Where there is no vision, the people perish
You are the primary vision-caster for your class. You need to be able to see what no
one else can see -- to see the possibilities beyond the present realities, to see what
your pupils can become through the grace of God rather than what they currently are. In
short, you must see through God's eyes, using the spiritual vision that only His Spirit
can impart. You must see what God wants your class to become in His perfect will. Pray
alone and with key class leaders; dream about what your class could accomplish given
infinite resources (which, after all, God is able to provide); plan about how your class
can do its part in carrying out the Great Commission and accomplishing the purpose of your
Beyond seeing the vision, you need to be able to communicate it.
Articulate it clearly and enthusiastically; keep it in front of your pupils, and help them
in turn to grow excited about it and put it into practice in their daily lives. Involve
them in moving from the vision to practical changes in attitudes and life style.
Your vision should provide the focus of all that you do as a Sunday School class; it
should help provide drive, energy, motivation, direction, and purpose in your
organization, your planning, your teaching, and your ministry.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we
ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. (1 John 3:16)
Perhaps the best way to express your responsibility is simply to say that the
responsibility of the Sunday School teacher with respect to his or her class is the same
as that of the pastor with respect to the total congregation. As a teacher, you are
responsible for the spiritual well-being and growth of your pupils and prospects.
As an example, if you are teaching sixth-graders, you are responsible for teaching,
ministry to, and fellowship with all the sixth-graders enrolled in your class. Of course,
you share this responsibility with other church organizations, for some of your pupils
will also be involved in choirs, missions organizations, discipleship training, etc. You
especially share this responsibility with the parents of your pupils. But, because the
Sunday School is the organization to which more people belong than any other, and because
there are unfortunately some parents who either are unable or unwilling to take on the
spiritual leadership, you need to step up to the responsibility. In some cases, no one
In addition to your class members, you are responsible for reaching and witnessing to
all the sixth-graders in the community who are not involved in some other Sunday School!
This is the outreach responsibility, as you seek to identify and enroll prospects for your
class, and also the ministry responsibility as you seek to meet their needs in Jesus'
A big job? Absolutely! But remember that you have help in the other teachers in your
department, the general officers of the Sunday School, the church staff, and the resources
provided by your church and denomination. Most of all, remember that you ultimately have
the resources that God can provide -- wisdom, love, strength, guidance, inspiration,
enthusiasm, and on and on. Magnify the opportunity of the task, and realize that you are a
fellow laborer with God as you work to meet the needs of each class member and prospect.
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Because of this responsibility, you need to know as much as possible about the pupils
enrolled in your class. Your teaching task alone requires that you understand where they
are, in spiritual development, attitudes, and Bible knowledge, so you can begin at that
point and help them move to the next higher plane. Your teaching task is to bring the
truth of the Bible to bear on the life needs of your pupils, in all its relevancy and
power, so that the Holy Spirit can use the word of God to bring about challenge, growth,
and change. Keep a notebook about each of your pupils. Record their likes, dislikes, and
aspirations. Get involved personally in their lives, even if it's just a lunch date once a
quarter or a quick Coke shared at McDonald's. Remember that you can learn much about a
teenager by visiting his or her room. Pray for each pupil by name each week; get to the
point where you know what their own prayer concerns are and what they can celebrate.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
I hear; I forget. I see; I remember. I do; I understand.
It's important that you do not try to take on the whole load yourself. You need to
involve your pupils in practical application of the Bible to minister to one another, as
you involve them in structured and non-structured opportunities to minister, witness, and
fellowship. This will give them direct experience in practicing ministry, expose them to
the joy of Christian service, and equip them to take on the responsibility of a mature
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. (Proverbs
For many valid reasons, you need a group of trusted friends who will advise and share
in the leadership of an organization as important as a Sunday School class. The
composition of this group will vary with your circumstances; ideally it will include your
Sunday School Director, any class officers, and key class members. For workers with
children and youth, it should include fellow workers with the same age group. In any case,
it should consist of people of kindred spirit to your own, who see the importance of the
Sunday School, are willing to give you frank and helpful advice, and are capable of
sharing in the responsibility of leading the class. If nothing else, enlist a trusted
Some of the benefits of a solid support group include: