I mentioned earlier this week that I would post about possible adjustments to the traditional “Sunday school model” – a model necessary for many college ministries around the country. Even if you don’t do Sunday morning college ministry activities, these inventive solutions provide cool examples for us all.
[If all this sounds rather foreign, that earlier post will fill you in.]
Again, the “scenario” here is that LOTS of church college ministries find it necessary to have an official, weekly Sunday-morning activity, while finding the arrangement presents some difficulties. So what inventions has this necessity birthed? Check out these tweaks to the “normal” model.
Invention #1: Late can be great!
One of the strategies I’ve been most intrigued by involves ministries meeting not before a late church service, nor after an early church service, but after a late service. Like at First Pres in Evanston, Illinois. And like Istrouma Baptist Church does at LSU. These ministries (one a big group, one a smaller group) provided lunch for the students – plus some good fellowship time and Bible study. As we all know, feeding students is a PLUS, and this model also encourages attendance at “big church” while providing incentives to stay for Bible study. Nobody’s as sleepy, either.
#2: The one-of-many-options approach
If your college ministry already has “small groups” as part of the package for students, Sunday morning can always be simply one of many small group offering times. The point is you’re not asking students to do something extra – for students who are so inclined, Sunday morning can serve as their small group during the week, while other students may prefer Tuesday nights or whatever. Of course, this only really works if Sunday morning attendance numbers aren’t your primary measure of success – but in collegiate ministry, why would Sunday morning numbers ever be the primary measure of success?
#3: A fabulous hour of service power
FBC Hattiesburg formerly set aside “Sunday school” as a service hour throughout the church. Students gathered, fellowshipped a little, then headed out to serve in various capacities throughout the church. Talk about a boost to your children’s or youth ministries – plus media, greeter ministry, or all the other ministries college students can help with! In their situation, FBC staff still offered Bible study during this time (for students who weren’t serving). Meanwhile, the first few weeks of the semester were spent training students for service – with spritual gifts tests and the like. Good times!
#4: Just do it
If these or other “inventions” just don’t fit for your group right now, of course you can always simply choose to make something amazing out of good ol’ Sunday school. Sure, this situation might not be your personal first choice. But if it’s best to have traditional Sunday school in your situation (even if it’s only because it was mandated), you might as well do it up right! And you might find that a real emphasis on Sundays draws more students than you think, perhaps even removing the need to have a separate “big group meeting” later in the week. Might as well do it awesome, right?
I know many of you don’t have this particular necessity to deal with.
But if you’re in college ministry, you’ve got plenty of other necessities – plenty of tough situations that might require just a little bit of creativity.
So, next time, the (quick) moral of the story. [Here is that post.]
Written from “home” in Pacific Palisades, California