Probably all of us are familiar with the story in Luke 5 of Jesus healing the paralytic whose four friends brought him to Jesus and lowered him down through the roof. It is a great story of redemption and forgiveness, and an incredible display of Jesus’ power. I mean, it is a LOT easier to tell someone that their sins are forgiven, but to tell a paralytic to take up your sleeping bag and take a stroll is another thing altogether!
But at the end of this parable, tucked away in verse 26 is something very revealing. “Then everyone was astounded, and they were giving glory to God. And they were filled with awe and said, ‘We have seen incredible things today'”. (HCSB)
These folks apparently went to church that day with low expectations. I guess they expected a few hymns, someone teaching their way through a familiar Bible passage, collect the offering and then let’s all go to KFC for some chicken. But then Jesus showed up…
As Sunday School leaders, it is essential that we expect a incredible things every week in our class. Our bar of expectations should be high so that our group has to stretch themselves to get over it, rather than be able to crawl over it. We should expect the following things from ourselves and our group:
- Expect each person to study their lesson (nothing adds depth like personal Bible study);
- Expect guests and new people every week;
- Expect a prayed over and well prepared Bible study;
- Expect people to share from their soul;
- Expect the group to participate in fellowship and mission projects;
- Expect God to heal broken hearts, mend marriages, save our kids, and do the impossible (Mark 9:23 – Everything is possible to the one who believes).
Our expectations are reflected in our goals. In essence, goals are really how we see our expectations playing out over time. A good question to ask yourself and perhaps even your class is “What do we expect to accomplish this year?” And no, turning in the record box on time for 52 weeks doesn’t count!
This coming year in Oklahoma, I am asking all of our Sunday School classes to take up the following challenges:
- Contact every group member every week;
- Start a new group sometime this year;
- Adopt an unreached people group;
- Conduct a class mission project;
- Baptize at least one person through your group’s ministry.
In other words, our classes and groups should expect God to move through them during the course of a year. What would happen in your class if your group met the five challenges listed above? If every member every week got a phone call to see how the group could pray for them? If every class started a new class next year? How might you see God at work if some people from your group went to a foreign land to pray and share Christ with the people group you prayed for? If your group found a need in your community and organized itself to meet that need in the name of Jesus?
And yes… I really do believe that people can still get saved in Sunday School!! In fact, let’s start expecting it! Let’s expect Jesus to show up and do incredible things through your Sunday School class!
Bob is the Sunday School and small group specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Bob has also served the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention and he has been minister of education at First Baptist Church, Chandler, AZ and Indiana Avenue Baptist Church in Lubbock, TX