Whose responsibility is it in your church to choose literature for your groups/classes? Do teachers/group leaders choose? Does the teacher/group leader ask the class/group to decide? Or does a Sunday School/small group secretary or director choose and order all of the literature for all of the groups? Or is there a literature team or the church staff who puts together a list from which classes/groups may choose?
Josh Hunt wrote a great article on the Church Central website entitled Choosing the Right Literature for Your Group. He begins the article by saying, “Literature only matters about 80 percent of the time.” That’s because the best teachers can use any literature and the worst teachers won’t get any better despite the literature choice.
In the article, shares these three options about who chooses:
STAFF DECIDES. This may be the preferred choice in some situations, such as when the church has just started or many teachers are relatively new believers. Or when many teachers have come out of other denominations. In those cases and others, it can be helpful for the staff or a literature team to decide what will studied. Some staff decide that it is best for all ages to study the same passage in order to get families talking about God and His Word. Other churches want every class or group in the same literature so the teachers can be taught the same lesson in a teachers’ meeting. Another advantage is that ordering literature becomes simpler often due to a smaller selection of options.
TEACHERS/GROUP LEADERS DECIDE. Because they know their groups best, this can sometimes work best. Also, each of us is passionate about some subjects more than others. As Josh stated, this can result in teaching “better when we are teaching something that we are fired up about.” It may be wise to help new teachers/group leaders choose the first quarter or year. This could be done with the help of a coach or mentor. Teachers/group leaders making their own choice often leads to a proliferation of literatures and often necessitates classes/groups paying for and securing their own. Sometimes attenders are not able to make wise and balanced choices and need the guidance of the leader.
TEACHERS/GROUP LEADERS DECIDE FROM AN APPROVED LIST. Josh called this “a mid point between the two positions.” Here the teacher/group leader decides from a list that has been put together by the staff or a literature team. This could be a team composed of the pastor and Sunday School/small groups director with others. This can prevent some poor choices of literature and can make ordering a bit easier by narrowing some of the choices and/or sources. This may be an option for those churches who desire all classes/groups to use the same literature but want to give each adult class/group an option once per year to study something else to meet specific needs, such as parenting, marriage, finances, etc.
Into which of these three does your church fall? What additional advantages do you see for each of these options? What additional disadvantages do you see? How could one of these choices lead to a more revolutionary Sunday School approach? If you change your current approach, do so with intentionality. Be revolutionary!