I have written previously about the importance of prayer and evaluation in effective, revolutionary Sunday School work. Sometimes it helps if we break down the evaluation in order to get a better perspective on the whole. One evaluation exercise I have found helpful in a wide variety of settings is a S.W.O.T. evaluation (not swat). S.W.O.T. stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Here are my suggestions for using it with your Sunday School (or class). In advance of your planning/evaluation time or retreat, gather your leaders. Give them a sheet of paper with Strengths on the top and Weaknesses in the middle of the front. On the back of the sheet are Opportunities on the top and Threats in the middle. Ask them to take the sheet home, pray, and complete the sheet to bring with them to your evaluation time at the end of the week.
You may need to coach them in order to get more feedback on the sheet. Consider sharing some of the following questions for each section:
- Strengths: What are the top 3 strengths of our Sunday School? What was the best thing that happened this past year in Sunday School? What was the best thing we did in teaching? in reaching? in ministering? in assimilating? What do we do better than any other Sunday School?
- Weaknesses: What are the top 3 weaknesses of our Sunday School? What was the worst thing that happened this past year in Sunday School? What was the worst thing we did in teaching? in reaching? in ministering? in assimilating? What did we fail to do well this year? Where do we struggle the most?
- Opportunities: What are 3 opportunities that our Sunday School has in the days ahead? What positive thing is going to happen in the community or church soon? What opportunities do we need to prepare for? What blessing or new adventure will we face in the coming year?
- Threats: What are 3 threats that our Sunday School is facing or will face in the coming year? What challenges or problems will we have to overcome in the months ahead? What potentially crippling obstacles need to be addressed in order to accomplish all that God wants for us?
Call them halfway through the week to remind them about the meeting and the need for their prayer and preparation. At the evaluation meeting/retreat after a season of prayer, call for verbal reports of their sheets. Write what is shared on tear sheets on the walls of the room. (It is important for them to seeand hear the whole picture.) Listen and write initially without adding any critical commentary (from you as leader or the group that is gathered). Ask questions only for clarification. Don’t skip anyone.
After the initial round of input, ask if there are any additions to what has been said. Call for commentary. Lead them to do the following: Pray. Affirm. Evaluate. Assess. Question. Address. Dream. Plan. Set goals. Assign. Set dates to check on progress.
This year, take time to S.W.O.T. your Sunday School work. It could help you to be revolutionary!