Fellowship Has 'Huge Discipleship Challenge'

In the past two years, attendance in Assemblies of God Sunday Schools has increased by over 29,000 people. "We thank God for the increase," states Wes Bartel, national director of the Sunday School Department, "and we are praying for more. With over 480,000 new Christians reported by our Fellowship in 2002 alone, we face a huge discipleship challenge. We are praying that God will help every church renew a vision for Sunday School in order to disciple every person who chooses to follow Jesus."

General Superintendent Thomas Trask recently mailed every Assemblies of God church a free Sunday School discipleship package. The package introduced a new vision for Sunday School called "Learning to Live the LIFE." LIFE is an acronym that describes the four-point mission of Sunday School:

* Learning together
* Including all who come
* Finding others who need to know
* Emerging for ministry

The LIFE vision is outlined in two new resources: a fast-paced, 35-minute video and an attractive 16-page booklet. Order your LIFE Resources.

In the first segment of the video, Sunday School students describe the benefits of Sunday School in their lives. The version mailed to Assemblies of God churches also includes a greeting to Sunday School teachers from Thomas Trask. The remainder of the of the video trains teachers to focus on the four-point mission as they prepare and present Bible lessons in Sunday School.

The vision booklet is written for both church members and unchurched families. "We hope churches will give the booklet to all their members," Bartel states. "Reading the booklet will remind church members of the benefits of attending Sunday School.

"We also hope churches will mail the booklet to families in their communities," Bartel continues. "Recent research shows that unchurched families respect the ministry of Sunday School. A 2000 poll by Newsweek found that 81 percent of all mothers and 78 percent of all fathers plan to send their children to Sunday School for religious training. Every page of the booklet includes photos of everyday believers describing their experiences in Sunday School.

"Sunday School is huge with potential for ministry," says Bartel, "and it's already in 94 percent of our churches. During the next few years, God helping us, we want to bring new LIFE to every Sunday School."

Clancy Hayes is training coordinator and district liaison for the Sunday School Department, Springfield, Missouri. Sunday School. All rights reserved. Used with permission.