Church invited to open the doors for celebration of Sunday school
June 23, 2006
By Kathy L. Gilbert*
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)—Spruce up the place and put out the welcome mat—the
United Methodist Church is having an “open house” during the month
Igniting Ministry, the denomination’s national
television and welcoming campaign, works with bishops to encourage congregations
Methodist Open House Month each September. This year, Sunday school is joining
the welcoming wagon.
“Sunday School continues to be a fruitful and powerful time of forming
faith and building friendships,” said Harriett Olson, senior vice president
with the United Methodist Publishing House. “It’s easy to forget
that we need to offer regular invitations to children, youth and adults who
are not already part of a class.
|A UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose
September is Open House Month for the United Methodist Church and a time for Sunday school classes to reach out for new members.
“An Open House can remind the congregations to do just that. It can
also be a platform for starting new classes and building on the congregation’s
work in on-going faith formation,” she added.
According to the Igniting Ministry Web site, “Hosting
special events, worship festivals or making other efforts to welcome those
in your community
present perfect opportunities to intentionally recognize Christ in everyone
-- and to remember that guests may look for Christ in us.”
Carol Krau, a director at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, has
prepared some planning ideas for celebrating open houses for Sunday school:
- Select a date in September to celebrate
Open House Month and get the date on the church calendar.
- Plan the open house to introduce members
of the congregation and community to the Sunday school classes and small
available to them.
- Encourage members of the congregation
to invite friends to the open house celebration and to Sunday school.
- Identify one or more new classes that
can begin in September.
- Celebrate the ministry of Christian
education with resources available at www.gbod.org/education.
- Remember that Christian education happens
in many settings on any day of the week.
“Open House may be on Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon, Wednesday evening
or another time when congregations gather for worship and study,” Krau
said. “Consider scheduling some classes at more than one time so more
people can participate. Schedule some classes or small groups in homes or other
September is not the only time to provide entry
points to Sunday school, Olson pointed out. Some other ideas are to provide
during Lent, Advent
or as a New Year’s resolution.
*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville,
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or