In Part 1, I mentioned that in many churches, Sunday School utilizes and mobilizes the largest group of people of any program, organization, or strategy. There I called on us to imagine the potential if Sunday School was operating at 100% effectiveness. Imagine if the right people were in the right positions of responsibility. Imagine if each leader were giving his/her best effort.
What can we do to move from current reality closer to what we have imagined? I like what was written in a blog post entitled 12 Rules for ‘Bringing out the Best in People’. The author shares these twelve points from a book by Alan Loy McGinnis written in the last century. In Part 1 and Part 2, I shared the first eight points. In Part 3, I will share the final four points in all capitals followed by my commentary applying them to Sunday School:
APPEAL ‘SPARINGLY’ TO THE COMPETITIVE URGE.Some people love and thrive in a competitive environment while others hate and wilt in one. When using competitive means (such as during a Sunday School contest), look for ways to point to the team and to the success of the entire class or Sunday School. Collaboration (see next point), cooperation, and synergy often produce stronger results with greater ownership and satisfaction. I like the final statement for this point in the article: “Encourage each to compete for higher standards and skill development.”
PLACE A PREMIUM ON COLLABORATION. Look around your Sunday School. Consider the varied SHAPE of team members: spiritual gifts, heart (passions), abilities, personality, and experiences. When you bring your team’s SHAPE together in God-honoring, collaborative efforts, great things (the best) happen. Work to involve everyone as you plan and work (such as in your annual evaluation and planning retreat). Survey the group. Brainstorm. Release the potential!
BUILDING INTO THE GROUP AN ALLOWANCE FOR STORMS. Bumps and challenges are going to happen. Progress will get stalled. Relationships will get strained. Leadership is key. Encourage your Sunday School leaders to work through these times together. Don’t allow the group to avoid addressing these times. Step in when you are needed. Build some flex time into projects where possible. Prepare the group for these times in advance.
TAKE STEPS TO KEEP YOUR OWN MOTIVATION HIGH. Leadership is “taking a person or group where they need to go.” If they don’t see excitement in you, they may not follow where you are trying to lead. If they aren’t following, then you aren’t leading. Spend time with God. Spend time understanding how your Sunday School efforts contribute to building up the church and the Kingdom. Consider the potential of your efforts. If you begin to have doubts or concerns, as the blog post stated “you may need to find a trusted advisor who can discuss your challenges in private.” Expect a lot. Be positive, confident, and consistent.
Don’t forget to check out the other eight points from Part 1 and Part 2. From these four points, which one could you utilize this week to bring out the best in one or more Sunday School leaders? God deserves our best. Expect a lot. Bring out their best. Be revolutionary!