Should all ages at your church study the same lesson every week? In my last post (scroll down to read more), I discussed the drawbacks to writing your own curriculum so everyone studies the same thing. I alluded to the idea that for short term topics, this approach might actually work very well. Let’s look at three possibilities.
VBS: Most VBS materials include material for teens and adults as well as for children. Once a year, your church can envelop itself in a common theme. Many of the VBS curricula lend themselves well to a decorating theme so imagine your entire church being cocooned in a theme of service, friendship or a close examination of the life of Joseph. Having everyone study the same lessons can bring a spirit of closeness, unity and enthusiasm to your entire church. Standard’s Big Backyard theme this year lent itself so well to this concept. Can you imagine your entire church involved in a service project at the end of VBS? Grandmas working next to grandchildren on a common goal? It could be so exciting!
Not possible, you are thinking. We need our adults and teens to help in VBS. We can’t spare them to go to a class of their own. Consider this. Last year, I taught the five lessons of VBS to my high school Sunday School class for the five weeks previous to VBS. It helped prepare the teens involved to serve and to know what was going to be taught. I encourage those not involved to pray for the others; in fact, the final week, we held a prayer circle for the teen workers. Your pastor or an elder could teach a class of the senior adults while VBS is in session. You could even give them a break to scatter and help with snacks, crafts or to go watch the games so they are involved and are seen by the kids.
40 Days of Prayer: A church in Cincinnati Oh, involved his entire church in an emphasis on prayer. Sermons were on prayer. Sunday School classes were on prayer. The church unified to pray on certain topics. Everybody for six weeks was immersed in the topic of prayer. The pastor told me that for some, this revolutionized their prayer life. So prayer and service are two great topics that would appeal to everyone in your congregation. I can think of another one.
Outreach: Dave Ping, executive director of Equipping Ministries has written an all church curriculum called Outflow, published by Group. The material includes packets for sermons, small groups, children’s ministry and youth ministry. There’s also a church wide campaign kit. I find this program so exciting. While I have not yet used it, I think it would be totally cool to involve everyone in outreach at the same time. That’s something families could take home and work together on. Enthusiasm would be contagious as the different age groups watch each other reach out. Can you imagine what a boost this could be to help your church grow? I love the focus of this material: outward focused living in a self focused world.
So, studying specific topics together can unify a church and build enthusiasm and cooperation. Just make sure the materials are age appropriate, that everyone is getting fed, and that it’s a limited time program.
What are other topics churches could study together? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can explore those topics together.