The unsuspecting church leader was walking from his Sunday School class to the sanctuary for worship when out of nowhere, a hand grabbed the nap of his neck and directed him to a semi-abandoned classroom where he was unceremoniously enlisted to teach 5th and 6th grade boys next year in Sunday School. He had said ok before he knew what had happened.
All he knew was that there were some kids who needed a teacher and the nominating committee had thought that he’d do a good job. He wanted to help out, but wasn’t sure this was the place. He thinks, maybe, God in His wisdom had directed the committee to my name. Who knows, it just might be God’s will. ‘Guess I’ll find out sooner or later. Anyway, I start next week. Wonder what book I’ll be using to teach from? I’ll just pick a Bible passage. ‘Can’t be too hard; surely I’m smarter than a fifth grader!
This enlistment story is all too real and pervasive in Baptist life. It takes seriously neither the Sunday School ministry nor the giftedness of the leader. Vibrant leaders are not enlisted this way. What would make it better?
An enlistment process that takes seriously the ministry and giftedness of the leaders enlisted. This is the enlistment process I used as Sunday School Director of my church:
Enlistment Process For Sunday School Ministry Team and Leaders
- Pray for God’s leadership.
- Make an appointment to meet face to face with the potential leader.
- Interview person and seek his commitment to the Mission of the Church
- Emphasize how the S.S. ministry purpose supports the mission and values of the church.
- Discuss his Passions and Gifts and affirm that his/her gifts are needed for S.S. ministry
- Present the ministry position and share details of the job description
- Share resources and curriculum to be used in this ministry position
- Tell about training opportunities with specific dates.
- Share the time investment and work required for the ministry with specific dates for annual planning and monthly/regular coordination.
- Share the high standards for team members.
- Allow time for prayerful consideration
- Set time to check back with member.
- Make second contact and seek commitment.
I discovered that people respect a ministry position when they are enlisted with respect.
Phil Stone is the State Sunday School Director for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.