This is day 28 of 31 Days of Missionary Sunday School
Some people can easily identify patterns or trends in everyday life. David Francis identified some patterns involving three things. The following paragraph describes David Francis’ principle of three found in Missionary Sunday School:
“As a general rule, you need three leaders to start a new class. Three words often used to describe the purposes of Sunday School are teach, minister, and reach. One could also describe the purpose in terms of discover, connect, and invite. There
is a subtle difference between these sets of descriptors. Teach, minister, and reach are usually directed by the SS organization or its leaders. Discover, connect, and invite are three things every class member can do. A group where members—not just leaders–embrace these three dimensions is more likely to be a missionary Sunday School class. The basic idea is that each class has at least three members/leaders that accept primary responsibility for one of the three dimensions, even as they share responsibility for them all.” David Francis, Missionary Sunday School (page 46)
In order for these to be principles, we should expect to see these three things repeated in effective Sunday Schools—Missionary Sunday Schools, that is. I would add a few other principles of three. Steve and I enjoy starting new classes. We have discovered that a core leadership team can only survive three generations (3 class starts) before becoming a deeply rooted class itself. The core leaders need to form at least two leadership teams which accelerates the starting of more new classes.
If someone misses three consecutive weeks of Sunday School, they are much more apt to never reconnect. That’s why missionary Sunday School classes want to and expect to contact every person every week.
Sunday School directors need to ask every Sunday School teacher three things.
- How is your ministry with (age group) going?
- Do you have everything you need?
- How can I pray more specifically for you?
Strong relationships are built from these three simple questions. Most teachers will go on to tell you something about why their ministry is going (or not going) well. It gives you a chance to hear stories you may otherwise miss. You also might be surprised to find that most teachers do not ask for money. Most of their needs involve the use of shared space, better communication, etc. All teachers know you care if you find out how to pray for them and know you do so.
You can probably add other principles of three yourself. Consider using one principle of three at each leadership meeting.
Belinda Jolley serves as the Director of the Adult Ministry Office of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Belinda and her husband, Steve, enjoy starting new classes at First Baptist Church in Rock Hill, South Carolina.