Four years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled Sunday School Growth Spiral where I shared growth goals from Andy Anderson’s book, The Growth Spiral. So far in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5, I have shared about spiral goals, enrollment, prospects, teaching units, and workers. Andy referred to teaching units, workers, workers meeting attendance, and training as quality goals. In Part 6, we will expand upon the quality goal of workers meeting attendance.
Having more teaching units and workers adds more care to Sunday School. More care means more quality. It means more life and discipleship impact. Similarly, workers meetings also impact the quality of Sunday School work. Sunday School quality rises when teachers and workers gather regularly to pray together, check on progress, adjust goals and plans, plan care for people, communicate, train, and prepare for effective Sunday School work.
Who should be included? All Sunday School teachers and workers should be included, including care group leaders, outreach leaders, secretaries, and others. Of course all effective meetings should involve everyone present. That means that at least part of each meeting should be planned for each different responsibility present. For instance, care group leaders may need 10-30 minutes for specific training and/or looking at the absentee and prospect list.
How often should meetings be planned? Frequency depends greatly on agenda. If meetings are also going to include lesson preparation, then weekly is best. Even if lesson preparation is not included, simply looking at discipleship and growth goals as well as attendance patterns of members and absentees can be helped by weekly meetings. Lesson preparation may be difficult in a Sunday School with multiple curriculum choices. In workers meetings not including lesson preparation, monthly is usually the best frequency. This gives a regular opportunity for important agenda items to be addressed, progress checked, goals adjusted, workers trained, and events and plans emphasized. Longer periods between meetings may be too long for effective pursuit of goals and care.
How much time should meetings take? The answer depends completely upon the agenda. Including lesson preparation will naturally require more time. Can a weekly workers meeting that includes lesson preparation be accomplished in an hour. Because of meeting more frequently, some agenda items can be shorter or focused upon once or twice a month. Ideally, a weekly meeting would have as much as seventy-five to ninety minutes. On the other hand, it will be difficult to accomplish a monthly workers meeting (that does not include lesson preparation) in an hour because all agenda items will need time. Every min ute should be well-planned, participatory, and relevant.
What should be on the agenda? The agenda was listed above: pray together, check on progress, adjust goals and plans, communicate, train, plan care for people, and prepare for effective Sunday School work. Each meeting should be planned by the Sunday School director and pastor. If age group meetings are part of the meeting, advanced planning should also include those directors. Training should be short and specific. Assignments should be clear. Goals and progress should be reported and adjustments made as needed. Churchwide and Sunday School events and emphases should be communicated. Participation and dialogue are important. Teamwork should be the medium and goal. See Essentials of an Effective Weekly Sunday School Workers Meeting for more ideas.
How do I get workers to attend? What should be my goal? Andy believed in accountability through a weekly workers meeting at which 75% or higher attendance of workers was expected in order for growth. If you enlist teachers and workers with this expectation and make the meetings meaningful, you will have better attendance. However, no system will be completely effective unless there is some system of positive accountability for attending. Set a goal for how many meetings they will attend in order to be a Sunday School worker. Put it in a workers covenant. See Improving Attendance at Monthly Sunday School Workers Meetings for more ideas.
Without planning at regular workers meetings, the quality of your Sunday School work and growth will suffer. Leadership, planning, communication, and vision deserve time. God deserves our best effort. Our Kingdom work of making disciples is important. Gather your workers regularly. Be revolutionary!
While The Growth Spiral, is out of print, you can still find used copies for sale online. The book is worth adding to your Sunday School library for all the practical ideas that run throughout the book!