In the Ten Best Practices to Make Sunday School Work, Kenneth Hemphill and Bill Taylor propose that mobilizing for ministry includes identifying goals, organizing to meet those goals, and equipping leaders. While those steps are important, another definition of that word may precede them. One definition of mobilization is “to make capable of movement”. Perhaps the reason why Sunday School classes do not successfully mobilize for ministry is because adjustments are needed in order to make movement a possibility.
For example, the growing use of smartphones caused organizations to change the way they design websites. Most organizations now have a dedicated mobile version of their website. They recognized that adjustments were needed to make something capable of mobility . . . accessible to more people, at more times, and in more contexts. Mobile websites have the same purpose and goals of their desktop counterparts, but they have intentionally been made capable of movement.
What are some principles of mobilization that can be transferred to Sunday Schools who desire to be mobile . . . accessible to more people, at more times, and in more contexts? Consider these observations that make websites more mobile and how they might apply to a class that is mobilized for ministry.
- Mobility means free from clutter.
Mobility requires an environment that is free from unnecessary obstacles. In Sunday School classes, this could actually be physical objects! However, clutter refers to anything that makes it more difficult for the user to find what they came for. Is it easy for people to meet friends, participate in the Bible study, and find information about church ministry opportunities? If not, why not?
- Mobility means a simple design.
Mobile sites have a simple design but a substantial delivery. Style is important, but never at the expense of providing the experience that the participant needs. Sunday School classes that mobilize for ministry have a simple plan that is identifiable, clear to understand, and easy to participate in. Members know what they are there to do, and they do it with great energy.
- Mobility results from dedication to the user.
Mobile sites came about in response to the needs and demands of the user. Rather than insist that the user come to the main site for connection, mobile sites represent an effort to take the information to where the user (or potential user) already lives. Sunday schools that are mobilized for ministry understand their target audience . . . who they are, where they are, what they are looking for, and how to connect with them.
- Mobility maximizes time.
When accessing a website, few things are more frustrating than pages that take forever to load up and get going! Mobile sites make adjustments that allow them eliminate “wait time” as much as possible. Sunday School classes are notorious for “waiting just a few more minutes” for others to arrive. Create a plan for using your class time that includes time for prayer, care reports/assignments, ministry opportunities, as well as interactive Bible study. Sunday Schools on the move have no time to waste!
- Mobility adapts to the space (size) that is available.
Mobile designers know that they are limited by space, so they make the necessary adjustments. They never use it as an excuse for poor service and performance. The population of a community, size of a building, availability of leadership, amount of resources and other factors are never the same from one Sunday School to another. But those who are dedicated to mobilizing for ministry choose to not dwell on what is not available and dedicate themselves to maximum effectiveness of what is available.
As we have learned from the world of website design, strategic adjustments and attention
can make your group “capable of movement” . . . mobilized for ministry!