If we truly believe that starting new groups is the best approach to growing our Sunday Schools, then we must understand that we will need to find a lot of new leaders to lead those new groups. As I visit with Pastors and Sunday School leaders and talk with them about starting new groups, I can always count on one question being asked – “We don’t have enough workers now. Where are we supposed to find workers for new groups that we start?” Good question! Where can we find new leaders?
I believe that the beginning point in our search for new leaders is prayer. Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Ask, and God will guide you to the right people!
Next we must understand where Sunday School leaders come from. In “Extreme Sunday School Challenge”, Bruce Raley states – “All new leaders are in Adult groups right now.” Adult Sunday School classes produce Adult Sunday School leaders. We have to help our Adult Sunday School teachers understand that the goal is not to grow a class and keep them, but to send them out to ministries of their own in the church, whether that ministry is to be a teacher, an outreach leader, a care-group leader, etc. If your adult teachers do not embrace this concept, they will stalemate your church.
Every Sunday School leader should have an apprentice that they are training to take their place. Not just a substitute for when they are absent, but someone that God has chosen to be a future leader and that we can mentor and train. How do we find an apprentice? Again, ask God to reveal the person to you. Observe the members of your class – their faithfulness, the comments that they make, and the questions that they ask. Chances are if they are asking questions and making observations in your class, then God is working on their hearts. They may not yet realize what God has in
store for them, but we can begin to guide them and prepare them for future leadership.
Other places to look for potential leaders could include: Vacation Bible School leaders; Retirees who have experience and training; Former Sunday School leaders; Graduating college students returning home; and persons who respond to interest surveys. Ask current teachers to share the names of people in their groups that God might be preparing to teach in the Preschool, Children’s, Students or Adult classes. Search the church membership rolls prayerfully for potential new leaders.
Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (NKJV) I believe this promise pertains to His church as well as to us as individuals. If our churches are to grow we will need more leaders. God has promised that He will supply our needs.
Mark Donnell serves as the Sunday School/Discipleship/Small Group Specialist for the Missouri Baptist Convention. He loves to brag about his 11 month old granddaughter who lives in Pearl City, Hawaii!