Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV)
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. (I Peter 4:10 NIV)
I am so thankful for Sunday School teachers and workers! Some of you have an incredible responsibility to share God’s Word in a way that leads to transformation. Others greet, focus on outreach to prospects and plan social events. Others are care group leaders who are continuously caring for a small groups inside the classroom. You all are examined weekly by your community of faith, known as the SS class as a model in following Christ and administering God’s grace. This day, know I am praying for you and thanking God for your willingness to serve in such an incredible way!
For SS Directors, you have such a great responsibility to lead (along with Pastors and Staff) to provide vision, training and focus each week. Thank you for what you do! Today I want to talk to you about preparing the next generation of teachers. Here are a few tips as you consider potential teachers. (Please see the blog- Sunday School & Worker Enlistment for ideas.)
1. Enlist workers who want to make a difference in people’s lives. As a good friend says, “Hire for attitude, Train for skill.” (Lessons From the Cloth: 501 One-Minute Motivators for Leaders By Bo Prosser & Charles Qualls) We need people who seek to help others discover the abundant life in Christ. Look for teachers who like building relationships with others and are passionate in understanding God’s Word for transformation, not just Bible facts. We need application of God’s Word, not just facts.
2. You can’t make a bean plant grow by pulling on it! This is a great word from one of my mentors, Dr. Robert Dale. We can’t force teachers to change, but we can encourage and inspire change. I have been in classes where the teacher is reading the commentary or pupil’s book for most of the class time. This is unacceptable! Having a teacher’s meeting and allowing them to see the importance of preparation that leads to application is essential for transformation to take place in the class. Provide encouragement and inspiration.
3. Care for the people will lead to transformation. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (I Peter 4:8) If they see the love of God through you, they will seek to go deeper in their relationship with God. There are so many examples in my life of teachers who demonstrated God’s love for me.
Let me share the example of Joe. When a teacher suddenly told me that he would no longer teach the middle school SS class, I thought about the energetic and creative boys in that class. This would be a challenge to find a teacher. I had three guys in mind who were in their thirties and loved outdoors and had lots of energy that would attract these boys. As I prayed about it, God kept telling me to ask a retired former high school teacher named Joe. “God, are you sure? These boys need someone with energy!” Fortunately I listened! I went to Joe with a job description and literature and asked him to pray about the possibility. (Vision is everything.) I told Joe that this was an energetic group of boys, and God had big plans for them. Joe could provide the spiritual foundation they needed for the future.
Joe prayed about it and realized that God wanted him to try. Out of his love, compassion, and strong faith, Joe became the grandfather for these boys, and God used him to transform these boys’ lives! Out of that group, one is a pastor and one leads music for a church. Others are strong in their faith. More than anything, they needed someone to show them God’s love!
When you consider new teachers, begin with prayer and look for persons who love God, seek to love others and bring them in the presence of Christ.