Recruiting Sunday School Teachers
By Reverend James Moss
The most frequently asked question I’ve heard in more than 17 years as a consultant to churches has been, “How can we find teachers for our Sunday school?”
The following are suggestions to assist in the recruitment of teachers:
Establish the significance of the Sunday school in the church. A stated recognition of the importance of the Sunday school raises the potential of success in recruitment.
Establish the important role of teachers in the Sunday school. The teacher is key to what occurs in the Sunday school. In addition, the teacher receives the added benefit of having the opportunity to impact individual lives. A church raises the value placed on teaching by the manner in which teachers are honored.
Any job worth doing requires a written job description. It should include qualifications, responsibilities, terms, necessary skills, and expectations and time required for the task.
Any job must have a term of service. Most people don’t want jobs that last forever. A teacher may renew for many terms, but they will always know that they are not more than that term away from getting out graciously, if needed.
Provide teacher training. Many persons with native skills feel incompetent to teach. Their formal training did not prepare them to teach Sunday school. A few hours of training can help secure a positive response from a prospective teacher.
On-site teacher training is a requirement for effective educational ministry. However, you should recruit teachers to attend training events and in that way use training to augment the teaching force.
Provide materials, tools and support for teachers. Curriculum and materials should be available in adequate quantities. A concerned listener provides comfort for the teacher. A Sunday school can make small requested changes immediately. This provides increased satisfaction for the teacher. Your listening to a teacher helps even when nothing can correct the problem. More significantly, frustrations expressed may not relate to the teaching assignment. People bring outside tensions to church because walking through a door doesn’t separate the troubles from the individual. The teacher’s situation requires ministry.
Anticipate future openings for either existing classes or new ones. Closely monitor changing attendance patterns that may dictate the formation of new classes or the change of teachers. Make the decisions for teacher need and replacement in advance to allow ample opportunity for the recruitment.
Don’t overburden volunteers. Willing workers experience burnout. Frequently the only escape is to resign from everything and say “no” permanently.
Prioritize a list of potential teachers. Assess the skills of the entire worshiping church when there is a teacher vacancy.
Carefully evaluate new arrivals as potential teachers. Make a list of three people with the potential to fill the projected assignment. Gather the job description, curriculum, and any other information that can assist in the making of a responsible decision. Go to the home of the first person on the list; talk about the importance of the Sunday school and the teacher. Present the challenge and materials. Ask the person to pray about it and get back in a couple of days. If the first person says “no,” repeat the process with the second, etc.
A person is being asked to give 100 – 250 hours of their time over the next year. That warrants a personal contact. Firm guidelines are necessary because securing a teacher is an indispensable step in creating new classes and groups. Happy hunting!