Measure Your Sunday School Strengths and Opportunities, Part 1

Wednesday 13th February, 2008

On the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America website, I found a helpful set of Sunday School evaluation statements. The section is entitled How Do We Measure Up? A Tool to Assess Present Strengths and New Opportunities. The tool contains twenty statements. Because of length, I have chosen to break consideration of the statements into four parts.

In Part 1, we will look at the first five statements of the article. Think about and evaluate your Sunday School. The article's statements are in all capitals followed by my commentary. Measure your strengths and opportunities by assigning each statement one of the following responses suggested in the article: (1) we're doing this well; (2) we could do this better; or (3) we COULD do this:

  • WE HAVE A CLEAR VISION STATEMENT THAT DEFINES OUR SUNDAY SCHOOL MINISTRY AND IT'S RELATIONSHIP TO THE OVERALL MISSION OF THE CONGREGATION. Do your teachers, leaders, and members understand the purpose of your Sunday School? Do they understand what you are trying to accomplish through your Sunday School efforts? Do they understand the direction, goals, and structure? Do they understand how Sunday School helps the church accomplish her mission? Rate this statement: (1) Well (2) Better (3) Could.
  • SUNDAY SCHOOL IS PLANNED, COORDINATED AND REGULARLY REVIEWED BY A TEAM OF CHURCH LEADERS (REPRESENTING STAFF, TEACHERS, PARENTS, YOUTH, AND CHILDREN, AND OTHER CONGREGATIONAL MINISTRIES). Is anyone in charge? Is anyone providing leadership? Is the leadership team balanced? Has an annual, intentional time been set aside to evaluate progress, identify needs/dreams, establish priorities, set goals, and make plans and assignments? Does this group meet regularly (quarterly or monthly) to check on progress and to make adjustments as necessary to the goals and plans? Rate this statement: (1) Well (2) Better (3) Could.
  • WE HAVE EXPANDED OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM BY PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR TEAM TEACHING, SHORT-TERM COMMITMENTS, FAMILY SUPPORT AND LEADERSHIP BY OLDER YOUTH. Are you continuing to seek out and mobilize as many leaders and potential leaders as possible? Is every Sunday School teacher/leader apprenticing another teacher/leader? Are potential leader training events/process planned? Are coaches in place with every age group to encourage seeking and employing the gifts and abilities of new people, even older, mature youth? Rate this statement: (1) Well (2) Better (3) Could.
  • TEACHERS AND LEADERS ARE NOT SIMPLY RECRUITED BUT ARE PRAYERFULLY CALLED TO THIS MINISTRY BECAUSE OF THEIR GOD-GIVEN GIFTS, GRACES AND TALENTS. Does your nominating committee/team/process include an extended time of prayer before beginning to connect places of service with God-called people? Is the input of those who have apprenticed leaders sought out prior to enlisting them? Are people enlisted for places of service based on more than popularity but rather on gifts, abilities, passion, and experiences that God wants to use? Has the person's spiritual maturity been taken into account related to places of service? Rate this statement: (1) Well (2) Better (3) Could.
  • WE SUPPORT A LEARNER-BASED APPROACH TO SUNDAY SCHOOL BY ENCOURAGING MULTI-SENSORY, INTERACTIVE LEARNING WITH SPECIAL ATTENTION TO LEARNING STYLES AND AGE LEVEL CAPABILITIES. Have teachers been trained to better understand and address the characteristics of the age group they teach? Has training been provided in how to best utilize the cur riculum that has been provided? Have teachers been taugh t and challenged to implement a learner-focused approach that addresses their learning styles in the teaching methods that are planned for e ach lesson? Are multiple learner senses called upon in each class session? Rate this statement: (1) Well (2) Better (3) Could.

How did you rate these five statements? Are you doing well on one or more? Could you do better on one or more? Is there one or more statement which you COULD do? Gather a leadership team to pray about and begin to address any BETTER or COULD statements. In the other three parts of this series will be fifteen other statements. Don't get overwhelmed. Focus on the one that is most important. Look for opportunity to strengthen your Sunday School. Get started. Be revolutionary.

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