Does a Sunday school require a quorum?
There are some churches out there that require golf carts to move through parking lots, tags and intercoms for childcare, and separate staff just to organize coffee fellowship. These are the congregations with fog machines, headliner worship bands, and personalized latte brands. However, not all bodies of believers are quite so numerous.
Some ministries struggle for a consistent head count and watch in frustration as leftover donuts go stale. What about Sunday School? How should we handle it when we carefully plan and make copies for classes, and only two students show up? Is it worth it to go through with a lesson or study, even if only one child is present?
If we look at the example of Christ (which as Christians of course we must do), it is pretty obvious that individual lives matter. Jesus did reach out to the masses and preach strong widely heard messages. But a huge part of His ministry also involved personal relationships. Jesus valued His friendships, evidenced clearly by interactions with His disciples. He also exerted influence on people by simple conversations and time spent. We see Him with Nicodemus, Zacchaeus, and the Samaritan woman at the well…not to mention the countless individuals healed and blessed by His hands. Jesus ate with tax collectors and scoffed at Pharisees. He answered questions and demonstrated true care and devotion to life. This is the way to win souls. It is not through tracts or amphitheater sermons, but relationships. We are promised that our efforts and interactions will not be wasted, no matter how large or small our audience…
Your Sunday School is Important!
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” -Matthew 18:19-20
It only takes one person to change another. God is always apt to hear our prayers and requests, but He especially assures us that when we team up with single resolve, even more is possible. We can still teach, still encourage and empower, whether our classes have two or ten or twenty students.
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. -Ecclesiastes 4:10
So, when the chairs are empty and the juice untouched, do we continue? Each life matters. It only takes one…even if our activity-filled lessons turn into one-on-one conversations, God is there and Christ is preached. Never underestimate the power of prayer.
18 thoughts on “Even the Smallest Sunday School Matters to God”
Very uplifting. Thank you for the encouraging words. Never looked at it that way.
Often times I have walked into a classroom on a Sunday morning knowing that I had nailed the lesson to be taught that day. Then, only one or two kids show up for class. *Sigh* Confession: I have had the shameful thought that maybe I should save it for the following week, and go to the supply cabinet and “wing it” with an impromptu lesson! What? Save what I thought was the really good lesson for the bigger crowd? Ew…. The reminder that Christ had an audience of ONE at the well, and a “woman” no less, really got to me. From all of us serving at smallish churches, thank you!
This was EXACTLY the way I have felt for the past two weeks. I am SO grateful this “Encouragement Letter” came out and with your response, Evie. I have cried and cried and gotten depressed thinking “What more can I do?” But this essay and your response have given me new perspective at a time I needed it so! THANK YOU and Kristin and the LORD for opening my eyes and see the IMPORTANCE of ONE!!!
A very long time ago 🙂 I was the only student in my Sunday School class. The teacher very wisely engaged me in a conversation about eternity and salvation. That day my life was forever changes as I acknowledged my need for a Savior and accepted Christ! Was it a wasted morning for her? I sure hope she didn’t see it that way, because I sure don’t! Never underestimate what God is up to! 🙂
As a Sunday school teacher in a small church with a class of 1-5 students (most often 3), I thank you for the reminder that what I do IS important and does matter to God. Blessings to you.
Thank you for the encouragement. I am down to 1 in my 3-6 yr old class. It’s such a labor intensive age, I have thought about quitting but I do enjoy it so I keep going. Thanks for the reminder that God is seeking individual hearts.
Thank you! A really good reminder not to get discouraged when a lot of work has gone into a lesson – especially dreaming up an activity which will be engaging – and so few children are there to be inspired by it.
Thanks for the encouragement! My typical class size (grades 2-6) is 4.
It is very frustrating…lessons are written, some teachers put in the time to prepare, copies, art supplies and snack items are gathered, only to have a couple show up…but i use the Starfish story with my teachers…in short, a little boy is walking along the beach picking up starfish and throwing them back into the water to save them. A person is watching him do this and tells him that there are hundreds of starfish on the beach and what can saving one here and there matter. The little boy replies: it matters to the one I save. I paraphrased it and didn’t do it justice, but while we can pray for the children that don’t attend, we need to focus on the children that do. It matters to them. Thank you for this article.
I attend a very tiny church (25 people including kids is our attendance if most of our folks are in town that day) and I’ve been teaching the same young people for years (since they were in preschool and now they are teens). I have the opportunity to dig deep with these young believers and be a part of building a strong foundation. These young girls have been motivated to give to others and led a fundraising drive that provided clean water filters for 21 families (our original goal was 3 filters and God waaaaaay surpassed our goal). Never underestimate the power of a small but dedicated group. Thank you for the encouragement. Our church (and our Sunday school) may be small but we have a big heart and an even bigger God!
Thanks for good message, but for Africa especially Tanzania, I started with ten children in last year but for now they are 167, i get Sunday school lessons from here, and is very helpful for our ministry, but we have a challenges especially teaching tools and we have only three teachers, so if we can get the people of GOD come to train us on how to teach this children it will be better.
God bless you!!!!!
Exactly what I needed to hear. I grew up in a small Church and I’m so grateful that my Sunday school teachers hung in there and saw my life and the other handful of kids as important to them and more importantly to Jesus. The Lord of the world is the Lord of individuals first! Thank you so much for the great reminder!
Our classes are small also, to the point where we have kids ages 4-11 yrs together and it’s still only 10 kids most weeks. Sometimes less.
When I started thinking of my role as pointing people to Jesus – being relational – rather than teaching kids a lesson it suddenly didn’t matter how many were there. My job isn’t to grow the program; it’s to love the ones God sends my way.
Thank you for your words of encouragement. Being in a small ministry, this is often the case. May our Lord Jesus Christ use me for 1 child or 100. GOD BLESS YOU!
Thank you for the encouragement. “Individual lives matters”
My husband is a retired minister. For 2 years he was interim pastor of a very small church. I taught the 2 to 5 children that would attend. The church could not afford to spend much on curriculum. This website’s ministry helped me beyond measure.
Thank you for a great article. :0)