Excellence in Sunday School

The more I understand the nature of the church’s work and see how that work is rooted in the Great Commission, the greater appreciation I have for the pursuit of excellence in Sunday School. As a primary vehicle in many churches for accomplishing the Great Commission, Sunday School must rise to a new level of excellence. But exactly what does an excellent Sunday School ministry look like?

Essentials for Excellence

To answer that question, we must apply the definition of excellence to the work of Sunday School ministry: Excellence, simply stated, is consistently doing the right things well. The pursuit of excellence in any endeavor requires a focus on what is truly important and efforts to discover how to do the most important things well.

What Does an Excellent Sunday School Look Like? Whether you lead in the area of children’s, youth, or adult ministry, some key practices are common to any Sunday School class known for excellence:

  • Excellent classes make great first impressions. Loving relationships are the hallmark of excellent classes. Visitors and members alike are consistently received with warmth and hospitality. A classroom characterized by excellence offers a warm, inviting atmosphere. There is room for visitors. The classroom space is organized and free from clutter. The room seems to communicate an anticipation of gathering and learning.

  • Excellent classes provide quality teaching. The teacher sees his or her role as a disciple maker, not a guest lecturer. Well-prepared teachers catch and retain the attention of learners. Excellent teachers have encountered and struggled with the truths of the lesson firsthand.

  • Excellent classes reach out to their visitors. Excellent classes value their guests and seek to make contact with them shortly after they visit. Class members engage their guests in a way that encourages them to return. Follow-up enables Sunday School workers to build relationships with visitors, relationships that can lead to opportunities for sharing the gospel.

  • Excellent classes minister to their members. According to Jesus, people will know we are His followers if we love one another (John 13:35). Classes organized to give care to members in need not only care for the needy member but also provide a witness to the love and compassion of our Savior.