There is a quote from the movie “The Right Stuff” which is about the original Mercury astronauts that fits today’s discussion. Gordon Cooper was one of those first American astronauts. Several times in the movie, he looks at his wife and says, “who’s the best pilot you’ve ever seen?” She responds by giving his expected line, “you’re looking at him!”
Over the 35 years of ministry that I have enjoyed, there is one Sunday School teacher that I can say is the “best I’ve ever seen.” His name is Bob and the thing that to me made him effective was his desire to see people become disciples.
Bob did several things well. Let me list some for you to consider:
- RELATIONSHIP. Bob loved the people who were on his ministry list. That love translated into being concerned enough to know where each person was in their spiritual development and Bob would seek ways to help them move forward.
- PREPARATION. Bob was prepared. He always started his study time on Sunday night after teaching Sunday morning. He was always looking ahead at future lessons trying to come up with creative ways to make an impact. He looked for ways to involve new people in teaching the lesson. He was a true student of God’s Word and challenged his class to know and live God’s Word.
- ASSIMILATION. Bob was concerned with the growth of his class. We had the chance almost every year to give Bob a list of people who were not attending class and by the end of the year, he would have one of the largest classes because he contacted people and made them feel wanted.
- BIG PICTURE. Bob was a “Team Player!” He was always concerned about the overall vision of our Sunday School, our outreach ministry in Sunday School, our care groups, our special emphasis in Sunday School. Bob wanted the team to succeed, not just his class. He was one who was always telling me about someone in his class that needed to be asked to work someplace in the Sunday School because they were ready. He was not territorial about who he was given in his class or where they met. In fact, Bob would usually take all of the “bad circumstances” and make them work to grow a healthy, vibrant class.
Not everyone is a Bob, but everyone can have “Bob-like attitudes” about their Sunday School class. His attitude impacted his preparation and his teaching. It impacted the lives that were touched, the disciples and leaders who were made. How does your attitude match Bob’s?
Steve McNeil serves as Church Health and Communications Team Leader for the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana.