Revolutionary Sunday School sets aside regular times for evaluation of progress. This should happen annually in an extended time of planning, like a Sunday School leadership planning retreat. Check out these blog entries for more information about a retreat: Giving Sunday School Direction Through a Planning Retreat and Sunday School Retreating to Move Forward. But it should happen regularly throughout the year as well. Quarterly check up times are probably spaced too far apart and will likely result in loss of momentum and accountability. Progress meetings about every four to six weeks are probably best (unless your leadership team already meets weekly or semi-monthly).
The beginning of a new year is also a great time to pause for three actions: reflection, adjustment, and anticipation. The new year can either be just before or just after the beginning of a new Sunday School year, whether it starts in June, August, September or another month. Or the new year can be the calendar year. Both are great times for these three actions.
As a new year begins, let’s look at the three actions:
- REFLECTION. There are several questions which should be addressed. (1) What has God been doing during the previous months? List them in a written form, and share them with the church at a business meeting or in some other way. Make sure to spend time in prayer as a group praising God for what He has done! (2) What are the strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats in our ministry? Check out this post for more information: S.W.O.T. Your Sunday School Work. (3) What progress has been made towards goals? Where have you done well? Where do you need to do better? Check out these posts for more information: Evaluate the Past Year Before You Set New Sunday School Goals, Sunday School Health Checkup, Part 1, Sunday School Health Checkup, Part 2, and Annual Sunday School Progress Report. (4) How are the people doing? How are teachers and leaders doing? Are apprentices being developed? Are members becoming more like Jesus, receiving ministry, and being challenged to serve? Are prospects being prayed for, contacted, and invited?
- ADJUSTMENT. Having taken a good picture of your class or Sunday School as a whole, what did you see that needs to be adjusted? Where is God leading? Where is more work needed? Where is new work needed? What directions or plans need to be tweaked? What training needs to be offered? What new goals need to be set? What new classes and/or leaders are needed? What additional promotion or communication could help? If you are only off course by a small bit, it won’t take long before you are a long way from where you should be. Making adjustments early will save a lot more trouble later.
- ANTICIPATION. Pray for God’s leadership. Pray for God to show Himself in a big way. Set God-sized goals. Expect results. Pray hard. Work hard. Challenge each other. Hold each other account able. Pursue God’s agenda. Believe He will grant what you ask. Anticipate what He will do! And when He does, stop and give Him the praise He is due. Share these moments with the church as a whole. Celebrate together.
How could your Sunday School benefit from taking some time for these three actions? Which is most important? What would you add to each of these three actions? When could you gather your class leadership or total Sunday School leadership for an evaluation of progress? Who should be involved? What information do you need to bring with you? How should you communicate to your leadership team? What do they need to do to prepare for the time together? It’s new year time again. Reflect. Adjust. Anticipate. Be revolutionary!