2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Luke 10:2 NIV)
Teachers like all workers of the Harvest can become discouraged. They spend hours upon hours putting together a lesson and wonder if the students will show up. We live in a world where Sunday School/small groups are no longer a priority for some families. One pastor shared with me yesterday that families respond about Sunday School/small groups and worship, “I will be there if we don’t have….” (Excuses are common from sports activities, to family events and more.) So what do we do? Encourage the workers of the Harvest! Here are five ways:
Pray for the workers and students daily. Teachers need to know that what they do is important. Pray for them daily as well as the students they teach. Contact teachers on a regular basis and ask what you can specifically pray about. They have hurts as well and need to know that someone cares! Prayer is essential!
Show appreciation for your workers! Send thank you cards. Send birthday and anniversary cards. Allow one Sunday each year to be Teacher Appreciation Day. Pray and commission them as missionaries and disciple makers. Have a dinner in their honor at another time during the year. Highlight a Small Group/Sunday School class each month in your bulletin.
Make sure they have what they need to be effective in their ministry. Provide training opportunities. Make sure they have technology, marker boards, and other resources. Let them know about new curriculum options based on the needs of the class.
Give them spiritual and emotional support throughout the year. Teachers need their own Sabbath/spiritual renewal. Train other teachers to give them a one month break. Some churches are requiring their teachers to take a year sabbatical from teaching after 3-5 years. The purpose is for them to go to a Bible study group as a student for a year and then return. If not, then set a bible study class at another time for teachers to get spiritually nourished. We are best as teachers when our own spiritual batteries are charged.
Though we all need to encourage and pray for students to come to a session, we are not ultimately responsible for what they do. Many years ago when I was an Associate Pastor in Education and Youth, I got discouraged when I prepared a lesson and only a few people showed up. I spent hours preparing for 15-20 people and only 8 were there. I realize now that I am not responsible for who shows up! I am responsible to draw people closer to Christ as a missionary and disciple maker. Help your teacher understand that Jesus only had twelve regular disciples, with three in the inner circle. They changed the world!