Six Ways to Embrace Your Uniqueness

As we put our hands to the plow of the new year, consider these six ways of transforming yourself and your Sunday school class.


(1) Translate Beliefs into Action. Many people in our churches proclaim their faith weekly by their attendance. However, fewer actually move out into active ministry. Find relevant ministries in which church members and prospects can participate. For some, these may be mission projects around your city. This may be participating in a Habitat for Humanity project. This may be helping at a local community center for the homeless or tutoring low-income children after school. There are hundreds of opportunities for translating faith into action across the street from your church, across town, and even around the world. Find some projects and get involved. Invite prospects and the unchurched to join you, and watch what happens.

(2) Build Quality Friendships. People today are looking for genuine and sincere friendships. Sunday school is the perfect place for this to happen. Provide times for building fellowship both inside the Sunday school hour and outside of class. Plan fellowships that encourage relationship-building. Plan small-group gatherings that allow you time to sit and visit with each other. In the good old days, we spent hours sitting on the front porch, visiting and talking about life. Provide some “front porch” time for quality friendships to develop.

(3) Be Open to Diversity. We live in a time of exciting and diverse cultures. Issues of ethnicity and gender beg to be addressed by the church. Challenge your church to embrace diversity rather than running from it. We can experience a richness of life as we share together. Be open to sharing with each other, to learning from each other, and to experiencing the love of God in the uniqueness of us all.

(4) Express your Spirituality with Openness and Honesty. Too often today, church folks try to hide behind their spirituality. They talk with lots of “God talk” and quote Scripture for everything that happens. Prospects and unchurched persons cannot relate to that behavior. Sharing openly and honestly builds trust. We have to find ways to share our faith in the language of everyday reality. Model for your people ways of communicating with one another in everyday speech rather than in the language of the church.

(5) Be User-Friendly. Walk through your building as if you are seeing it for the first time. Do you have signs that direct you easily through the building? How easily can you move to the sanctuary, fellowship hall, and childcare areas? Take a look at the classrooms. How neat and clean is your building? How bright and inviting are your rooms? Walk through the building with your eyes closed. What do you smell? Do the smells of dirty diapers fill your nose in the preschool area? Does old grease jump out at you as you walk through the church kitchen? Clean, bright, inviting spaces welcome prospects and the unchurched into your congregation. Clean-smelling rooms, fresh paint, and uncluttered hallways are easy for people to navigate.

(6) Provide Adequate Space. There is nothing worse than coming into a room of strangers and having to sit on top of one another! The surest way to prevent guests returning to your church is to pack them into a room. Church architects suggest that adults need 10×12 square feet to feel comfortable. Youth, children, and preschoolers need at least twice that amount of space. Do a space study of your classrooms. Compare the square footage available with the enrollment of each class using the rooms. If you are using more than 80 percent of the square footage allowed, participants in the class will feel crowded. If you are using more than 80 percent of your total church space allotment, you are crowded. If space is becoming an issue, either begin thinking about alternative uses of space or building additional space.

Embrace the unique aspects of your church. Find ways to be creative with the space, classrooms, and people in your congregation. As you become comfortable with the special aspects of your fellowship, you will be able to communicate your comfort level to those who come to join in with you.

Originally appeared in Building Blocks for Sunday School Growth by Bo Prosser with Michael McCullar and Charles Qualls.

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