Teacher Training is also essential. Each year we have an all day Saturday seminar for all our teachers. We cover the basics of good teaching, and also try to introduce new methods and ideas for creative instruction. Teachers can easily fall into ruts. Their classes become boring and dry. It’s my responsibility as Pastor to keep this from happening. Every couple of years I try to bring in a professional for this seminar. They always infuse a fresh excitement into the Sunday school program.
By Tim Massengale
Mark North took careful aim at the large red target attached to the bright blue dunk tank. Reminiscent of his long ago baseball days, he let the soft ball fly and it smacked the metal plate loudly, dropping the loud-mouthed clown in overalls into the water.
“Yes!” he cried and looked down at his daughter with a grin. She laughed as well. They picked up their prize and moved on to the next booth. Here a middle-age lady was bantering back and forth with several large puppets, keeping the group of children raptly entertained. His daughter sat down to watch and Mark wandered over to the church porch steps where Elder Vernon Baker sat in a lawn chair, Diet Coke firmly in hand, watching the goings-on.
“Quite a block-party you have going here, Elder,” Mark said, looking across the wide parking lot at the many booths and inflatable children’s rides. Hundreds of children and adults enjoyed themselves as a country band sang gospel songs on a flat-bed trailer.
“Yes, the Sunday school department worked hard this year. They hoped to break the attendance record we set last year. It looks like they have done it, too. So far over 400 have attended, not including church members. That’s going to give us a lot of contacts and a real boost to our bus ministry. I think my home Bible study director told me that, so far, 37 people checked the ‘interested in a home Bible study’ box on the registration card. It will take us a while, but we will make a follow-up visit to the address on each card and hopefully get even more.”
“Wow! That’s great!” Pastor North said. “As you know we had our block party in the spring and had about half that number show up. But for our size church, it was all we could handle. We started about eighteen Bible studies and added several dozen kids to our Bus Ministry. Two families are now coming to church regularly and we have already baptized a husband and wife from one of the Bible studies. I think these types of events are great for a church.”
Elder Baker nodded and smiled. Across the parking lot a horn sounded to start the next three-legged race. Both pastors sat watching the fun and games unfold.
Mark broke the silence. “Do you mind if I ask a question, Elder?”
“Not at all.”
“You have a really great Sunday school team at your church. To be honest, I pretty much planned our block-party myself, with only a little help from my Sunday school leader. It was a lot of work. I long for the day that I will have a Sunday school ministry team like yours. What did you do to get your Sunday school department where it is today?”
Sunday School Excellence
Elder Baker thought for a moment before answering. “Mark, as you know, Sunday school is one of the four key evangelism ministries that I recommend every church focus upon. It has been proven to be one of our most successful methods of growth. It provides dozens of opportunities each year for special Sunday events – just like this one – that attracts large numbers of visitors – and as you know, visitors are the key to growth. 100% of your new converts will come from your visitors. Sunday school also provides our best opportunities for church member involvement: teachers, class assistants, secretaries, keyboard players, puppet crews, Super Church team, bus captains and drivers, and so on. So I put a strong emphasis on developing a successful Sunday school. It has taken years, but it’s been worth it. It is by far one of our most successful outreach programs.