Church Life, Outreach, Missions
Sunday School or "Is There Life Before the 10:30 Service?"
by Ed Vasicek
While some Highland Park Church people are digging into a grapefruit and squirting one another at the breakfast table, scores of other HPC folks are already at church digging into God's Word. No, I am not talking about our Express Service at 8:30that's too early for mostbut our Sunday School at 9:30 a.m.
Sunday School offers opportunities for all age levels to learn God's Word. Harry Husted, our Superintendent, works with teachers to provide quality curriculum and well-staffed classes. But some of you may not realize that Sunday School is a great activity for adults. Sunday School can be an important part of Christian discipleship and growth.
Statistically, 68% of the formerly unchurched and 58% of folks who transfer from one church to another attend Sunday School. Sunday School is by far the most effective small group ministry. Statistics show that of new Christians who regularly attend Sunday School, 83% will continue to be active in that same church five years later. In contrast, only 16% of new Christians who attend the morning service (but not Sunday School) are likely to be involved in that same church five years later. (These statistics, which apply to evangelical churches only, can be found in the book, Surprising Insights from the Unchurched by Thom S. Rainer, Zondervan, 2001, p. 118). Put another way, the number of adults attending Sunday School is the best measurement as to the permanency of church growth.
Why are the statistics so lop-sided? No one knows for sure, but the answer seems obvious to me: as people feed on the Word of God, they become spiritually enriched and experience the satisfaction emanating from God's Word; others try to fill that void through church hopping and varied religious experiences. The fellowship of others seeking the Word of God may not be as varied as other forms of fellowship, but the camaraderie of fellow Bible students is good for the soul.
Let me encourage you to become part of our Sunday School crowd. We offer two adult classes. The parlor class is taught by Chuck Freyler and Jim Evans and follows the International Sunday School schedule. The class in the basement is taught by Pastor Ed and follows a curriculum that takes class participants through the entire Bible over a seven-year period (though the class occasionally takes a quarter off for topical studies).
So why not let that grapefruit squirt you a little earlier Sunday morning? Drink an extra cup of coffee and then pack up the family for Sunday School. It might be that missing something in your spiritual walk. And if you have children, well, nothing quite replaces Sunday School! We have plenty of room for you.
Reprinted from the November 2001 Body Builder, a publication of Highland Park Church.
Highland Park Church