In a previous post entitled Sunday School's Neglect of Leadership, Part 4, I painted the following picture:
Leadership can get messy. It can be painful, discouraging, and frustrating. In many Sunday Schools, leadership often stops when it ceases being easy, rewarding, and fun. I want to propose a corollary to a common saying: Without leadership, the people perish.
This neglect of leadership has contributed to the loss of members. People want to be (need to be) led. Its lack has meant that people were not reached. The lack of leadership has contributed to a lower level of discipleship. Some of those not reached would have become leaders and contributed to an ever increasing network of harvesters. Each of these has eternal consequences. These leaders are liable to judgment.
Sunday Schools which have neglected leadership are filled with “leaders” and members who are (1) oblivious to current reality or need, (2) ignorant about the need for change, (3) doubtful and negative about their ability to make any difference, and (4) unwilling to do the work necessary to bring about change. In Sunday School after Sunday School, this neglect of leadership has led to the decline of the Sunday School. Leaders moved from leading to maintaining. They shifted from moving Sunday School forward to managing—or even worse to simply surviving. They have neglected leadership, and Sunday School and the Kingdom have borne the consequences.
And despite some pictures of Sunday School leadership neglect, it does not have to be that way. But moving from neglect takes intentional steps. It takes prayer and commitment. Often accountability and encouragement are necessary to break the cycle of neglect. Moving from neglect takes action instead of inaction, takes purpose instead of the lack of, and takes measurement of progress instead of avoidance of measurement.
What can you do this year to lead instead of manage? What can you do to raise the vision? What can you do to evaluate, prioritize, and plan for success? What goals can you set? Who can you apprentice?
Don't set the goals so high that they are discouraging, but don't set them so low that they are not faith-building and motivating. Stretch yourself. Stretch your Sunday School. Pray. Follow God's leadership. Then you lead those He has entrusted to you. Take them where they need to go this year. Take it one step at a time. Be revolutionary!
For more ideas about leadership, check out these blog posts: