The progress of the church has been so paramount in the heart of Christ since its foundation. Christ’s instruction to His disciples in Acts 1: 8 has a progressive coloration. The disciples were to be empowered to be His witness beginning from Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the entire part of the world.
The master also identified the teaching ministry of the church of which the Sunday School Division is foremost as the surest means of achieving His intended progressive church.
Therefore, to build a progressive church, the teaching ministry of the church must be handed with all seriousness. The First Church experienced rapid progress as revealed in Acts 2: 41-47 as a result of devotion to the teaching ministry.
Ways in Which Sunday School Brings about a Progressive Church
The church of God is established to win souls and prepare and preserve men for the kingdom of God. Sunday school teaching ministry with its aims of reaching, teaching winning, and developing people for kingdom service offers tremendous help in bringing the purpose of the church to reality.
- It Helps in Building Leaders – Sunday school has been the most veritable tool in producing godly, capable, and competent leaders in a local church. Through Sunday school teaching ministry many leaders whose tireless efforts have resulted in the growth and development of most of our local churches have been raised.
One can say categorically that, there is no leader and there can be no leader of a local church who has not been or who will not pass through Sunday school teachings.
- It Helps in Enlisting Workers for Kingdom Service – When members of any local church have a true knowledge of what they ought to do and are committed to it, a progressive church is inevitable. Seminars, retreats, clinics, and other training opportunities being made available by Sunday school ministry from time to time have been so helpful in producing faithful, effective, and productive workers in a local church. Most of the workers we see in a local church today who are dutiful and faithfully discharging their duties are products of Sunday school teaching ministry.
- It Helps in Uniting Members of the Church – No church can make any progress without being united. Our Lord stresses the importance of unity in Mark 3:24-25 “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” Sunday school through its teaching ministry has been on the front burner in promoting peace and unity of the church which brings about a progressive Church.
- It Helps in Raising Heavenly Conscious Members – The more the church is filled with people who are Heavenly conscious the easier the progress of the church becomes. These people always make themselves and their resources available for kingdom growth. They neither cause crises nor get themselves involved in anything that will impede the progress of the church of God. Their Pastors don’t sweat before getting their attention and support for the work of God. They are always blessings to their local congregation.
- It Helps in Raising Men of Faith and Prayers – Since the inception of the church, Christ has made known that the gate of hell will wage war against it but will not prevail. It however requires men of faith and prayer for the church to fully enjoy the victory promised by the Lord. Sunday school through its teaching effort has been highly instrumental in raising such men in the church.
Building a Stronger Sunday School Towards Building Progressive Church
Sunday school has been the foremost arm of the church that teaches the Bible to its members through appointed officers and teachers every week. The stronger this arm becomes the better for the church. Consider the important areas.
- Reduction of Sunday School Hour Should be Discouraged – Jet age and end-time syndrome are already affecting the church of God. Many Baptist churches have reduced the one hour originally allotted for Sunday school due to reasons best known to them. We all know that this is not helpful at all. Convention and conference leadership should encourage our churches to desist from this act.
- Making Use of Teachers with Good Testimony – The life and testimony of any teacher of God’s word have a lot to do with whether his/her teachings would be acceptable to the listeners. Making use of men of impeccable character will be more fruitful.
- Adequate Preparation by the Teachers – As it is commonly said “Adequate preparation prevents poor performance”. Teachers need to have their prepared notes or jottings from which they teach. They should desist totally from reading directly from the manual. It easily announces to the members that the teacher is not prepared.
- Good Time Management – Sunday School Superintendents and teachers should improve on time management to be able to make reasonable and meaningful use of the allotted time. Teachers should avoid monopolizing the discussion but rather ensure and encourage class participation.
- Training and Retraining of Teachers – Seminars, retreats, and programs that could enhance teachers’ performance should be put in place at the conference and associational levels and funds should be made available by churches for teachers to attend.
- Punctuality of Teachers and Members – There is a saying “Punctuality is the soul of business.” Lateness to the class is unacceptable for either the teachers or class members. Teachers and class members must be habitually punctual.
- Variety of Methods and Teaching Aids – This will help prevent monotony and as well as helping class members to have a clearer understanding of lessons.
The expectation and desire of the Lord are that the church should witness constant progress. This calls for our support and honest contributions as Christ’s followers.
Whatever is considered paramount by the Master should not be handled with levity by any of His followers. The suggestions contained in this write-up, if well followed, will help greatly in bringing about a progressive church.
Ayandokun, Esther. Ministering Through Church Educational Agencies. Lagos: Centennial Olympics Publications, 2002
Ayo-Obiremi, Olusola. Overcoming Obstacles in Christian Education. Osogbo: Hirise Celebrity Publishers, 2017
Olaleye, S.A.K. Strategies for Church Growth. Lagos: Spirit ad Life Equipping Ministries (SLEM), 2012
Culled from Ibadan Baptist Conference 2022 Kingdom Workers’ Retreat