For Sunday School teachers and leaders, the privilege of watching well-trained children, youth and adults grow toward Spiritual maturity gives them a sense of pride and joy. Paul expressed this same emotion as he reflected upon the lives of those to whom he ministered (1 Thes. 3:8). Joy is the result of a positive investment in the life of another to the point of seeing growth.
Ephesians 4 indicates that the role of some leaders and teachers in the church is to see that others are equipped to do the ministry of successfully teaching learners of all ages. Every member is a minister, but there are some who are called to the 'equipping' ministry, and no one in the church needs a more consistent training agenda set forth than those who are called to teach the Word of God. The Bible says that for those who are called to lead and teach, and take their calling seriously, they will have the real joy they desire in their ministry (John 15:10,11).
Ultimately, the most important thing that happens in any Sunday School is that which happens in the life of the learner. Therefore, everything should be designed to enhance the quality of learning in the classroom. The teacher's job is to guide and support the learners in effectively discovering Biblical truth that will result in Spiritual growth, and the leader's job is to structure a support of materials and ideas that will help the teachers do the very best job they can for the sake of growing the Church with strong and vibrant believers.
Experience throughout many churches and many denominations shows that staff who are trained and supported in their ministry enjoy their service. They want to continue in spite of their busyness in other areas of their lives. Those who stop are the ones who have become discouraged and defeated...and want to give up their important role of teaching the Word of God.
This year, evaluate the support levels available to your church. Are your leaders and teachers genuinely filled with joy in their service of ministry to others. A healthy church will do what it takes to create a support system of training so that their teachers cultivate the joy of learning in their students. For over 150 years the Pennsylvania Sunday School Association has focused on providing to local churches throughout the state the support of cutting-edge training, presented in a creative and enjoyable way to help teachers become all that God would have for them. Call us and set up a time to reach out to your teachers and leaders this year, for the sake of seeing the change in lives and joy that pleases the Savior.