Posted: 7/31/18 at 10:25am. Post by Tony Brooks.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. (Matthew 9:37 NIV)
In this ever-changing, fast-paced world, nominating committees, Sunday School directors, and ministers are struggling to find workers for the coming year. Sunday School and small groups are significant in the growth of disciples and outreach/evangelism. So what do you do? Here are some thoughts:
- First and foremost, pray. Pray for current workers as they discern. Let current workers know you are praying for them throughout the year and also as they discern whether God wants them to continue. Pray and seek God’s guidance throughout the year about potential workers.Pray and seek God’s guidance throughout the year about potential workers.
Too often, nominating committees wait until the new year is a few months away to start praying and seeking discernment. Pray and watch members throughout the year. Do they have the potential to lead a class or small group? Pray about whom you are going to ask. Don’t wait, get anxious, and choose a warm body! Think about VBS teachers, schoolteachers, coaches, business consultants, children’s and youth workers, as well as persons who serve in the community teaching classes.
Many years ago, I served on staff at a church and was responsible for recruiting Sunday School teachers. The middle school boys’ teacher had informed me that he would not return a few weeks before we were to vote on new workers. These boys were gifted, challenging, and energetic. I immediately thought about three men in their late twenties/thirties that were already involved in youth ministry and very energetic. Thankfully I prayed first, and God impressed on me to ask a retired schoolteacher and former bi-vocational pastor. He was a senior adult! I questioned God about this one but agreed to ask. Keep reading to learn the rest of this story…
- Make an appointment with potential workers. We interview and give job descriptions to potential employees. Why don’t we do the same with volunteers who are teaching God’s Word and helping to form disciples? I made an appointment with Joe, the potential middle-school boys teacher. I shared my vision about molding these youth. I shared the job description. I gave him curriculum. I assured him that I would be praying as he prayed over the next week. (Make sure you give an adequate deadline to get an answer.)
- Give them a job description. (If you need job descriptions for a specific age group, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.) They need to understand how important their work is.
- Consider a teaching rotation system. This can be done in two ways:
Have persons in the class take a month at a time or one week each month. Many people in this culture will not commit to teach every Sunday for a year due to family obligations.
Give adequate resources for adult teachers to become experts on a biblical topic or a book of the Bible. Give them three months before the new year starts to prepare. They will teach a quarter in one adult class (let’s say young adults), and then the next quarter they rotate and teach another class the material. This is effective, because someone may teach a whole year, but need to know only one subject to teach each quarter. It is less time consuming.
In this day and age, we need to pray about alternative ways to recruit new teachers. Once you have the teachers, celebrate! Have a commissioning service in worship. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”(Matthew 9:38 NIV
Joe, the retired school teacher and bi-vocational pastor, accepted the challenge. He became a spiritual grandfather for these boys. They are now mature disciples, making an impact on society in many ways. Out of this group, two accepted a call to vocational ministry: one is a senior pastor at a church, and another is a worship leader at a church. Both became Christians during that time. God is faithful! Let’s be faithful in taking seriously the call to recruit new workers.