How do we train Sunday School teachers for the long-term health of our Sunday School programs?

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I'm very thankful for all of our Sunday School teachers.  They are all gifted people and they sacrifice their time to disciple our children.  However, I'm concerned about the long-term health of our Sunday School program.  We are often short of teachers and our overall program is not unified.  I think it's time to conduct an annual training and visioning session for Sunday School teachers.  Does anyone have a program or outline that I could borrow? 

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Hi Leon, I think annual training and visioning sessions for Sunday school leaders is a great idea! Faith Alive used to have an excellent resource called Sunday School That Really Works. Check your bookshelves to see if you have a copy. If so, section 1 is all about developing a vision for ministry. I'll attached three sections of it--developing a vision, an assessment tool, and a visioning excercise under the all resources section on this network. You might find these helpful as you meet with your team.

We also offer many free workshops that you can use or draw from to develop enrichment times for your leaders. You'll find them here. But your question made me think about mentoring. I always find that the best way to grow a leadership team is to bring new potential teachers on as assistant. Give them a year to serve alongside an experienced teacher and get comfortable in the role before trying it on thier own. Team teaching is much more fun than solo teaching, so it's a win win situation. You'll develop new leaders and your current leaders will feel supported. Eventually new leaders will begin to share the responsibility so no one feels burnt out.  

I hope lots of other people post here to offer idea. But please, give me a call if you'd like to brainstorm ways to do training in your church. Helping leaders develop a plan to support thier Sunday school team is part of my job at Faith Alive. You can reach me at 800-333-8300, ext. 2789 or 616-224-0789 or [email protected].

Community Builder

Hi Jolanda,

Thank you so much for the guidance.  I look forward to exploring those resources to discern how to best mentor our Sunday School teachers.  I'm probably going to suggest that we conduct a workshop early next fall and incorporate some of these ideas.  We've also found mentoring to be helpful, although sometimes it is hard to find one teacher for each group, let alone having these teachers mentor others.  I really like the idea of developing a vision for teaching (or a philosophy of teaching ministry), and I think we really need to do that.

Again, thank you so much for the guidance.  Perhaps I'll be in touch with you with more questions/comments after I review the resources you sent.

Peace to you!

--Leon

Community Builder

Hello again, Jolanda:

Thanks again for your response.  I just browsed through the resources you suggested for training Sunday School teachers and the materials for visioning.  They all look very helpful, and I will aim to use some of them in the future.  I think my next step is to meet with the chairperson of our Education Team and cast a vision for a debriefing meeting this spring to evaluate our year, and a visioning/training session in the early fall, when we're gearing up for the new teaching year. 

Thanks again for your support and guidance. 

Peace of Christ,

Leon

Hi Leon, I'm glad I could be helpful. It sounds like you have you have a solid plan in mind with a timeline that will set you up nicely for next fall!

Community Builder

Hi Jolanda,

Hope you're doing well! Blessed Pentecost!

I thought you might be encouraged to know that we recently debriefed the Sunday School ministry at our church.  Happily, the Lord really blessed this meeting!  We debriefed the year and focused on what went well and what didn't, and how we can improve.  Then we sought to become more unified in terms of direction and curriculum.  I'm thankful at how this meeting turned out--thanks be to God!

Thank you for your guidance!

--Leon

That's wonderful, Leon! It's easy to just move right into summer, but so valuable to pause first and see how things went, thank God, and begin thinking of changes for next season. Praise God for a great season of ministry!

Blessings,
Jolanda

I am curious if there are any churches that keep sunday school going all year round?  

 

Community Builder

Hello,

We try to keep our pre-school Sunday School going all year around, but not the older students.  But the only way we've managed to keep it going thus far is to ask parents to volunteer, so usually not every Sunday gets covered.  But it's a good way to get parents more engaged in the Sunday School ministry.

--Leon