Tuesday, June 21, 2011

7 Steps to a Successful Sunday School Program

1. Pray
This is a big job, so meet with your Christian Education Director, Children’s Pastor, and Sunday School Superintendent. Begin with prayer, asking the Lord to direct you and give you wisdom as you plan for your Sunday school program. You may want to organize a prayer team who will continue to pray for your program before your fall registration, during your kick-off week, and on a regular basis (monthly or weekly) as needs arise.

2. Plan
Once you have a budget, order your Sunday school starter kits and print some sample lessons to determine which curriculum will work best for your church. Return the kits you won’t need or keep the extra kits to use as a filler when the sermon runs over—or any time you need an extra lesson. Your kids will enjoy the fun crafts and games anytime. Visit our Sunday school store to see a Sunday School Comparison Chart and print out a Scope and Sequence and sample lessons. Check out the affordable downloads and reproducible Sunday school programs available for all ages.

3. Recruit
Ask the Lord to direct you to the people whom He wants to teach your precious children. Ask Him to prepare the hearts of these people to be receptive to becoming Sunday school teachers or helpers. Then make a list of qualified people who might be interested, and make an appointment to visit them in their homes. Explain the Sunday school program and the responsibilities of a Sunday school teacher or helper. Ask him or her to pray about the decision, and if desired, leave a specific job description with him or her. To ensure your children the very best experiences in your Sunday school program, look for leaders and teachers with the following qualifications:
 Are dedicated Christians who seek to live for Christ daily, who study God’s Word, and who know the plan of salvation
 Are tuned in to kids, and able to build upon their natural interests
 Enjoy sharing in the children’s joy of discovery
 Are warm, outgoing, and have a genuine love and sensitivity for children
 Appreciate and seek to follow God’s command to teach children
 Have a basic understanding of children in terms of their physical, mental, and emotional development, and their spiritual needs
 Are reliable and disciplined to prepare for each meeting
 Are suitable role models for children

4. Prepare
Before you begin signing up children for your Sunday school program, print registration cards onto heavy stock. We've created some free Sunday School Registration Cards you can download. Design your own or use these and simply add your church logo. Give the cards to parents when they register their children. Have parents fill out a registration card for each child attending your program. The card should contain emergency information and a place to list allergies and other medical conditions of your students. For any child with allergies, create a special, brightly colored name badge with the allergies listed so all leaders and helpers are aware of the allergies and don’t inadvertently give the child something that might cause an allergic reaction.

5. Be Creative!
Creativity may not be your strong suit, but no doubt your church is full of creative talent just waiting to be put to good use.

Someone who can paint classrooms, another person who can concoct inexpensive yet healthy snack options, a seamstress who can design skit costumes or puppet show decorations, a musician who can accompany your songs or lead the children in singing along to the CDs, a crafty mom who can modify the suggested crafts into easy-to-prepare keepsakes made from household supplies—all of these people can play a role in kicking your Sunday school program up a notch. The key is to tap into their talents without giving them overwhelming responsibilities. Check out our Classroom Decorations Store for lots of fun bulletin board sets and attendance charts to make each classroom a welcoming and creative place for your students.

6. Pray (Continually!)
Schedule a regular time (weekly or monthly) to have volunteers gather at your church for praises, prayer requests, and a time of prayer for the children, parents, teachers, and helpers. You may want to provide coffee and juice. Use your Sunday school theme for a brief devotion, then make announcements, share prayer requests and praises, and conclude with a time of prayer (for each other, for the children, and for God’s wisdom and discernment). For a complete collection of teacher devotions and training tips, view samples from the book, Refresh! Teacher Training and Devotions by Joyce Tepfer. During your prayer time, encourage your volunteers to share stories of how God is working during Sunday school. Then take time to thank Him for the ways He is using each person to spread His Word and change lives.

7. Consider Having a Preschool Sunday School Program
Sunday school is a great way to introduce young families to your church. Consider including 2- to 5-year-olds in your Sunday school program so they have a Bible curriculum rather than just a babysitting hour. Younger children can have their own learning centers, games, and age-appropriate crafts. The preschoolers can join the other children for your opening song time and then go their own preschool rooms for the rest of the morning. If your Sunday school hour begins with everyone together for an opening song time, be prepared to have one or two helpers take younger children to your preschool classroom for free play if the large group setting becomes overwhelming. Read other blog articles for more ideas on including preschoolers. (See the post, "Using Learning Centers with Preschoolers".) Visit our Sunday school store to take a look at Bible Foundations Reproducible Curriculum and the Preschool All-in-One Kit—Sunday school curriculum written especially for your two- to five-year-olds.

And Finally…Evaluate!
Before the end of your Sunday school year (or quarterly), have thank-you notes and evaluation forms ready for your helpers. Gather feedback about what worked and what didn’t so you can make changes for next year. Make notes so if you are not involved, you can pass them on to your successor. Thank God for the ways He worked to change lives during Sunday school. Be sure to let your volunteers know how much they were appreciated. While they’re still excited about the great things that happened during the past year, ask if they would be willing to consider being a part of the team next year. (Just to get an idea, not for a firm commitment.) Then follow up around May or June to have them start praying about volunteering for your next year of Sunday school. For tips on recruiting Sunday school teachers, visit our Recruiting blog post.

No comments: