None of us were born running. A few children seem to go from crawl to run, but most go through the stages sequentially. The same is true for Sunday School classes and the Sunday School as a whole when leading toward growth.
Navigating needed change successfully means understanding your context, including those involved. A pastor and Sunday School director must get to know and understand the Sunday School teachers and workers in order to lead them best toward and through needed change for growth.
For instance, it may be helpful to assess how prepared a group is for reaching new people. If they have no awareness of a need to do so or no understanding about how to do so, they may be at the crawl stage. If they have some awareness, interest, and experience, they may be at the walk stage. If they have great passion, interest, and experience, they are likely at the run stage.
Too often leaders are at the run stage and think everyone should be as passionate and interested as they are. If leaders move forward but no one follows, they are only taking a walk. Leadership intelligence demands leading the group to move forward, even if it is crawling or walking.
Consider the following illustrations. Radical obedience may start simply by praying for a lost friend (crawl). It may come as you take an attender with you to make a visit (walk). And it may lead the attender to mow grass for a lost neighbor following surgery resulting in a spiritual conversation (run). Accountability may come by writing a letter of commitment to yourself (crawl), by sharing a commitment with an accountability partner (walk), and by sharing a testimony with the class about what God did through you (run).
Prayerfully consider the vision of what God wants to do through your Sunday School. What does that look like? Get a good picture in your mind. Then think about your leaders and members. Where are they? How much experience do they have? Are they interested? Are they aware of the need? How can you raise awareness, create interest, and give them experiences to move them to crawl, then to walk, and finally to run?
Start a conversation with your leaders. Brainstorm. Pray together. Share stories, demographics, and information. Take them places. Get training. Start small. Do it right. Build on success. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!
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