Posted: 10/1/19 at 3:00pm. Post by Tony Brooks.
Note to reader: This blog post is the fourth in a weekly series and contains excerpts from Ken Braddy’s book, Breathing Life into Sunday School.
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up (Ephesians 4:11-12 NIV.)
Is it necessary to have training every year? Ask that question to airline pilots, doctors, teachers, and other professionals, and they will probably look at you funny!
Training/continuing education is expected in most jobs. Sunday School teachers, small group leaders and others who share from God’s Word have a big responsibility to help others discover faith in God and put it into practice (life transformation). I suggest that what happens in their classroom/small group meeting may have a more lasting impact than any profession!
What are some things to consider about training? Here are some ideas:
Training leads to healthier growing Sunday School classes/small groups. On page 47 of Braddy’s book, we discover that the Georgia Baptist Convention did a study of 2,500 churches and asked, “How often do you train your group leaders?” They examined churches for four years. Churches who had monthly or quarterly training grew more than 13% during that time. Churches that had one annual training grew by 4.2%. Those churches with no training declined by 2.1%.
Train with quality and set expectations when recruiting new leaders. Make sure the training has a set time to start and end. Make sure it includes only things that are essential to teach in person and are worth people’s time. When you recruit new leaders, training expectations should be in their covenant/job description.
Training can be done on your church’s schedule and within its time constraints.
- Some churches use the same curriculum for all classes. If so, they could have a weekly training and model the lesson on a Wednesday night for all teachers.
- Some have a monthly training and can preview curriculum for that month or have training on creative teaching methods, caring for people in your group or something on outreach initiatives. (Often these are done by age groups.)
- Quarterly training can be done by a video series or a speaker around one element of Sunday School/small groups.
- Annually, have a big training event. This could be a retreat setting over a Friday evening and Saturday morning or a two to three-hour training event on a day of the week that is best for you.
Training can be done with little budget for smaller churches.
- If you go to www.lifeway.com/davidfrancis, you will discover several books that can be downloaded as well as training helps for them. This is free!
- I’ve often bought a great book on Sunday School or small groups to share with teachers. You can put the name of every teacher/leader on the inside cover starting with your name and circulate the book through the list of people—starting first with those who like to read.After you read the book, check your name off and pass it to the next person. They continue the process and let you know who has the book. Set a six-month time limit and ask people to take notes. Meet with them after the six months to discover what they have learned.
- Enlist a couple of churches to train together. This not only cuts down the cost but leads to fellowship and new insights about what other churches are doing.
- The BGAV and Associations offer training opportunities with little cost per church/person. Make sure you keep up with their calendars to discover a training event needed for your church, and take a group. Have a time for feedback soon after the event to make the most of it!
If we are to equip the saints towards building up the body of Christ, it is essential that we have ongoing training options.