Qualifications of a Sunday School Teacher, Part 1

Sunday 10th August, 2008

Too often "warm bodies" are enlisted as Sunday School teachers. What do I mean? I mean the nominating committee, team, or individual approaches a potential teacher candidate without prayer, hands him/her a teacher book, and tells them they are needed. The candidate has not prayed and feels pressured (or worse, guilted) into accepting. The candidate's gifts, passions, personality, or experience don't match. And most of all, they sense no call from God to serve in that capacity.

Sometimes these individuals have a compassionate heart. They really care that there is a need, and they want to help. Sometimes they don't know how to say "no," even when they need to do so. And occasionally they are able to do an acceptable job because they are surrounded by capable people. But how much impact is lost because the "best" person is not enlisted? How much is lost because a qualified person is not serving? How much is lost because a God-called person is not following His lead with His people?

What qualifications should a Sunday School teacher possess? What qualifications should a nominating committee, team, or individual seek in a teacher? There are lists of them in many printed and online resources about Sunday School. One list was put together by Elmer Towns in a free online resource called How to Grow an Effective Sunday School. On page 48, Towns shares teacher qualifications. In Part 1, I will share the first nine qualifications which I have listed in all capitals followed by my brief commentary:

  • PERSONAL SALVATION. This should not be assume. Ask him/her to share her testimony, including how God is active in his/her life today.
  • THE GIFT OF TEACHING (EPHESIANS 4:11). If the gift of teaching is absent, other spiritual gifts needed by the class should be present.
  • A THOROUGH KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORD OF GOD (2 TIMOTY 3:15-17). This is preferred, or at least the beginning of a thorough knowledge along with a strong desire to learn more.
  • DAILY DEVOTIONS CONSISTING OF PRAYER AND BIBLE STUDY. While this should be an expectation of every believer, nothing less should be acceptable from those who will teach God's Word to others.
  • REGULAR CHURCH ATTENDANCE (HEBREWS 10:25). Only in the case of physical limits should a teacher be allowed to serve who does not attend the worship service.
  • PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATIVE ABILITY. The teacher is key to carrying out the work of the class. In some cases, capable administrators are present and/or already enlisted and serving in the classes. In that case, the teacher should be visibly supportive.
  • LEADERSHIP QUALITIES, THE ABILITY TO INSPIRE CONFIDENCE. Leadership is taking a group where they need to go. If they aren't following, then the teacher is not leading.
  • VISION, THE ABILITY TO VIEW THE JOB OBJECTIVELY AND NOT BECOME DISCOURAGED IN IT (PHILIPPIANS 3:13-14). Spending time daily with God and getting to know attenders weekly and through home visits and fellowships, will help the teacher to understand what should be worked toward together.
  • ABILITY TO EXPRESS HIMSELF AND COMMUNICATE. This ability is more than teaching. The teacher needs to listen well, talk, and speak one-on-one, in meetings, and in other interactions.
In Part 2, I will share the last five of Town's teacher qualifications along wtih five teacher duties. As a teacher, how do you measure up? Not all the way there? Pray and ask God to help you work on your qualifications this year. Give yourself to Him. Give yo urself to them. Give your best. Make teaching a priority. Be revolutionary!

  1. 1) Lisa Rogers Said: (8/13/2008 12:12:42 PM GMT) Gravatar Image
    Qualifications of a Sunday School Teacher, Part 1

    One more qualification: Asking the Holy Spirit to teach the teacher and guide him/her EVERY SINGLE TIME they sit down to prepare the lesson and EVERY SINGLE TIME they open their Bible. Thank you for taking my comment. Lisa Rogers

  2. 2) larrypatrick Said: (10/22/2008 7:15:35 PM GMT) Gravatar Image
    Qualifications of a Sunday School Teacher, Part 1

    Should a sunday school teacher attend the weekly or bi meetings too?

  3. 3) Aubrey Hendricks Said: (6/6/2009 6:42:20 AM GMT) Gravatar Image
    Qualifications of a Sunday School Teacher, Part 1

    Hello All,

    Is there any possibilty that I can get this in a Powerpoint presentaion format please? Im busy with a Train the Trainer Sunday School Teachers Academy for our ministry.

    Many tahnks and awaitiing your response in great anticipation,

    God Bless,


  4. 4) Darryl Wilson Said: (6/6/2009 7:24:24 AM GMT) Gravatar Image
    re: Qualifications of a Sunday School Teacher, Part 1

    Aubrey, I do not possess a PowerPoint presentation of this material. I agree that it would be helpful. If you develop a PPT for the material, I am sure other would be grateful if you passed it along. I am glad to hear about your investment in your teachers!

  5. 5) frances moody Said: (10/20/2010 8:22:35 AM GMT) Gravatar Image
    Qualifications of a Sunday School Teacher, Part 1


  6. 6) LuLa Said: (8/4/2013 1:19:33 PM GMT) Gravatar Image
    Qualifications of a Sunday School Teacher, Part 1

    My husband and I were married then divorced, then remarried. Does this affect his qualifications for being a Sunday School Teacher?

  7. 7) Dorothy Blankinchip Said: (3/23/2016 10:52:43 PM GMT) Gravatar Image
    Qualifications of a Sunday School Teacher, Part 1

    I have just left church where a member nominated a church member to teach a teenage Sunday School class. He has been divorced and married again. Some of the church says he is not qualified. Even though he is a Godly man, very active in church. How do you feel the Lord looks at this?

  8. 8) Julie Said: (4/7/2016 9:13:38 PM GMT) Gravatar Image
    Qualifications of a Sunday School Teacher, Part 1

    My daughter is 16 (17 in July). For the last several months she has been teaching Sunday school at our church. Recently we moved to a much larger church. Now all of a sudden the rules are constantly changing. She was give her lesson plan weeks ago and has been studying it daily!

    She received a call tonight saying that she could no longer teach because she wasn't 18. Is that true?

    She would have an assistant but I feel her feelings are justified. Is there a law?

  9. 9) henry harris Said: (7/27/2016 12:06:44 PM GMT) Gravatar Image
    Qualifications of a Sunday School Teacher, Part 1

    I like more indebt about the qualification about Sunday school

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