Leadership is essential in revolutionary Sunday School. Without leadership, people are not reached, assimilated, and cared for. Without leadership, lives are not changed, needs are not met, and people are not mobilized into ministry. Without leadership, mediocrity is accepted, goals are not pursued, and change is refused. Without leadership, vision and God’s will may be ignored.
In John Drakeford’s, The Awesome Power of Positive Attention, the author identifies five skills of effective leaders that revolutionary class teachers need to practice. Allow me to take some liberties to apply these to adult Sunday School.
- SKILL OF LOOKING. Revolutionary teachers make eye contact. They realize that 93% of communication is nonverbal, so they give attention to people. They watch what happens in class. They observe interactions between members and guests. They notice curiosity, questions, and emotions on attenders’ faces. When visiting in homes, they learn much about attenders from observation in the home.
- SKILL OF LISTENING. Revolutionary teachers listen. They listen to God’s still small voice. They spend time in personal prayer and Bible study. They listen to Him for lesson leadership as well as for leadership direction for the class. Revolutionary teachers also listen to attenders. They listen to more than words. They listen for meaning and emotion. They want to hear what members and guests have to say before and after class. They listen to hear needs which can be met through class ministry or through teaching from God’s Word. They listen to class leaders in order to provide support and direction. They listen to prospects during outreach and ministry contacts.
- SKILL OF QUESTIONING. Revolutionary teachers know how to ask good questions. When teaching, they ask questions which require more than yes/no or one word answers. They seek to lead attenders to think more deeply, to reflect on God’s Word, and to consider how the truth applies. They care about guests and members and ask questions to lead them to share their ideas, backgrounds, experiences, concerns, and needs.
- SKILL OF TOUCHING. Revolutionary teachers touch people. They are not afraid to be close to attenders. They shake hands with members and guests. They comfort by patting. They hug appropriately. Revolutionary teachers know how to give distance when an individual desires it, but they also know how to express care, concern, and attention through a touch of an arm or shoulder.
- SKILL OF AFFIRMING. Revolutionary teachers know the power of positive words. They praise and thank God. They know the importance of encouragement of attenders. They know how to recognize personal and class achievements. Revolutionary teachers affirm participation during class. They express appreciation for contacts made, relationships developed, people invited, ministry done, and fellowships planned.
Teacher, do you want to have the most impact with the sheep God has entrusted to you? Work to develop these five skills. Make one of them your focus this month. Look. Listen. Question. Touch. Affirm. Be revolutionary!