25 Ways to Recognize Sunday School Workers, Part 3

Sunday 27th April, 2008

Previously in this three-part series, I have said that Sunday School teachers and workers contribute much to the ministry of the church. Sunday School impacts discipleship, evangelism, assimilation, and ministry efforts. It is essential to recognize these leaders or some will burn out and quit. Judy Stamey has a list of 25 ways to recognize workers at the end of her chapter entitled Equipping the Saints to Serve in the book, Church Administration Handbook: A Revised and Completely Updated Edition. In Part 1 and Part 2, I shared the first two thirds of her list. Here in Part 3, I will share the final third of her list of ways to recognize workers with her list is in all capitals followed by my commentary:

  • PROVIDE USEFUL EQUIPMENT IN GOOD WORKING CONDITION. When equipment and furnishings make the job they are doing harder, it makes it easier for workers to feel they are not valued. Make sure they have the right size chairs. Don't make adults sit in children's chairs or vice versa. Do your best to respond to requests. Ask what they need. Provide a supply/work room. Make sure workers have access to a copier that works.
  • PLAN SPECIAL EVENTS. Seek the input of Sunday School teachers and workers in the planning of special events. Get them to set class goals for high attendance day. Discuss the best day of the week and time for training events, etc. But also remember to plan special worker appreciation days (check out Plan Your Sunday School Teacher Appreciation Day and Sunday School Teacher Appreciation Month: Is It May or October?). This can be done annual, quarterly, or monthly.
  • PROVIDE OPPORTUNITES FOR CONFERENCES AND EVALUATION. Coaching Sunday School leaders is one of the best ways to make sure they are successful and achieve their potential. Ideally no more than 3-5 workers would be coached by the same person so there is not too great of a span of care. The coach would set aside regular times (perhaps quarterly) to see how things are going, to lead the worker to assess progress. Check out Coaching Helps Sunday School Teachers Stay Balanced and on Target for more information.
  • PLAN A "RECOGNITION EDITION" OF THE CHURCH NEWSLETTER. Include lots of pictures from events throughout the year as well as classes in action on Sunday morning and during fellowships and projects. Recognize classes and workers. Do some research to discover how long teachers and workers have served. Make it a "special" edition!
  • ADEQUATELY ORIENT. I struggled a bit with Stamey's word, "adequately." But it is probably the right choice. Provide enough pre-service training to help them to launch successfully into their new responsibility, but don't provide so much training that they are overwhelmed before they begin. Again, apprenticing is one of the best ways to provide this orientation (check out Coaching a Successful Sunday School Teacher Apprentice).
  • BE FAMILIAR WITH THE DETAILS OF ASSIGNMENTS. How can you provide help and support, if you don't know what they worker has been asked to do? Every worker should have a job description, but some assignments may be "other duties as assigned." Make sure assignments are clear. An assignment without details can be difficult and demotivating!
  • SAY THANK YOU. Do so every way you can frequently. Share your appreciation in person, by card/letter, by e-mail, by phone, in the newsletter/bulletin, and in front of groups. On multiple occasions I have heard "retiring" teachers share that they did not know the class felt that way. Don't neglect to express your thanks now!
  • GREET BY NAME. This is such a simple but important level of recognition! Slow down. Take time to greet. Look them in the face. Call them by name. We all enjoy hearing our names. Listen. Express interest. Express care. Respond to needs.

At the close of Part 1 and Part 2, I asked which of these ways you as a Sunday School leader need to implement in your work with others. Which one of these eight in particular should be your focus this month! Recognize workers. Keep them. Be revolutionary!

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