At Lancaster Baptist Church, we operate based on the premise that the Sunday school is not merely an educational institution, but an evangelistic tool. The Sunday school is how we organize the church family into age groups and life stages so that we may mobilize ourselves to reach our community with the Good News. How do we cultivate a heart for souls within the structure of the Sunday school? Consider the following strategies:
Sunday school teachers must lead the way in personal soulwinning. We should find ourselves in the trenches faithfully each week following up on visitors, finding new prospects, knocking on doors, and sharing the Gospel with those who need Christ.
Class leaders should seek to involve every available member of their classes in the work of evangelism. Who in your class has never been soulwinning, but might go along with you, if you were to invite him? Help people choose a time for weekly soulwinning and offer them an experienced partner.
Class members should be asked to identify friends, coworkers, neighbors, and relatives who could be visited for the class. Make a list, begin contacting these prospects, and pray for their salvation and attendance.
Each class should keep a list of prospects whom they will seek to reach for Christ. These names may come from anywhere and everywhere—acquaintances, referrals, the marketplace or neighborhood, and newcomers to the church (those new to the church are the hottest, and easiest, prospects to reach).
The prospect list should be prayed over, kept current, and the people on it should be contacted weekly through a variety of Spirit-directed means—phone calls, personal visits, emails/messages, and hand-written notes. Elmer Towns said, “A home-going teacher makes a church-going student.”
Class members and leaders must work to form ties with those they are attempting to reach. This may involve a meal together at our homes or in a restaurant, inviting them to come along on a class activity, or including them in an informal group fellowship. This was the practice of the first-century believers.
As I review these suggestions, I must acknowledge that they don’t represent slick new techniques. They are, however, time-tested, biblical disciplines common among churches that effectively fulfill the Great Commission. Human nature being what it is, even the best Sunday school leaders tend to let these behaviors slip over time. May we rededicate ourselves to reaching people for the Lord Jesus Christ, and may we redouble those efforts through the Sunday school! “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them…” (Matthew 9:36).