Imagine a coach who meets with his team on opening day of practice. He says, “Guys, we recruited you because you are the best. You know how to play. You have a good work ethic. You know how to win. Now, get out there and practice hard. I will see you in six weeks for our first game.”
What would happen during practices over those six weeks? In what kind of conditioning shape would players be at game time? How much would they improve in their individual skills and positions during that time? How prepared would they be to play together as a team? What would happen in that first game? Winning requires teamwork which in turn requires planning and practicing correctly together.
A good coach knows that a winning strategy is developed with a good understanding of those involved and of what must be accomplished to arrive at the preferred finish line. This will include annual and ongoing planning sessions. For that planning to come to fruition, ownership of the vision and plan must include every player. What actions are essential for success as a Sunday School team? This series will look at six simple coaching actions. Here are the first two:
Sunday School work is spiritual work. To attempt the work in our own strength is foolish. Direction, conviction, and power are needed from time spent with God in prayer. The coach will spend time on his knees and will lead Sunday School teachers and workers to join him in prayer for what God wants to do through the Sunday School. Prayer times need to be scheduled. They need to be intentional and focused. They should infuse the organization at every level, in every age group. A special time of prayer annually and quarterly can be the reminder needed by every Sunday School leader. Calendar this now.
- GET TO KNOW THE TEAM.
Relationships take time. Sometimes we need help when the number of relationships is high. That may require focus upon a leadership team. Who are some of your team members?
- The pastor
- The Sunday School director, Sunday School secretary, and other general leaders
- Teachers, apprentice teachers, and others
- Class leaders such as secretary, outreach leaders, and others.
For the Sunday School coach, the pastor is a key relationship. Time must be spent in getting to know one another, sharing vision for Sunday School, and planning Sunday School work. This will require spending monthly time together. An hour will often produce amazing results. But the coach will also want to invest time in teachers and other members of the Sunday School team. Trust is best developed through time invested in team members at another time than game time (Sunday morning). Visit homes. Eat meals. Pray together. Do ministry together. Get to know one another. Listen. When needs are discovered, meet them. When resources are requested, provide them.
What can you do to carry out these two coaching actions? Begin praying now. Plan time to get to know your team one at a time. Your effectiveness as a coach and as a team depend on these two actions.
In Part 2 of this series, I will share two more important coaching actions: communicate with the team and conduct an annual team retreat. Coach your team to win. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!