Examining Sunday School from the outside, it may appear the only person in Sunday School with a significant responsibility is the teacher or group leader. In reality, successful groups have many members engaged in some type of responsibility.
Think about various people engaged in the life of the group. Someone is responsible for keeping attendance and other records. Food and coffee are prepared each week. Phone calls are made to those absent. Meals are prepared for those in need. Mission projects are chosen and promoted. In reality, effective Sunday School groups have many people involved in various roles and tasks.
It should be the objective for every person in a group to have some type of responsibility. Not just a handful of people, but every member with a defined role. Here are three significant reasons to do so:
1. Responsibility encourages people to be faithful.
It is just a reality — when a person has a responsibility, that person is more likely to be faithful in attendance. Those with no responsibilities are less likely to be as faithful as those who take their responsibilities seriously.
Life happens. Some Sundays we wake up not feeling so well. A beautiful Sunday morning may entice us to head early to the lake or for a drive. Sleeping in sounds appealing after a busy week. Don’t tell me you haven’t entertained those thoughts!
What likely was a determining factor in you choosing to go to church? Responsibilities. You knew you had a responsibility and others were depending upon you to fill them.
2. Responsibility encourages people to use their gifts and talents.
Every person has spiritual gifts, talents, and abilities. And yet many people never use them in church life. Perhaps they have never been asked to accept a responsibility. Perhaps they are shy to speak up and volunteer. Perhaps they would never use them in the context of larger church life.
Sunday School is a great place for people to engage — to use their gifts, talents, and abilities. And by the way, people are much more likely to be fulfilled and happy when they are involved, rather than simply a spectator.
3. Responsibility encourages people to engage with others.
Few roles in Sunday School operate in isolation. The person in charge of food enlists others to help. Those making phone calls are talking with other group members. Greeters visit with every person coming through the door.
Sunday School is not intended for people to attend, sit in a row, listen to a lesson, and leave. Sunday School should encourage members to engage in the lives of other members, developing friendships, meeting needs, celebrating together, and more.
Ideas for Engaging Group Members. Can Think of More?
Teacher. Apprentice. Associate teacher. Food preparation. Coffee maker. Room set-up. Records keeper. Care group leader. Mission project team leader. Group greeter. Curriculum manager. Prayer leader. Social media champion. Vacation Bible School liaison. Party planner. Phone and text team.
Bruce Raley has served as Director of Church Education Ministry with Lifeway Christian Resources since May 2006. A native of Arkansas, he enjoys hunting, fishing, and traveling with Donna.