September 26, 2018

The Spiritual Emphasis of Sunday School

By Duncan Harle

I thought I would go over some notes that I made for a Sunday school presentation delivered a few years ago, which calls on us as Sunday school leaders and teachers to focus on the spiritual emphasis of the Sunday school experience. Sunday school is one of the few places we have available to us that we can turn off our phones, the world, our work and gather before God, each other, and be vulnerable. The experience allows us to share with each other, to lean on each other and to learn from each other about what God is calling us to do in his word and directives. The Kingdom Nation of Bhutan has gained worldwide prominence recently for the being the place where “the happiest people on earth” live. In Bhutan, they place a heavy emphasis on prayer and meditation. There is little emphasis on TV, the internet or outside influences. God is given us a similar place of respite and solitude in his church – our Sunday School.

One of the ways we can keep our focus on God in Sunday School is through prayer. I Timothy 2:1 notes, “First of all, then I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men.” (The NIV Amplified Bible. 1987). Your class may want to open your prayer request with the church-wide prayer list. By doing this, we help connect the Sunday School to the larger church body. By lifting up members up in prayer, we build trust in each other. If we open our hearts to one another and allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we foster friendships and are now connected and have invested time in each other. It is also important for us to communicate our prayer requests. We can place our petitions before God in class and then maybe email them to others. This practice helps keep these intercessory prayer requests fresh in our minds and before us each day. We should also strive to follow up on prayer requests, maybe by writing a personal note to somebody or asking them after class how the individual we prayed for is doing. Finally, we should celebrate when God answers prayers by lifting our class members up and acknowledging answered prayers. These are just some of the ways we can enhance the Sunday School experience. I hope you find these thoughts helpful. If you have any other thoughts you’d like to express, please kindly let me know.