In a series entitled Steps Toward Sunday School Change, Part 1, Steps Toward Sunday School Change, Part 2, and Steps Toward Sunday School Change, Part 3, I shared eight steps toward change: prayer, attention, evaluation, motivation, commitment, ownership, action, and repeat. I pointed out that leadership is the medium in which those steps are carried out. Without leadership, those steps will fail to be carried out.
In this series, I will set each of these steps into the context of the class. Change is needed. Leadership to accomplish that change is needed. Most class change will be led by the teacher, but most class change will need to involve others in the class besides the teacher. In other words, ownership for the change will help create motivation and momentum for the change. In the two blog posts of this series, First Step Toward Sunday School Class Change: Prayerand Second Step Toward Sunday School Change: Attention, I set the change in a common class change scenario: leading the class to shift focus to prospects and people not in the class.
In this blog post, I will use the same scenario to look at the third step: evaluation. The first two steps of prayer and attention are preparation for change. But sometimes the leader is praying and giving attention to the need for change, but he or she may not have asked class attenders to evaluate or assess current reality and progress. Without looking around and looking back, poor decisions may result, needs may be ignored, and opportunities may be missed. Without evaluation change may lack motivation, direction, continuity, and strength. Without evaluation (prepared for by prayer and attention), sensitivity to God’s leadership may be missed.
What can be done to carry out evaluation in a way to advance God-led Sunday School class change? Let me list a few of the thousands of possibilities):
- start every evaluation effort in payer;
- annually stop to reflect on what God has done in and through your class to reach out to and care for prospects;
- ask God to help you evaluate your class focus on evaluation;
- give God the praise and glory He deserves;
- measure what was done by God’s standards;
- regularly (quarterly/monthly/weekly) stop to evaluate (check on progress toward goals) how your class is doing;
- look at all aspects of your class ministry: reaching, teaching, caring, administration, and more as they impact reaching and caring for people not already in the class;
- consider your class impact on the lives of members, absentees, prospects, the community, and the world–are attenders reflecting the love of Jesus in their focus on people not in the class;
- evaluate your place, space, and group dynamics as they relate to reaching others not reached yet;
- consider progress to date and project expected attendance and space needs and possibilities;
- having prayed and given attention to the need for change in focus on prospects and people not in the class, evaluate all the sources and opportunities for training attenders to reach out, care for, and invite prospects and to share their testimony and a witness;
- and don’t forget to evaluate your evaluation efforts and adjust as may improve the process.
Without evaluation, prayer, and attention, there is no starting line for the race toward the change our Lord desires for your class. Start your race toward change well. Don’t rush and head the wrong direction. Time for evaluation is time well-spent. What change does God desire for your class? The place to begin the change is in prayer, attention, and evaluation. Pray for the change. Give it attention. Stop to evaluate. Lead others to join you. Listen to God. Follow His leadership. Help others to see the need for change and invite them to join as you gain their attention and their involvement in evaluation. Be revolutionary!