Sunday School Avoiding Deadman’s Turnabout

Friday 22nd January, 2010

During the month of June, I took a sabbatical to begin writing a book about Sunday School. (It now looks like it will be three books.) For my sabbatical, my wife and I travelled to England (including Gloucester, home of Robert Raikes, see picture above) where Sunday School had its start. While there we made a three-night jaunt to Wales and Scotland and even managed to stay in a castle.

During the month and specifically on that trip, I did some driving (on the other side of the road). Entering highways on the exit ramps (from an American's perspective) was the scariest part of driving. The second most scary was roundabouts. A roundabout is a junction in two or more roads (as many as a dozen exits), sometimes with lights or stop signs and sometimes without. Traffic always went clockwise around the roundabout. It was every man (or woman) for himself.

Some roundabouts had clear signs about which of the three or more exits led where. Other roundabouts had unclear or no signage. Locals would know which way to go, but foreigners would have to guess. More than once, I circled around a roundabout two, three, and even four times trying to decide which exit to take. In roundabouts with multiple lanes, there was an art to getting in the outside lane at the right time in the midst of the traffic.

Anyway, on our Scotland trip, we had spent the night at Crabwall Manor in Chester and were heading to Edinburgh. But before leading Chester, I stopped to ask for directions. The young man was very helpful. He showed me the fastest way on the map but quickly stated:

"But I would not send my worst enemy through Deadman's Roundabout."

It seems that Deadman's Roundabout had poor signage, way too much traffic, and about a dozen exits. He said even locals had difficulty navigating it. So he plotted me a longer but safer set of directions which worked smoothly.

His comment got me thinking. I find many Sunday Schools and Sunday School leaders are stuck in Deadman's Roundabout. They continue to circle trying to decide which way to go. They are struggling to make the right decision resulting in failure to make any decision. Their Sunday Schools are running out of gas. Teachers and leaders are growing tired of having no leadership. They are tried of making no progress. They get comfortably stuck while being frustrated at the same time.

Avoiding Deadman's Roundabout takes wisdom whose source is time spent with God and wise counselors. It takes prayer and planning. Maintaining momentum is important but heading in the right direction is essential. Follow God's lead. With God you will never go in the wrong direction! Be revolutionary!

For more ideas about planning, check out these blog posts:

Comments [0]