This post is primarily for Sunday School Directors, Ministers of Education, or whoever is responsible for leading the church’s small group organization (Sunday School, LifeGroups, etc). One of the biggest and most important responsibilities this person has is enlisting leaders. Why? Because the strength and effectiveness of the organization is its leaders. The better the leaders and teachers in each small group, the more effective each group will be in Bible teaching, ministry, outreach, and fellowship. No matter the size of the church, Sunday School rises and falls on leadership.
Here are seven suggestions to help a Sunday School Director enlist leaders.
- Pray! Make Matthew 9:38 your go to biblical text when it comes to leadership enlistment. Ask the Lord of the harvest to raise up and direct you to people that He wants to be leading small groups and Sunday School classes.
- Know Before You Go. How many leaders do you need to enlist? In order to have a good grasp of this number, a Sunday School Director needs to touch base with every current leader to find out their plans for the upcoming year. Some teachers may want to take a break for a year. Know who these leaders are in advance so that you do not have a surprise the week before Launch Day!
- Plan for Growth. If you keep the same number of groups next year that you have this year, you will have about the same attendance as well. It is well known that starting a few new groups reaches more people and increases attendance. It also increases the number of leaders you need to enlist for these new groups.
- Start early. If you are enlisting high caliber people to lead (and I hope that you are), then you are going to get rejected by some potential leaders. Nobody likes rejection, and fear of rejection often causes procrastination in the enlistment process. Waiting until the last minute to enlist Sunday School teachers causes unforced errors and undue pressure on people who need some time to pray and think about the responsibility you are enlisting them to.
- Work as a Team. The Sunday School Director should be the model of teamwork for the church. If your church has a nominating committee, involve them in the process. Some churches use a departmental approach to enlistment. It is often helpful to engage the leaders of each age division (preschool, children, students, and adults) in the goal-setting and enlistment process. People are energized by that which they are involved.
- Ask Current Leaders for Recommendations. Adult groups are full of potential leaders. Ask the current adult leaders to share names of people in their groups who have the potential of being a Sunday School leader.
- Have a Job Description. People want to know what they are committing to do, and a job description or leader expectations provide a way for them to evaluate the ministry assignment to see if it is a fit for their skills and spiritual gifting.
John Maxwell says that everything rises and falls on leadership. Enlisting leaders is one of the most important ministries of the Sunday School Director. These seven suggestions will go a long way toward helping you enlist the leaders you need to make disciples in your church’s small group ministry.