Sunday School Outreach
Our church’s urban location provides us with a rich opportunity for neighborhood outreach. Several members of the congregation have long felt burdened by the needs of the multitudes that surround us, which led to the formation of a Saturday morning Bible class.
In October of 1998 it was decided to hold the classes on Sunday afternoons, in the hope that this would allow us to minister to more of our immediate community. The Lord has heard our prayer and blessed our efforts. Presently we have a regular attendance of between 50 and 80 children. Since 1998, over 2500 children have attended at least once. While it is often difficult to persuade adults to visit our church, parents are quite willing to let their children come to our Sunday school. May God bless the weekly lessons to the hearts of many children and young people, and that they in turn may have a positive impact on their families.
The Sunday afternoon activities begin around 2:30 p.m., when the volunteers gather for prayer before setting out to pick up the children. On average, 200 name tags are laid out on the table, which the children put on when they arrive. Maintaining attendance records is a time-consuming but necessary function, as the children are periodically rewarded for their attendance with a small gift. In addition to teachers, other volunteers serve as song leaders, piano accompaniment, and teacher aides, while others prepare bags of treats which the children receive as they depart.
At about 3:00 p.m., we begin singing a few Psalters and hymns, and at 3:15 p.m. one of the teachers or ministers presents a short devotional which introduces the lesson of the day. After praying together, the children are divided into multiple classrooms. The students come from a diversity of religious, social, and cultural environments. They are generally grouped by age, but there can be a great disparity in academic skills and understanding within each classroom. Our teachers need special gifts to communicate effectively and we need to remember them continually in our prayers, that they do not become weary in well-doing, and that they may be given grace to persevere, even if little fruit may be seen for several years.
Through contact with the children, individual volunteers have many opportunities to become involved with families where there is acute need. Many live in poverty, come from broken homes, and/or have relatives in jail. Some have lost a sibling in drug-related murders. We truly have a large mission field in our own backyard. May we pray for grace to minister to them in a spirit of true Christian love. Without the work of the Holy Spirit there will be no fruit, and our labors will be in vain. We take courage, however, from God’s own promise that “my word… shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”