Much of what happens in a Sunday School class depends upon leadership: by the Holy Spirit and by the teacher. When the teacher’s leadership flows from a growing relationship with God, the class will notice. My definition of leadership is “taking a person or group where they need to go.” Thus, when a teacher is led by the Holy Spirit, he or she is taking the class where they need to go. Where does a teacher want attenders to go? This would include growing toward a deeper relationship with God, each other, and the world around them. This would include growing as disciples who desire to impact their world.
The class is more likely to follow the teacher’s lead when attenders trust the him/her. That trust is earned through observation of the teacher’s words, example, and life. While a small amount of this observation can take place during the Bible study session, there are 167 other hours thoughout the week in which the teacher has opportunity to intersect the lives of attenders.
There are many ways in which teachers can deepen the relationships he/she has with class members and guests which in turn lead to greater trust and willingness to follow his/her leadership. Stop right now to list some. Allow me to list a few. Feel free to press the Comments button below to add those on your list that I failed to include. Consider the following ways teachers can deepen relationships (they, them, and their will refer to members, guests, and prospects) at church and away:
- invest quality time in a daily quiet time,
- prepare life-changing lessons,
- follow God’s leadership with the class at all times,
- pray for them, their families, and personal concerns by name,
- lead them to encounter God in Bible study,
- lead them to invest in a daily quiet time,
- listen: give full attention when they talk in and outside of class,
- arrive early and stay after class,
- lead the class to practice good listening,
- be as open, transparent, and honest as possible when examining the truth of scripture and applying it to your and their lives,
- lead the class to plan fellowship times which include social as well as ministry/outreach projects,
- utilize participatory teaching methods which address their preferred learning styles and lead them to interact,
- divide larger groups into small group times to increase participation and affinity discovery,
- enlist leaders and organize the class to respond in times of need,
- personally spend time with them when they are going through stressful times of life (your presence is more important than words),
- mobilize the class in prayer for each other during normal and stressful times of life,
- invite them to your home for a meal, dessert, or a fun time,
- have a meal in a restaurant,
- make a visit to their home, school, or office,
- enjoy fun and celebration times together,
- write notes (cards, letters, and e-mail) of encouragement, affirmation, support, and prayer,
- call them on their birthdays and anniversaries,
- and so much more!
What would you add to the list? Print the list and highlight the ones you are currently practicing. Of the ones that remain, which ones would help you to deepen relationships with your class? Number them in order of priority. Which ones would have the greatest potential impact? Which ones could you implement immediately? Decide where you will start. Follow God’s leadership. Deepen relationships and trust. Lead boldly. Be revolutionary!