Ole Kirk Christiansen founded The LEGO® Group in 1934. He took the first two letters of two Danish words meaning “play well” to come up with the LEGO name. Christiansen was unaware that one meaning of the word in Latin is “I put together.” The 2009 company profile emphasizes all LEGO elements are fully compatible, irrespective of when they were made during the period from 1958 to the present or by which factory.” (Company Profile 2009)
LEGO toys are dependent on their connecting with one another. Just as these toys allow people of all ages to learn and develop through play, Sunday School is a great way for people of all ages to learn and develop through relationships. God wants people to connect with one another. Relationships are important to God.
Relationships are a key value of Sunday School, too. You should expect people to connect with both members and prospects, but we cannot assume connecting takes place. We must be intentional.
You may be connecting with others if people are…
- sharing prayer praises and concerns on behalf of others
- talking about how God is working in other peoples’ lives
- gathering beyond the session, including structured class fellowship times
- serving together in the community
The list goes on. My favorite question that helps me gauge if people are connecting in my church is to ask how many people in your Sunday School class do you feel comfortable calling at 4AM. If people are in Sunday School 3-6 months and have not established at least 2-3 relationships with others, they probably won’t be around for long.
A great resource of helping people connect with others is Connect 3: the Power of One Sunday School Class. Connect3 considers catalysts that move people in Sunday School toward personal growth and increased connectedness. The concepts presented in Connect3 focus on Sunday school participants becoming intentional about connecting with others on the class level, the community level, and the commission level. Classes and individuals can evaluate whether they are connecting with God through His Word, through a community organized for care and ministry 24/7, or helping each other live out The Great Commission down the street and around the world. Regardless of which level at which people are connecting, you can use these materials to discover ways to help people connect with others.
“People are not just looking for a ‘friendly church,’ they’re hungry for friends.” [Ed Stetzer and Thom S. Rainer, Transformational, (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2010), page 100.]
Remember, just as LEGO toys allow people of all ages to learn and develop through play, Sunday School is a great way for people of all ages and stages of spiritual development to learn and develop through relationships.
Other “connecting” resources:
Keeping Class Members Connected – This article provides timeless suggestions for Sunday School leaders to prevent people from becoming disconnected in the first place.
Steve Sheely, Ice Breakers & Heart Warmers: 101 Ways to Kick Off and End Meetings, (Nashville, TN: Serendipity House, 1998) – This book provides ideas for helping people get to know one another based on how long group has been together, type of group, topic, or mood of the group.
Belinda Jolley serves as the Director of the Adult Ministry Office of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Belinda and her husband, Steve, enjoy starting new classes at First Baptist Church in Rock Hill, South Carolina.