Sunday School Director: Moving from Fire Hydrant to Water Fountain

Tuesday 4th November, 2008

I met with a pastor and Sunday School director yesterday. The pastor was called to serve this church nine years ago. The director joined the church two years ago, is just beginning his service, and has never served as Sunday School director before. On top of that, the church is in the middle of a three-phase construction/renovation project which is largely focusing on Sunday School space. More than once the director quoting one of my blog posts, Help for the New Sunday School Director, said that he felt like he was "drinking from a fire hydrant."

It did not, however, take me long to understand why the director, an architect, had been enlisted. He obviously was an eager learner. He had found my blog and had read numerous posts and had printed several that he wanted to reference again. To go along with that information, I shared three books with him. On top of that, the director had made out a list of sixteen items in his "Plan for Bible Studies." Items on his list ranged from deciding on frequency and the best time for teacher meetings and training sessions, communicating with teachers, making new classroom assignments, acclimating new members, setting up teacher appreciation, and more. What a list!

At one point, I emphasized the importance of prioritizing his list. He will need to choose the top 1-3 items on his list and focus his time and energy on those items until they are well underway or complete. These would be prioritized by importance and by sequence. In other words, some items are necessarily addressed first because others which follow depend on it. After he has accomplished the first 1-3, he can move on to other items. Granted, some of the items are simply making wise and informed decisions, but communication of even those items can be overwhelming for him and his teachers and workers.

Several times in the course of our time together, the director stopped to talk with the pastor about plans or steps in the process. I could tell that the director is a thinker and one who will communicate frequently with his pastor--both are great signs for his effectiveness. They seemed to have a great relationship and already appear to be a good team.

Sunday School leader, are you off to a good start in your Sunday School work this year? What can you learn from this experience I have shared? Are you a learner? Have you identified what you need to know in order to be more effective? Have you prayerfully made out a list of items that need to be addresses/improved. I recommend doing so on paper. Then prioritize your list. Then begin working on them in order. Are you working together as a team with other class or Sunday School leaders and pastor/staff? Much more can be accomplished as a team. This will move you from drinking from a fire hydrant to a less-overwhelming water fountain.

For additional help for the Sunday School director, type "director" into the search box on the upper right hand side of this blog. Of more than two hundred helpful posts for the director, here are four to get you started:

In addition to the free training materials just mentioned, I want to recommend two other resources for the Sunday School Director:  Ten Best Practices to Make Your Sunday School Work and Six Core Values of Sunday School. Don't just maintain the status quo. Lead. Be revolutionary!

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