God and His people deserve our best effort. And yet how can we be as effective as possible? The place to begin is with prayer and evaluation.
THE NEED FOR PRAYER. I have returned frequently recently to the need for prayer in our Sunday School efforts. We are about eternal work for the most important Person in the universe. How can we do the work without communicating with God? Why would we do the work in our own weakness when His power is so readily available?
Get your leaders together before or shortly after the new Sunday School year begins. Spend time thanking God for what He has done in the year past. Spend time praying for the year, leaders, and direction. Seek His help with your goals and plans. Ask for God’s help, power, leadership, compassion, and presence.
Gather your leaders regularly throughout the year to check on progress, celebrate what God has done, and give Him thanks. Praise and thank God publically and privately. Praise and thank Him in classes, meetings, and in worship.
THE NEED FOR EVALUATION. Honest evaluation is needed. This requires pausing from normal activities. Sometimes we even need someone from outside to help us to be honest and to see reality. For instance, in my experience it only takes 3 or 4 weeks before we no longer see marks on walls and smell odors. In a similar way, we may see additions and assume we are growing and yet be losing people faster than the additions. Since perception is considered reality, sometimes we need help in adjusting our perceptions.
Consider these evaluation questions: How did you do this past year on your work toward the 5 goals (from a previous blog entry): prayer, increased enrollment, new classes, special outreach events, and leader training. What went well? What would you do differently next time (the year ahead)? What area(s) is in need of work, focus, and energy in the year ahead? How do goals and plans need to be adjusted for the year ahead?
But evaluation that is only done yearly is not enough for revolutionary Sunday School. Evaluation must be perpetual. It must be done regularly, perhaps monthly. Evaluation also must be done formally and intentionally in order to keep records of progress and plans. The work God has given us is too important to do poorly.
Do you want to be effective in the work God has given you? Pray. Evaluate. Adjust. Work to make a difference. Be revolutionary!