This is part 8 of a series of posts from David Francis’ Transformational Class: Transformational Church Goes to Sunday School . Click here for a free download of the book, as well as training materials to help you present the material to your leaders.
- Transformational Church Goes to Sunday School
- Missionary Mentality, Part One
- Missionary Mentality, Part Two
- Vibrant Leadership
- Two Key Principles: Open Groups Practicing Open Enrollment
- Relational Intentionality
- How Care Group Leaders Model Relational Intentionality
This excerpt is adapted from Chapter 4, “Prayerful Dependence,” pages 25-28.
Prayer is the fuel that drives the Transformational Churches. It will be the fuel that undergirds the work of a Transformational Class, too. What might that look like?
The small group leader who wants a Transformational Class will arrive early. But not just to get things ready because he expects new people every week. This leader will stand in the room, prepared for people who’ve yet to arrive, and ask God to give her a vision of the activities that will soon take place there. This teacher or leader “sees” faces that are not there yet and prays God’s will for their lives, “on earth as it is in heaven.” He wants to “hear” the sounds of preschoolers interacting in various learning centers as they begin to comprehend “Our Father Who is in heaven.” He wants to imagine the conversations he may have with the third grade boys who always arrive early with “their daily bread”—in the form of a donut!—because their parents sing in the choir. She wants to imagine sitting at her table of giggling middle schoolers, gently drawing them into wrestling with a scriptural truth she’s certain will help “deliver them from evil.” He wants to call out to God for some struggling marriages among those in his empty nest couples class, pleading with Him to “lead them not into temptation.” She wants to intercede for some of the most frail ladies in her senior adult class, that they can affirm, “Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.” A pastor walks among the Sunday School rooms, asking God to honor their expectation for new people every week by blessing the classes with some!
Transformational Church, at its heart, is a message of hope. Paul writes about hope in Romans 8:24-25: “Now in this hope we were saved, yet hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.” The context of this verse is not about a small group; it is about the ultimate hope of a glorious eternity with God as His redeemed, adopted children. Too many Sunday School classes have lost hope. Prayer may be the key to rediscovering hope’s power again!
Sometimes one of the most appropriate things to do—right in the middle of a lesson—is to stop and pray! How will you know? The Holy Spirit will tell you. Just obey Him. This is particularly true in classes for preschoolers and children. The prayers need not be long. Just a brief “Thank you, God, for birds” as Sam discovers the nest in the nature center or a simple “Thank you, God, for hands” as Julia puts together a teaching puzzle. Preschool and children’s teachers know what I’m talking about. Student and adult teachers might learn a few lessons from spending a day in a preschool or children’s Sunday School class!
At the End of Class in Care Groups
A common way adult classes encourage prayer is to break into care groups for the last few minutes of class. The care group leader leads the prayer time, after doing a quick check-in to discover the status of absent members. (Some classes do this at the beginning of class, but it tends to work better at the end.) It involves a lot more people and takes about the same amount of time as a class-wide prayer time.
David Francis is Director of Sunday School at LifeWay Christian Resources. Before joining LifeWay in 1997, he served as minister of education at First Baptist Church in Garland, Texas. David and his wife, Vickie, love teaching preschool Sunday School and are helping start a new adult class in their church in Hendersonville, Tennessee.