What does it take to ensure that we are enlisting and utilizing God-called leaders in Sunday School? Revolutionary Sunday School takes this task seriously. Obviously, prayer for God’s leadership through the enlistment process is a key. I have encouraged nominating teams to spend their first annual meeting in prayer because it is that important.
I believe an intentional apprenticing process can also be key to identifying individuals whose passion, experiences, spiritual gifts, abilities, and personalities can be used in Sunday School leadership. Time invested in observation of individuals as they learn and serve can pay dividends in discerning whether he or she may have been prepared to be used in Sunday School.
Lately, in addition to apprenticing, I have wondered whether revolutionary Sunday School might also ask potential teachers and leaders to complete an application process, including an interview and even seeking recommendations. Would we not do so with a babysitter? How important is the work we are doing for God? Does it not deserve our best?
An application process makes teaching a privilege that you must earn. It is not a right. It says the church is in charge of Sunday School–not the teacher or class. An application says we care about what we are doing and we want to get to know you better. An application says we will consider you, but we have expectations for your service. An application gives us an opportunity to get answers to some questions in writing and to get leaders on the same page before they start.
Of course, revolutionary Sunday School would not merely wait to see if someone was interested in completing an application. Instead, when training for potential apprentices began, encouragement to complete an application would also be given. As leaders encountered someone with potential, they would be asked to complete an application. Leaders would still be intentionally sought, trained, and released, but all would be asked to complete an application.
I like some of the questions about involvement and background from the Small Group Leadership Application for McLean Bible Church in McLean, Virginia. I have heard of churches that had a backlog of potential teachers who had completed the application and potential teacher/leader training process. Again, expectations are important. If we expect nothing, that is what we will get. Most of us are afraid if we raise expectations, we won’t have enough leaders, when the reality is often the opposite.
What do you think about the issue of asking potential Sunday School leaders to complete an application process? How could it help you? What would be the advantages? What would be the challenges? Pray. Seek God-called leaders. Put an application process in place. Be revolutionary!