It seems impossible that it is almost spring and watching it snow to a depth of 4-6 inches.  However, the month of March is the perfect time to begin planning for the new Sunday School year.  By beginning early it gives you six months to plan, secure leadership and to train the Sunday School Leadership.

A Sunday School Director shared a concern he was having about Sunday School planning.   He revealed he was undecided and unclear as to how to get started in the planning process.  When he was asked what his pastor’s vision was for the Sunday School and what he would like to have the Sunday School do in the coming year he answered he had not spoken to the pastor about the Sunday School because it was his job not the pastor’s.  First thing for a Sunday School Director to know is the pastor is the leader of the Sunday School. The director is his associate and partner. They should be a team that works together to guide the leadership of the Sunday School.  Sunday School directors should request an appointment with the pastor to discuss his vision for the Sunday School. Together they can pray about and evaluate the Sunday School year.  In addition, they can discuss who they would approach for the leadership team and how to properly enlist them.   As the director and the pastor meet they should consider dates for the annual Sunday School Planning retreat.

Enlistment of the leadership team is one of the most important steps in getting ready for the Sunday School New Year. This is a special team that will assist the director in the total Sunday School work. The team is made up of one leader from each age group. They should have a passion for their age group and be able to work with adults. You can find their job descriptions at for excellence. A meeting with each leader entails the description and responsibilities of the role they are being asked to accept, giving them important dates and getting a commitment to serve is vital if you are to have a strong Sunday School Leadership Team.  Once you have your team you should hold an annual planning retreat. Everyone on your team plus the pastor should attend the retreat.

An agenda should be prepared and given to the leadership team several weeks in advance for their prayer and preparation.  The retreat will serve as a means to develop plans and strategies that will give you insights into the past, the present and what you can improve upon for the future.  One of the benefits that come out of an annual planning retreat is a course of actions that will allow you to stay on course for the reaching, teaching and developing the people for service to the Lord and His church. The retreat should assist you to set your goals and actions to be developed in order to guide in the New Year focus.  You will plan the new organizational structure for, outreach, teacher training, budget preparation and to develop the Launch Day plans for the new Sunday School year. You can obtain a suggested agenda for your retreat at for excellence page # 54.

After the retreat the team will have a guide and timelines that will enable you to create classes that are required.  Furthermore, there will be definite dates to move toward the recruitment and the enlistment of the teachers in the right way. The Sunday School Leadership Team can pass on to the teachers the plans and goals for evangelism and Launch Day.  The teachers can then enlist the class leaders and start their planning to meet the challenges from the Leadership Team.

If you plan carefully and encourage the Sunday School team to move together you can have a very successful new Sunday School year. Last year as I worked with a church that followed the suggested guidelines they discovered how the planning retreat had benefited the Sunday School.   Each month the leadership worked the plan they had developed at their Sunday School planning retreat.  As of February 2014 they had begun 6 of the 10 classes they planned to start. The classes have enlisted their class leaders. They have a plan for the outreach and in-reach ministries and have experienced an increase in the Sunday School average attendance. The spirit of the Sunday School is exciting and expectant of what God is doing and will do.

With careful planning this can be your story.

Sharon Smith

 Church Consultant 

About tonystopic

Seeker and connector to the abundant life as a husband (to Katrina), father (to Tara & Joseph) and Field Strategist/Sunday School Specialist for the Virginia Baptist Mission Board.
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