Training Sunday School Teachers for Change

Monday 12th May, 2008

Teachers are keys in a revolutionary Sunday School. When there is teacher resistance to change, potential impact is lost. It is difficult to work around teachers who don't understand or favor change. In a blog post entitled Revolutionary Teachers Are FAT, I emphasized that the church needs teachers who are faithful, available, and teachable. I believe a second important word beginning with "F" would also be appropriate:  flexible.

Revolutionary teachers must be flexible. They have to adjust their lessons to the Spirit's leadership. They need to be flexible in the presence of member crises and needs. They must change plans when class fellowship plans conflict with a church activity. Every lesson requires adjustments to someone talking too much (either the teacher or the class).

Revolutionary Sunday School works to accomplish change. Ultimately, change is desired in the life of every person--that those far from God would become fully devoted disciplers for our Lord. This seldom happens without leadership. Teachers are vital to the process. How do we prepare teachers to be on the cutting edge of change? Training.

Last summer/fall, I wrote two posts about training: Responding to Sunday School Teachers Who Don’t Want to Train and Creative Ways to Train Sunday School Teachers. I want to encourage you to read both of these blog entries. Recently, David Francis, Sunday School Director for LifeWay Christian Resources, wrote an article entitled Encourage Training Through a Point System. He makes several good points before he explains one suggestion of a point system. After acknowledging that people learn best in different ways, he encourages flexibility in the training delivery system to accommodate these differences.

David prefers higher numbers so "there can be a lot of points attached to any particular training module, and so that different training opportunities can have relative values." What he means there is that some training has more impact than others. That is reflected in the way he illustrated assigning training points. Here are his four categories without their accompanying explanations (read the article for more information):

  • 100 Points: Listening, Watching, Reading,
  • 200 Points: Attending a Training Session at the Church,
  • 500 Points: Attending Training Provided by the Association or State Convention (like Super Saturday), and
  • 1,000 Points: Sunday School Week at Glorieta or Ridgecrest Conference Centers.
You could add 10 points for every weekly workers' meeting they attend. If you meet monthly, you could make those 50 points. Or if you meet quarterly, you could make those 100 points. But each of these meetings would need to offer training segments in order to qualify for training points. There are many more training delivery methods. Check out Creative Ways to Train Sunday School Teachers for more information.

Expect your teachers to train. Put the expectation in their job description. Hold them accountable to do so. Make training fun and available at times and in ways that are convenient for them. Help them to know how they are doing in meeting expectations to train. David's system is one method for doing so. What else have you done to encourage teachers to train? Press the Comments button below to share your experiences. Train them for change. Be revolutionary!

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