Training Leaders through Adult Sunday School Classes

Saturday 18th August, 2007

Have you ever thought about all the wonderful opportunities that are available through adult Sunday School classes to train potential leaders and further train those already serving? I am not talking about full leadership training, but I am talking about small installments. This training can ultimately help individuals be prepared relationally to take on other leadership opportunities in the church. Allow me to help you think through a few.

Think about some of the places individuals can serve in a class besides the role of teacher. Adult classes often organize differently, but here are a few of the leadership roles: care group leaders, outreach/invitation leader or team, secretary, apprentice teacher, fellowship leader or team, mission/ministry leader or team, class greeters, and small group discussion leaders. Think about a care group leader. What are some of the leadership actions required in this role?

A care group leader provides weekly contact, prayer, and care for an assigned group of class members and prospects, usually not more than six. This leader is accountable to the teacher, reporting weekly on those who are absent and those who need ministry. The leader develops friendships with members of the assigned care group. Responsibility is learned as regular reports are made on the job being done. Training of potential care group leaders happens unintentionally as the job is done well.

Small group discussion leaders learn to listen, an important leadership skill. They learn to ask good questions. They practice eye contact. They may be asked to look over a passage or to consider a subject or question in advance, requiring them to learn and use planning and communicating skills. This can prepare them for almost any leadership role.

A class fellowship leader learns to seek input about preferences of class members. This leader learns to listen and adjust plans in order to make events more successful. A fellowship leader works with others in planning refreshments, activities, and communication. This is fertile training ground for many leadership opportunities within the church that have to do with relationships and planning and more.

Even a casual attender of an adult class who has not accepted any class leadership role often is prepared by regular involvement in the class. He observes interactions between individuals in the class. She sees how fellowships are planned. He hears how prayer is done. She notices how people handle disagreement. And the list goes on and on.

Sunday School is a fertile ground for leadership training. The many roles within the class often prepare individuals to serve in other capacities within the church. And the interactions in the class often expose church leaders to the individual's potential and allow them to consider enlisting the individual. Relationships with and observation of potential leadership within adult classes can be a great asset for any church.

Why not take it to the next level? Much of what I described happens naturally. Why not ask every leader in your class to train an apprentice? Why not double your potential leadership training? Why not make your current leaders even more intentional in practicing good leadership? Make your leadership training through the Sunday School even more revolutionary this year!

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