I enjoy playing golf. Golf Designers strategically place sandtraps, water, trees, etc. to challenge the golfer. When a golfer gets in a sandtrap: what’s his goal? To GET out. The goal is not to make the sandtrap…a sandbox. The goal is to get out.
When leaders recognize they are in a rut, they need to get out. Ruts will keep your group and your class from getting the ball in the hole. Allan Taylor, minister of education at FBC Woodstock, says leaders lead they don’t point. Lead your class and group and Sunday School to get out of the ruts.
In 3 Roles of a Group Leader, the authors identify three major ruts that Sunday School leaders need to avoid. First, a leader must keep his group from getting in the rut of being a closed group. One of the major challenges of a leader is to keep groups from turning inward so that new people are not wanted nor expected. When this happens, classes lose their effectiveness in evangelism and assimilation. When this happens, your church suffers because the organization that is supposed to be the organization designed for ministry and growth fails in its task.
Second, the authors suggest that a leader must avoid the rut of thinking “bigger is better.” When groups just grow bigger, they fail to start new groups. When new groups are not started, the organization becomes stagnant. When the organization becomes stagnant, it is harder for new people to get connected. When new people don’t get connected, they find another church. As your class and group gets bigger, be willing to start a new group. Lead don’t point. Your class will follow your leadership.
Third, a leader must avoid the rut of thinking only of the active members of the group. In other words, those who show up on a regular or irregular basis. If your group only focuses on those who show up, then those who don’t show up will be ignored or removed from your list. When those who don’t show up or ignored and removed from the list, these members become names on a membership list. When they become names on a membership list, no class is responsible for ministering to them when they are absent or to encourage them when they are faithful. When this happens, they ultimately drop out. When they drop out, their gifts and talents are lost to the ministry of the church. Lead don’t point. Come up with strategies that will make sure that every member counts, every guest gets connected, and every lost person hears the gospel.
Lead in such a way that people will follow. Followers will follow leaders who demonstrate their faithfulness in five ways. First, followers must be wholeheartedly convinced of their leaders’ integrity. Second, the leader’s servant hood needs to be felt, understood, believed, and practiced. Third, the leader must be willing to be accountable to others. Fourth, the leader has to be vulnerable. Lastly, the leader leads by doing the work of a leader.
Do the work of a leader. Recognize the rut and GET OUT!!!!
Mark Miller is the Sunday School specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention… AND an avid golfer.
Mark also has his own blog at drmmiller.org.