Every worker in the Sunday School needs ongoing and special training every year. For this post, I will focus on the Sunday School teacher, but many of the principles will apply to training other (or all) workers as well.
Despite great communication about plans for a great training event designed to target needs, offering only one training event each year will likely miss some of your teachers. Some won’t be there because of illness or schedule conflict. Of course, there are ways around that problem. The training can be captured on video and shared with your missing teachers. Or good notes can be taken and shared in written or even better over a long lunch in conversation.
From my personal experience and interaction with hundreds of churches, I would tell you that training one time each year is not enough. I would challenge you add two to four events to your calendar. Your annual Sunday School launch training may be your biggest and most expensive, but all of them should receive your best efforts at communication and planning to make them as helpful and effective as possible.
But training can also be offered in the intervening months as well. Every time you have a Sunday School teacher/worker planning meeting, take time for training. Focus on one aspect of teaching or preparation. Focus on one of the purposes of Sunday School: evangelism, discipleship, ministry, fellowship, or worship. Do more than give updates on plans and goals. Actually offer training. In a planning meeting lasting one hour, you may only have 10-15 minutes you can devote to training. But consider this: if you offer training at eight planning meetings for 15 minutes each, you have provided two hours of training during the year.
Some may be intimidated by the thought of planning a year of training. But if you do the work now, it won’t be overwhelming later. What I mean is that if you take time now to make the schedule and plans, it will be easier to pull it off in the course of the year. Remember, you don’t have to do all the training yourself. Give some of it away!
Here are a few ideas for sharing the load of training your teachers during planning meetings throughout the year:
- send teachers an article or blog post to read and answer three questions to prepare for discussion at the meeting,
- ask the pastor to share the background of book(s) teachers will be covering in the upcoming quarter,
- ask one of your teachers (could be in each age group) to be prepared to demonstrate a teaching method for the group–allow time to debrief/dialogue,
- show a short Sunday School training video–allowing time to debrief/dialogue,
- ask one of your teachers to share about encountering God in Bible study and lesson preparation,
- ask a Sunday School leader from a church in the area to share about ways his/her classes are reaching out to the community,
- ask one of your teachers to share about involving people in planning regular class fellowships,
- invite a class member to share a Sunday School testimony and challenge teachers to prepare their members to be able to do the same,
- read a short section of a Sunday School book to teachers–divide them into groups to dialogue, closing with a summary,
- devote one of your planning meetings to training beginning with a 20-30 minute presentation and dividing into age groups for application each one facilitated by an age group teacher,
- give teachers a test identifying personal learning styles and lead them to commit to doing so with class members,
- and lots more options!
What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts and help other Sunday School leaders by pressing Comments below. Plan. Communicate. Expect. Stretch. Train. Grow. Be revolutionary!