Consider this scenario. You are giving one of the most important jobs in the world to an individual. The job has the potential to impact individuals, families, communities, the nation, and even the world. History could be changed through carrying out the job effectively. How much should you expect of the person filling the position? How high should the expectation for training be set?
The potential for every Sunday School leader is this very scenario. (Think about teaching Billy Graham as a teen.) But there is an even greater factor: teaching can impact the eternal destination of those without Christ. Our Lord deserves our best effort. This can be achieved through a growing relationship with Him, prayerful preparation, and effective training.
Expect class leaders to train. When a class leader stops learning, he or she stops growing. Bank tellers, school teachers, and salespeople are required to receive training regularly. Sunday School is no less important. There is so much to learn about the assigned age group, teaching, learning, the Bible, biblical history, reaching, records, evangelism, fellowship, caring, ministry, serving, relationships, communication, group dynamics, and more.
Expect class leaders to train. When leaders are enlisted, share the expectation for training. Make training attendance part of the job description and/or worker covenant. These two first steps are essential.
Expect new class leaders to train. Require new leaders to complete training prior to serving. This can be delivered through one-on-one meeting, video, internet, reading assignment, or other. Cover the basics and develop the relationship. Help new leaders know where to get resources and help.
Expect experienced class leaders to train. But what if no training expectations were communicated? Gather class leaders to work on a worker covenant that includes training as one of the areas of conversation. Their expectations may exceed yours!
Expect class leaders to train. Class teachers serve as coaches for all class leaders. The job of the coach is to get to know leaders, ask questions, check on progress, listen, and offer help. With the right questions, doors for training conversation will occur naturally.
Expect class leaders to train. Move toward requiring every leader to complete training annually. Provide training delivery variety to address different learning styles and schedules. Make it interesting and relevant. Keep it brief. Hold leaders accountable to complete the requirement.
Expect class leaders to train. Watch them blossom. Watch as individuals, families, classes, the church, the community, the nation, and even the world are impacted!
Darryl Wilson has served as Director of the Sunday School Department for the Kentucky Baptist Convention since 1997. He served as Minister of Education in churches in South Carolina and Kentucky. He is the author of The Sunday School Revolutionary!, a blog about life-changing Sunday School and small groups.