Enlistment Story. The young woman sitting across from me had been a teacher in our preschool Sunday School for two years. I had observed her commitment to her work, and she seemed to have a passion for this age group. As the new Sunday School director for this medium sized church, I was attempting to put together its first Sunday School Ministry Team.
I had received her spiritual gifts inventory from the Ministry Connection Team, and it showed that she had the gifts of teaching and administration. I thought that she’d be a good choice for the team. When I called to make an appointment to meet with her, she was interested enough to talk with me.
I began our conversation discussing the work in her preschool class. She brightened as she talked about each of the preschoolers and how much she enjoyed working with them. Her passion was evident. I began talking about the Sunday School and its purpose of assisting the church in accomplishing its mission of making and growing disciples, even preschool disciples. We looked together at the church mission statement, and I asked if she could support this mission enough to sign her name to it. She enthusiastically said “yes.”
Then I shared with her my intention of developing a Sunday School Ministry Team that would plan, coordinate, and evaluate the work of the Sunday School. We looked at her Spiritual Gifts Inventory and affirmed her gifts as those needed for this team. I shared with her the job description details for team members, the time investment that would be required, and resources available to assist team members.
We talked about how this team could make the Sunday School Ministry more than just an event for Bible study and fellowship but also a strategy for reaching people for Christ and for making and growing disciples of all ages. I emphasized that for this to happen it would take team work and planning. I gave her the dates for our spring planning retreat and the monthly, one hour meeting to coordinate the actions planned.
Then, I said that each member of the team would become a specialist for that age group, and I would like for her to consider being the preschool specialist for our church and serve as the preschool representative on the team. The word “specialist” made her sit up taller; she seemed attracted to this idea. I told her that I would make sure she had all of the resources and training she would need to do the job with excellence. I gave her specific dates for training that was already planned. I suggested as a preschool specialist, that everything she did in the church be preschool related so that she would have a focused ministry.
I made it clear that I would have high expectations of the team, and we went over the six (6) personal challenges that would be expected of each team member:
- Pray for God’s leadership
- Plan with the S.S. Team
- Prepare adequately for the ministry
- Prompt – be on time for the ministry
- Participate in outreach and evangelism
- Participate in training and equipping for the ministry
I ask her if she would be willing to pray about this job for one week and then I’d connect with her again to get her answer. She agreed, and we ended our conversation in prayer. I knew what her answer would be, because I saw both her commitment and passion, but I wanted her decision to be well thought out and prayed over. When I connected with her the next week, I was not surprised when she said with not a little excitement, Yes, I’ll be glad to be the Preschool Specialists on the Sunday School Ministry Team.
I placed in her hands resources to support her ministry, and we reviewed the dates for the training, the spring planning retreat, and the monthly coordination meetings. I knew that I had enlisted my potential and not my problem. She still serves faithfully.
Phil Stone is the State Sunday School Director for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.