Sunday School Change Is Needed But Should Not Be Rushed

Tuesday 18th December, 2007

I travelled to West Yellowstone for a meeting in May. Because of the cost of flights, I flew into Billings and had a 3.5 hour drive to West Yellowstone. And I enjoyed every minute of it (before and after my meeting)! What a beautiful country we live in! If you have vacation time in the future, drive through Montana! And make sure you take time to visit Yellowstone. Isn't our Creater awesome? Wow!

Flying and then driving 3.5 hours can be profitable in Sunday School too. What do I mean? I mean change takes time. Many of our Sunday Schools are in need of changes, some big and some little. But rushing change is seldom effective. Consider some of the ways we cannot afford to rush change:

  • PRAYER/VISION. Lead change out of prayer and vision. Time spent in prayer is never wasted, and leading out of a relationship with our Lord will ensure greater success. Share the big picture regularly. Call Sunday School and church leaders to join you in prayer. Don't rush!
  • COMMUNICATION. Multiple communication is necessary. They say you have to tell Baptists things at least six times for them to hear it. This takes time. Involve leaders in the communication. Listen to them. Seek their input--this is essential for buy-in. Be willing to adjust. Remember that the "why" and "what's in it for me" are significant pieces of the communication process.
  • RELATIONSHIPS. Relationships take time to develop. Trust is essential for leadership to be effective and change to be smoother. Trust happens over time and interactions. Spend time getting to know Sunday School leaders and key church leaders before you lead change. Then, when change is needed, you will have the "relational change tokens" needed to accomplish the change.
  • ASSESSMENT/PREPARATION. Do your homework. Research. Look at statistics. Talk with church and community leaders. Listen. Ask questions. Evaluate. Weigh options. Before heading down the road of change, be prepared for as many questions as you can anticipate.
  • MAKE IT SIMPLE. Too often change is complicated. Work to simplify the communication and process. Make it understandable. Make it able to be explained quickly and simply. Reduce unneeded steps. Seek input about how to simplify. Again, this takes time, but it is worth it!
  • BE FLEXIBLE/ADJUST. Adjustments are not unusual in the process of leading a change process. Be flexible. Keep moving forward in the change process while making any needed tweaks to the process that will enable success. Again, adjustments may add extra time to the change, but they may be the steps that make the change permanent and successful.

My definition of leadership is "taking a group where they need to go." Change is often necessary in order to be effective in leading the Sunday School where they and God need it to go. Pray about the changes needed in your Sunday School this year. Set change into motion. Don't rush it! Follow these suggestions and watch your change take place. Be revolutionary!

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