The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma has initiated online learning for Sunday School and small group leaders at its new training website, www.reconnectss.com. To our knowledge, this website is the first website to offer online certification for Sunday School leaders. This site already has over 70 video courses and new courses are being added every month. In addition, a new doctrinal overview of each week’s Explore the Bible series lessons are available beginning this week at www.reconnectss.com/explore.
So how can a pastor or leader of the church’s Sunday School or small group organization leverage online learning to better equip and train their leaders?
Here are five suggestions…
1. Get involved yourself
As a leader, pave the way for your people. Get registered on ReConnectSS.com yourself and obtain certification. You will also find badges specifically designed for pastors and Sunday School directors. Surf around and get acquainted with badges available in other age groups or leadership positions. Here are three things that you will receive by leading the way.
a. Credibility – You earn credibility with your people.
b. Knowledge – You gain additional knowledge about Sunday School and small groups.
c. Expertise – When one of your leaders has a question about the website or a badge on the site, you can help them because you have attained some expertise.
2. Encourage your people to obtain certification.
Put notes in their record folders, announcements in the worship bulletin, and encourage leaders to register at ReConnectSS.com when you have leadership meetings.
3. Point the way
Give specifics about which badges you would like for them to earn. You might ask your young adult leaders to obtain the “Unlabeled” badge. Point grade school leaders to the “X Factor Kid” badge. LifeWay research from the book Transformational Groups indicates that most Sunday School leaders (74%) want direction from their pastor and church leaders.
4. Give a Deadline
For example, ask your adult leaders to earn the “5C’s” badge by the end of the month. Setting a deadline encourages participation.
5. Show the Training
At a leadership meeting, show your leaders how easy it is to register by signing one of the leaders up at the meeting so everyone can see how easy it is. You can also show video courses at leadership meetings.
Use the “My Church” Feature
ReConnectSS.com has a unique feature called “My Church”. When someone registers on ReConnectSS.com, their profile includes the name of their church and location. All of the leaders that complete their profile are then listed in the “My Church” button located on the navigation menu in the left sidebar. No personal information can be seen except for the member’s name, courses completed, badges earned, certification status, and date they last logged on. This feature is a great help for everyone. Pastors and directors have the added benefit of being able to view badges their church members and leaders are earning.
You can use the “My Church” feature as a way to reward your leaders at a Sunday School Leadership Banquet for example. Simply recognize leaders at the banquet that have completed certification and badges. Remember, reward what you want done. If using online training is one of the important ways you have of training your leaders, then reward those that actually follow through and do it.
Another way that you can reward leaders is by putting their name and the badge(s) that they earn in the worship bulletin.
Be sure to encourage your adult group leaders to watch the weekly doctrinal overview for LifeWay’s Explore the Bible curriculum. Professors from the Herschel Hobbs School of Theology and Ministry at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee present this doctrinal overview. Each week’s overview is available on Monday morning. There is no certification or badging required to view these lessons, and they are provided free of charge thanks to the generous contributions of Oklahoma Baptists to the Cooperative Program.
ReConnectSS.com can be a valuable resource for your church, but a resource that you may need to lead your teachers to discover. Once they discover how convenient and enjoyable online training is, they will keep coming back. In addition, your church is going to have better trained and qualified Sunday School and Small Group leaders.