Sunday School leadership meetings are the key planning time for the work of classes and departments. The weekly Sunday School leadership meeting is designed to help all Sunday School leaders be more effective in all aspects of the work of the Sunday School and specifically of the work of their class or department. The leadership meetings provide a much needed focus in a day when it is easy to overlook the need to plan, pray, and strategize together.
The value of the weekly Sunday School leadership meetings
Weekly Sunday School leadership meetings:
- Strengthen administration in the class or department. Sunday morning is not the time to deal with administrative concerns that may arise, such as determining the process for receiving visitors and helping them feel welcome, receiving and completing records, space and resource needs, Sunday schedules, ordering materials, and other administrative needs. These concerns are better dealt with as a team during weekly leadership meetings.
- Promote stronger team spirit. Establishing common goals, developing plans, hearing and understanding the same information, dreaming together, sharing burdens and concerns, understanding what other people in the department, class, or the other age-group departments are trying to accomplish, and praying together contribute to a team spirit.
- Include evaluation, leading to better work. Leadership meetings provide a time to coordinate aspects of the work and to communicate information pertinent to other leaders.
- Improve coordination and communication. Weekly leadership meetings provide a time to coordinate aspects of the work and to communicate information pertinent to other leaders.
- Increase involvement of members and prospects in Sunday Bible study sessions. Leadership meetings not only focus on the content of the Bible study, but provide leaders a time to determine how the Bible will be taught. Methods can be discussed and a plan built for maximizing the involvement of members and prospects in Bible study that transforms lives.
- Call attention to class and department plans, enrollment and attendance goals, and reports. A leadership meeting is a time to make leaders more conscious of the progress being made by the class or department in accomplishing the plans it has established for the work of the class or department. Attention is called to the progress toward attaining enrollment and attendance goals.
Content of weekly Sunday School leadership meeting
Weekly Sunday School leadership meetings are designed to plan the work of the department and/or class, therefore, it is very important that Sunday School leadership meetings are comprehensive and cover the entire work of the department and/or class. A brief general period with all leaders together may be desired to deal briefly with major issues regarding the Sunday School. Following that segment, age-group department leadership meetings are conducted by the respective department directors. In churches without departments, the focus areas become the object of class planning. Class leaders and FAITH Team Leaders gather with the class teacher to discuss the work of the class in key focus areas.
- General Period (5 to 15 minutes) – This period can vary from 5 or 10 minutes to 15 minutes. However be careful not to take time away from the important planning of departments and/or classes. This period is a brief gathering of all Sunday School leaders led by the Sunday School director, pastor, minister of education. The purpose of the general period is to motivate and inform leaders in areas of concern to all age groups.
- Focus on Mission (10 minutes) – This portion of the meeting is an opportunity to relate the work of the Sunday School departments and/or classes to the mission and the ministry of the Sunday School and the church. Information is shared concerning the church wide emphases, needs, and concerns. This is a wonderful opportunity to continually emphasize Sunday School as a strategy and how the strategy of the department and/or class relates to the strategy of the Sunday School. During this portion of the meeting discuss any administrative concerns. Also use this and other portions of the meeting to pray together. This portion of the meeting may be used to discuss the enlistment of FAITH teams from the class and for praying for the FAITH teams.
- Focus on Relationships (25 minutes) – This is a key time for the FAITH Team Leader to be involved in the Sunday School leadership meeting. During this part of the meeting relationships with members and prospects are discussed, individual needs are assessed, and, as appropriate, plans are made to involve members in responding to them. Needs that might trigger a FAITH visit to a member or prospect are discussed. Reports are given on the visits made by FAITH teams to prospects and members. Decisions are made regarding the needed prospect and ministry visits. This portion of the meeting provides a wonderful opportunity to lay specific plans for the Sunday School department and/or class to assimilate new members. Fellowship plans aimed at building relationship are made during this portion of the meeting. Time should be spent praying for the needs of members and prospects and the work and ministry of the department and/or class.
- Focus on Bible study (25 minutes) – The desired work of the Sunday School department and/or class is to see lives transformed. Teaching for spiritual transformation is facilitated when leaders work together to plan the best way to bring members into a life-changing encounter with the Bible message. Bible study therefore is not seen as an independent task but is the focal point around which people are reached for Christ and becomes the foundation for engaging people in evangelism, discipleship, ministry, fellowship, and worship. Pray together for the Bible study time that will take place on Sunday morning (or at any other time).
Steps in strengthen Sunday School leadership meetings
Whether you do not presently have Sunday School leadership meetings or need to strengthen your current Sunday School leadership meetings you should take the following steps to build your Sunday School leadership meetings.
- Discuss thoroughly with the Sunday School Planning Team the advantages of a weekly Sunday School leadership meeting.
- Secure the commitment of the pastor and staff. The pastor, other church staff, Sunday School director, and the Sunday School Planning Team need to demonstrate a strong support for Sunday School leadership meetings if they are going to be successful. Their support will help cause the church to establish this meeting as a priority and strengthen the concept that attendance is required as a part of the Sunday School and FAITH leader's responsibility.
- Choose a time. The best meeting time is that which fits the needs of the church and the people who are to participate. The meeting time chosen needs to be coordinated with other church leaders. The time needs to be protected so Sunday School leaders and FAITH leaders may attend without conflict.
- Make provisions for children. Child care needs to be age-graded, ongoing, and self-sustaining, which means materials and leaders do not have to be secured week-after-week. Such ongoing organizations as children's music and missions are ideal ways of providing for the children during weekly leadership meetings.
- Train department directors and teachers to conduct leadership meetings. Department directors and teachers are key to the success of leadership meetings. They should be given specific training in conducting the meeting.
- Become familiar with resources. Resources can help leaders better understand their roles and the kinds of activities that need to be taking place in the department and/or class meetings.
- Publicize the value of the meeting. The value of the leadership meeting needs to be clearly communicated before securing commitments from leaders to attend them.
- Prepare the people. When beginning a leadership meeting or seeking renewed commitment to the meeting, allow sufficient time to prepare people for the change. Do not go home and announce that you will begin leadership meetings the next week. Lay a foundation by helping leaders understand the value of the meeting and by training those who will conduct the meetings.
- Enlist Sunday School leaders and FAITH leaders with a commitment to participate in Sunday School leadership meetings. During enlistment of Sunday School leaders and FAITH leaders the importance of attending the weekly Sunday School leadership meetings should be stressed. Communicating this expectation clearly at enlistment prevents misunderstanding later.