Essentials of an Effective Weekly Sunday School Workers Meeting

Tuesday 26th February, 2008

There are benefits from regular meetings of those who are doing important work. Most church staff meet weekly. Many, like ushers and greeters, who have weekly responsibilities gather briefly before launching into their responsibility. This is true of many other responsibilities throughout the church.

What about Sunday School? Sunday School teachers and leaders are about Great Commission work and need to meet regularly in order to carry out that work effectively. Pastors and teachers are to "to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-13, NIV).

What, then, are some essentials of an effective weekly meeting of Sunday School teachers and leader? I read a great article by Ken Braddy on LifeWay's website entitled Weekly Teacher Training Still Works (Part 3 of 4). In Braddy's article, he lists ten essentials to keep teachers/leaders coming back each week for more. Braddy's ten tips are in all capitals followed by my commentary:

  • START THE MEETING ON TIME. Don't waste everyone's time. If you start 2 minutes late in a meeting for 15 people, you have wasted 30 minutes. Make the most of the time you have by starting promptly. Offer early arriver activities.
  • END THE MEETING ON TIME. Go long, and people will start leaving. If they leave because you go long, they are practicing to do so in the middle of your meeting next time. Work to dimiss early but never late.
  • VARY THE ROOM ARRANGEMENT EACH WEEK. I like what Braddy said, "Keep your teachers guessing as to what you’re going to do each week." Teach them to do the same on Sunday morning.
  • MODEL A VARIETY OF TEACHING PROCEDURES. Help them to experience more than lecture. Stretch them to try new methods. Use it in your communication and teaching. Have them practice it. Challenge them to try it.
  • USE MULTI-MEDIA. Today, 60% of people are visual learners. Use pictures. You video. Use CDs and DVDs. Help them to use more of their senses. Lead them to say and do what they are learning so they will retain 90% of what they are learning.
  • ARRIVE ONE HOUR EARLY TO SET UP THE ROOM. The next four points are about being well-prepared. Don't arrive late and have to shortchange the meeting for lack of time. Get ready early so you can greet and meet and listen to your workers. Arrange the room. Check out the equipment. Collect needed resources. Be early.
  • HAVE ALL PHOTOCOPIES COMPLETED 48 HOURS IN ADVANCE OF THE MEETING. Why two days early? So you don't have to worry about them. This means you have thought about what needs to be in their hands early. And you don't have to face a copier that fails. You can focus on other preparation and most importantly on the people.
  • PLAN ON SPENDING SIGNIFICANT TIME EACH WEEK PREPARING TO LEAD THE MEETING. Set aside time to plan. Set aside time to pray. Set aside time to enlist needed help to carry out the plan. Determine what is needed. Allow enough time to make the meeting excellent!
  • PLAN FOR MORE THAN JUST LESSON PREPARATION. Pray together. Check on absentees. Check on prospect follow up. Check on apprentice developm ent. Check on progress on goals. Spend time training. And, yes, give them help in preparing well for the Bible study session on Sunday.
  • DON'T GET DISCOURAGED IF ATTENDANCE STARTS OUT LOW. Build on what you have. Build your expectations. Put it into job descriptions. Add the expectation for attendance at weekly meetings to teacher covenants. Make your meetings exciting and meaningful, and your teachers and leaders will realize they cannot afford to miss your meetings.

Not ready to move to weekly workers meetings? Start out quarterly or monthly. The ten essentials apply there as well. Make your meetings exciting and meaningful. Check on people and progress. Train and prepare. Be revolutionary!

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