Pause a moment to reflect on your favorite Sunday School teacher ever. Who was it? Why was he or she your favorite? What did he/she do to earn your praise and appreciation? Allow me to challenge you to write down a few of your responses in a note, letter, or email to that teacher (if he/she is living). The month of May is a month in which some churches choose to express appreciation for the investment of Sunday School teachers and workers. Save your appreciation for May or send it now while it is fresh on your mind!
What is the highest compliment you could pay to a Sunday School teacher? Beyond your favorite teacher, what are some characteristics which come to mind of teachers worthy of high praise? How would his/her greatness be demonstrated or measured? What would be true of his/her relationship with God? with class members? with the church as a whole? with the community and world beyond the church?
Allow me to put the shoe on the other foot. Teacher, what would you most like to hear your class members say about you? What would you most like your pastor to say about you? What would you most like people in the community to say about you? What would you most like God to say about you?
Do you realize that highest praise sometimes comes in the form of a stretching request? For instance, I sometimes receive preaching requests after a conference or a speaking request after writing a blog post. For pastors, sometimes they are asked by someone in the community to conduct a funeral or a wedding after being heard on Easter, the radio, or at a community event.
When a class has been blessed with growth, the teacher is sometimes asked to serve as a Deacon, on a committee, or in another capacity. Sometimes the pastor will approach the teacher with the highest praise by making a request for the teacher and class to train an apprentice and send out two or three individuals to start another class. What a compliment!
The pastor has seen what God has done through the teacher and the class. The pastor recognizes some excellent class organization and practices that need to be replicated. And the pastor extends a stretching request with full knowledge and expectation that the teacher and class are up to the challenge.
How will you respond to this praise? Jesus said, in Luke 12:48b (ESV), “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” Your faithfulness will be rewarded with additional responsibility: “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master'” (Matthew 25:21, ESV).
I challenge you to be revolutionary! I dare you to take the challenge! Stretch to multiply yourself and your class. Stretch to enlarge the work of the Kingdom! Step boldly where God is leading so you can be in dependence on Him! Make disciples. Be revolutionary!