Needed: Gatekeepers for Adult Sunday School Classes
Charles H Zimmerman
Why does every adult class need a gatekeeper?
First, because a teacher always has far more responsibilities than one person can handle.
Second, the reason most persons attend Sunday school has something to do with loneliness and self-esteem needs. The Sunday school class is where persons can know names and get involved with each other.
The gatekeeper can assume responsibility for seeing that the class members become “caring persons” for one another. To accomplish this, the gatekeeper can share and encourage others to share concerns about the health and welfare of class members each week and initiate the prayer time for the class.
Third, the gatekeeper can be the class greeter who makes sure that new members are introduced and welcomed to the class.
Fourth, the gatekeeper can learn why people are absent and actualize a plan of caring wherever this is needed. Some classes may prefer to use a term other than gatekeeper for this role. Care chair is one such possibility. Properly understood, how ever, gatekeeper is an appropriate term.
The gatekeeper opens the gate for new persons to enter the social structure of the class. Through concrete expressions of love and concern, the gatekeeper keeps the gate closed so that present members will not be inclined to drift out.
The gatekeeper also encourages, through words and examples, the other class members to accomplish those two crucial responsibilities. The gatekeeper role, if utilized in the formation of new classes, significantly reduces their failure rate.
Rather than a group coming together to be served by a teacher, fellowship and teamwork are built into the class structure. When added to an established class, the gatekeeper role can increase attendance, fellowship, caring, and the self-esteem of individual class members.
It is not enough to say that our church offers adult classes. What is the fellowship climate of these classes? A designated class gatekeeper is one of the best ways to ensure that the front gate is open and the back gate is closed.