Today at Catalyst in Atlanta, I heard Seth Godin, the author of the book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. Godin defines a tribe as “any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea” (inside front cover). The cause of Christ is our idea. Learning more about God, His Word, and His will for our lives and how to serve Him together is our idea.
Sunday School classes tend to be connected to one another around an age group, a life-stage, affinity, gender, marital status, or topic. But they don’t stay together if there are no connection efforts made. Fellowships and projects help. Open sharing during class helps. Name tags and care groups help. But a leader is essential.
While the Leader (capital letter “L”) of your Sunday School tribe should be God, the leader (small letter “l”) can be the teacher or another individual in a Sunday School class. Leadership of sheep is essential, or left unattended they will wander off, be scattered, and get hurt. The same is true of a tribe and of a Sunday School class. Your leadership is essential.
Godin is clear: “A crowd is a tribe without a leader. A crowd is a tribe without communication….But tribes are longer lasting and more effective.” Do you want your Sunday School class to be “longer lasting and more effective?” Then you must lead.
There are some natural questions that result from a realization that a Sunday School tribe needs a leader. How can you build the trust necessary to become the leader? Where are you leading them? How will you do so? How can you hold up the idea (Jesus Christ and living for Him) in your leadership in such a way that the tribe comes together. (Now, I have not read Godin’s book yet, so I cannot recommend it, but he started me thinking.)
If you are not leading your class, who is? If no one is, then be prepared for the connections to disintegrate, for the group to disburse. They will find another leader. They will find another tribe to which to join themselves. Sunday School teacher, lift up the cause of Christ. Lead. Be revolutionary!