Leticia says on: June 3, 2007 at 8:47 pm

     

    Our church used to have a Friday Night worship and dinner. We would serve a huge buffet and then a powerful worship service would follow.

    Now we are doing Friday Night movies, all the movies that are shown have a positive message. Last weeks was “The Last Sin Eater” based on the novel by Francine Rivers. I highly recommend this to everyone.

  • Mary says on: June 4, 2007 at 8:59 am

     

    For the summer quarter, we give the Sunday School teachers a break by lumping K-6th grade together for “Summer Sunday School”. This year we’re re-using a VBS curriculum we kept from 1996 that was one of the best we’d ever used. Of course there’s not enough time to do all the stations, etc, as there would be in a real VBS, but the teachers are going to switch every other week doing crafts/games and always have the song and lesson time.

    I see where you’re coming from, but I think that would put people like my dh off. He likes to ease into things, and being thrust right into something so “different” might be too much. Also, it almost reminds me of the churches that have theme Sundays…”Luau Sunday” where someone stands out front to attract visitors wearing a grass skirt…that bothers me. Almost like making a circus out of church.

    I really like Leticia’s church making a community effort on Friday nights. That ties in with your effort to want the newcomers to see the believers fellowshipping together in a social way apart from the morning worship service. And you’re right, it’s very important. So many churches clear out shortly after the sermon is over…at our church, the adults remain and visit for a long time afterward before the last one leaves.

  • MInTheGap says on: June 4, 2007 at 11:55 am

     

    test

  • MInTheGap says on: June 4, 2007 at 1:28 pm

     

    Please keep in mind this section of text:

    I am not recommending that the church worship service be changed in this way. The worship service is accessible by all believers, but what I have found throughout my time as a believer is that we expect new converts to go from the “baby food” of the Word to “Meat and Potatoes” in a day– by plunging someone head first into a doctrinal analysis of the book of Philippians.

    I’m not suggesting the Sunday Service change, but more of what Mary is suggesting– changing the format of Sunday School. To me, Sunday School is more the time of in-depth study than the service is. It also becomes less accessible because of the depth, and it’s awkward to start up a new class when you have new people, or to catch people up.

    This plan has an ultimate goal. You would only operating in this style for a predetermined amount of time (i.e. from the end of VBS until Friend Day a few weeks later). Changing the format would allow you to have your current people “shake loose the rust” of having everyone separate and allow people to have some fun fellowship.

    Once the service starts, things should be normal.

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

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