Could Job Descriptions Help Your Sunday School Grow?

Monday 7th March, 2011

There are many factors in encouraging the growth of the Sunday School. Without a doubt, some of the factors are spiritual. When the Holy Spirit is at work in a body of believers, it is attractive, and they desire to give God their best effort. Other factors are organizational, such as number and size of classes, workers, and space. Still other factors involve leadership and expectations.

Sunday School job descriptions are more than a list of duties. They are about expectations. They help communicate what it takes to give God, the church, and the Sunday School your best effort. They help to measure and report success. They help in providing encouragement and help as well as in pointing out areas for improvement.

Recently, I conducted a Sunday School survey to determine differences between growing and declining Sunday Schools. Check out the series beginning with Initial Reflections on Sunday School Survey Results, Part 1 and concluding with Further Reflections on Sunday School Survey Results. One of the statements from the survey which showed an analysis of variance (ANOVA) of significance between the two groups was the following:

Job descriptions are used when teachers and workers are enlisted and to communicate expectations. (Have no job descriptions; Yes, use job descriptions during enlistment; Yes, use job descriptions to communication expectations; Yes, to both)

Here is a table of responses when comparing those who self-report growing or declining attendance in Sunday School:

Question 17 Growing Declining
Have no job descriptions
49.3%
70.8%
Yes, use job descriptions during enlistment
18.7%
7.7%
Yes, use job descriptions to communicate expectations
8.7%
9.2%
Yes, to both
22.0%
9.2%

Apparently growing Sunday Schools are more likely to use job descriptions during enlistment and/or to communicate expectations. These Sunday Schools have taken time to develop job descriptions as well as to share them with their Sunday School teachers and workers. Workers are more likely to be confident about pursuit of a task they understand than one with little clarity.

In one church I served we had no job descriptions. I gathered my leaders and together we wrote job descriptions. When we finished the work, the leaders were committed to what they had created. They "owned" them because they helped create them. From that point, they knew what they needed to do in order to be successful. And they knew how they would be measured. As expectations are added, they need to be added to job descriptions. Effort should be made annually to update job descriptions. They should be kept simple and clear.

If you don't have job descriptions, avoiding handing them out to existing workers without allowing for conversation and adjustment. While LifeWay has a good set of Sunday School Leader Job Descriptions, use them only as starting points. Feel free to customize them to your setting. And remember you can (and sho uld) adjust them later. Use job descriptions. Raise expectations. Give God your best. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!

For more ideas about job descriptions and raising expectations, check out these blog posts:

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