Sunday School Leadership Lessons

Thursday 24th July, 2008

I read an interesting article by Stephen Macchia entitled The Five-Minute Mentor. The subtitle was A Short List of Leadership Lessons. The article really is a five-minute leadership encouragement. These lessons apply to your leadership of the Sunday School as well. The five points of Macchia's list are in all capitals followed by my commentary:

  • CARE FOR YOUR SOUL. If you don't do this, no one else will--or can. Your leadership will be negatively impacted if you fail to spend time with God in personal Bible study and prayer. Seek Him. Seek to glorify Him. Learn more about Him along with His Word, ways, and will. Sunday School leadership begins with God, and your relationship with Him is vital!
  • BUILD A HEALTHY TEAM. You cannot lead alone. You cannot do every Sunday School task that needs to be done. And if you could, it would not be healthy for you or for building up the body of Christ (see Ephesians 4). I like what Macchia said here: "A healthy team bases its relationships on trust in God and one another; knows that each member needs to be empowered to serve out of his or her passion and gift mix; assimilates with one another in order to multiply their shared effectiveness; manages the resources entrusted to their care; and serves with joy—always for the glory of God."
  • BE RELATIONALLY FOCUSED. Even Sunday School leaders who tend to be task-oriented must focus on people. Slow down. Listen. Give good attention. Ask about family. Be open. Connect. Care. Build your Sunday School work out of your investment in these relationships. Your example here is vital. But you also need to help the team. And I agree with Macchia: "When conflict occurs, welcome it as your friend and work diligently to learn from and resolve it."
  • DISCERN--DECIDE--ACT--ASSESS. These four actions are so much easier when you have paid attention to caring for your soul, building a healthy Sunday School team, and being relationally focused. Pay attention to God and your team. Seek honest sharing as you deal with issues. Discern what is big and what is small. Discern when to move and when to stay put. Know when to stand against the majority. As Macchia puts it, "Discernment leads to decisions and action." Make it wise discernment. But the Sunday School task is not finished even when you have acted, even when you have carried out your decisions and plans. No, it is then time to evaluate progress and effectiveness. And then make any needed adjustments. I like Macchia's closing thought here: "Make this a repeated pattern of prayer, thought, action, and reflection."
  • KEEP THE MAIN THING THE MAIN THING. Keep God first. Keep pursuit of obedience to Him primary. Stay focused to your mission and vision. Adjust when you get off course. Be careful of juggling too many plans simultaneously. Avoid being distracted by busyness for yourself, your team, and your Sunday School. Your influence on the team is essential.

Evaluate your Sunday School leadership. Which of these is easiest for you? With which do you most struggle? On which one(s) do you need to focus more in the days ahead? Choose one. Pray for God's help. Determine "baby steps" in implementing this leadership lesson. Step boldly. Be revolutionary!

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