This booklet by Wayne Poling was published by the Sunday School Board in 1990 and is now out of print. I find it immensely useful as a checklist for promoting training events; it is the single most helpful information source on training I have found. I can find no copyright information on the booklet, so I reproduce it here for your information.
One of the key factors in building a strong, purposeful, talented Sunday School leadership team is quality training. It is through training that Sunday School leaders understand their specific responsibilities, find greater fulfillment in service, and gain motivation to service. It is also through training that worker turnover is greatly reduced.
No better investment can be made by a church or no higher priority given than to equip its Sunday School leadership team.
Your church may plan and prepare the very best training that is available; but unless workers participate, the training is of no benefit.
The purpose of this leaflet is to assist you in looking at ways to successfully enlist your workers to participate in training.
To discover some successful ideas, most of the churches that were in the top 25 one year in Church Study Course Sunday School leadership awards were contacted. There was interest in determining whether these churches had used any special tools in their church to promote training or to encourage leaders to work on their Sunday School Leadership Diploma.
It was discovered that, for the most part, they had not used any special approaches; instead, they had followed basic, fundamental concepts.
Following are some of those basic principles, plus practical tools to use in enlisting workers to participate in training.
1.Recognize the importance of a strong Sunday School leader training program.
The beginning ground for developing a healthy training program is for key leaders (the pastor, Sunday School director, minister of education, director of teaching improvement and training, etc.) to become convinced of the value of a strong Sunday School training program.
When these same leaders become well-versed in what training can mean to the Sunday School and share that information with the church through as many avenues as possible, then the importance of training begins to be recognized by other leaders and the church in general.
2. Make a commitment as a church to Sunday School leadership training.
Commitment is an essential factor for a church to have a successful training program. In almost every instance, a church's high level of participation in training has been accompanied by a definite commitment to train leadership. This commitment is not just a priority set by church leaders; it is a commitment that is continually verbalized by the pastor, staff, and other key leaders.
This commitment begins with the pastor's recognizing the importance of training and verbalizing its priority and purpose to the people.
Sheridan Hills Baptist Church, Hollywood, Florida, led the nation last year in Sunday School leadership awards earned. Hal Mayer, minister of education, believes that his pastor's belief in and leadership of training is the most important factor in the success of training in their church. Mayer states:
"When I came here two years ago, our pastor said that the greatest need of our church was to understand what Sunday School is about and that we needed training. . . ."
"The pastor not only promoted training events, but he attended and participated. I think there is a difference between being present at a training event and participating in it. He sat in on classes, asked questions, and was actively involved."
". . . The pastor promoted training events from the pulpit."
This commitment to training is communicated to the people as a high priority.
3. Secure a commitment from workers to train.
Sunday School workers understand expectations for their positions when they are clearly explained. This communication is best verbalized at the time of commitment. Sunday School workers want to know the expectations for their positions of service.
In enlisting your Sunday School workers, take the time to sit down with them and explain the expectations for their position--especially expectations regarding training. Explain the type of personal preparation and individual study expected of each Sunday School worker, and identify the churchwide training in which the worker is asked to participate.
When asking a worker to commit to training, explain why he or she is being requested to make this commitment; discuss the value of training; and specify what the worker can expect to receive from the training. Of course, in seeking a commitment from Sunday School workers to train, the church carries the responsibility of making training available.
4. Demonstrate the importance of training and keep training before your people.
Look for opportunities to make the importance of training visible to your people. Present Sunday School Leadership Diplomas publicly at worship services or other gatherings of Sunday School leadership. After a training event, ask participants to share testimonies of what the event meant to them.
Find ongoing opportunities to mention training in the church newsletter and bulletin. In these publications, use pictures of training events and of participants. Frequently report on the progress made by individuals toward earning their diploma (for example, "These individuals have fulfilled three requirements toward their Sunday School Leadership Diploma," and so forth).
5. Set training goals that reflect the church's commitment to training.
Goals reflect the priorities of the church and the Sunday School, provide direction for encouraging workers, and give leaders an opportunity to keep training before the people. As individuals make progress toward these goals, report that progress.
Areas in which goals should be set include the following: (1) the number of Sunday School Leadership Diplomas earned or the percentage of workers earning diplomas; and (2) the number of Church Study Course credits earned in a Sunday School area or the number of credits earned by each worker (for example, each Sunday School worker earning two credits during the year).
6. Express individual appreciation and praise to those workers who participate in training.
One of the best ways to encourage individuals to continue to participate in training is to express appreciation when they do attend an event. Your expression says to them that you recognize their effort and are thankful for their presence. Your act of appreciation also "says" that their attendance at training not only was important for them and their service, but also to the church and Sunday School.
This gratitude can be expressed in many ways. A good way is to simply write a short note saying, "Jane, I saw you at the training last Tuesday night. Thanks for being there. It shows that you really care about your place of service in our Sunday School." Handwritten notes are even better than typed ones.
Brief phone calls go a long way toward encouraging Sunday School workers to participate in future training events.
7. Develop a calendar of training opportunities well in advance.
Let your Sunday School workers know what training opportunities are upcoming during the next church year. By so doing, Sunday School workers can plan ahead. Also, sharing training opportunities well in advance will add to workers' anticipation of the events.
A well-planned calendar of training opportunities says to Sunday School workers that the training events are significant and important because the church has chosen to plan in advance for them.
8. Cultivate a reputation for quality training.
If you want to have good participation in your training events, develop a reputation for quality. Tell participants in advance what they will receive from the training and then deliver what you have promised. Prepare well.
It is much better to have a few well-prepared times of training than several mediocre events. Future training is much easier to promote when past experiences have been positive.
9. For each training opportunity plan for promotion and enlistment.
Participation in Sunday School leader training is much easier to achieve when there is an ongoing supportive atmosphere for training, as has been detailed. However, to achieve the highest level of participation for an individual event, it is important to plan steps for promotion and for enlistment of individual workers.
A number of sample aids and actions are included in this material. Adapt these suggestions for most effective use in your church.
Sample Promotion Plan for a
Sunday School Training Event
|Action||In Advance of the Event|
|1. Place the event on the church calendar||6-18 months|
|2. Supply Sunday School workers with a list of Sunday School training opportunities in which they are encouraged to participate.||6-12 months|
|3. Share brief information about the event in the church newsletter and ask workers to begin anticipating it.||2 months|
|4. Begin displaying publicity posters in various strategic, highly-visible locations around the church.||1 month|
|5. Place the name and time of the event in various church publications (bulletin or newsletter).||1 month|
|6. Ask the church media library director to prepare a library display of the books (materials) to be studied during the training.||1 month|
|7. Print article about the event in the church newsletter||1 month|
|8. Send an enlistment letter and a preregistration card to every Sunday School worker.||1 month|
|9. Prepare a bulletin board display with a sign-up sheet for the event.||1 month|
|10. Print articles about the event in the church newsletter. In the article, list the names of individuals who have indicated their intent to participate. Include any transportation plans, if the event will be held away from the church.||2 weeks|
|11. Ask someone to share a testimony during the morning worship service on the importance of training and reasons to participate in the upcoming event.||2 Sundays|
|12. Announce plans for the event during the morning worship service. Include any transportation plans/provisions.||2 Sundays|
|13. Include any transportation plans (if appropriate).||1 week|
|14. Call workers who have not preregistered and encourage them to attend.||1 week|
|15. Have a bulletin insert or flier in the church bulletin during the morning worship service, as a final reminder. Announce the event.||1 week|
Sample Items for Use in Promoting Training
The following items are given as illustrations and sample of publicity items you might use to promote a training event, either in your church or in another location. The samples are generic in nature. If you use them, you will need to supply additional information that relates to the specific event you are promoting.
A sign-up chart may be developed for use with a bulltetin board display. You will want to place the display in one of the heavily-travelled hallways of the church. Add names of individuals as they repregister for the training.
(name of event)
Join These and Others
|I'll Be There!|
|(date) (time) (location)|
You are very valuable to our church. You are part of a great team of workers -- our Sunday School leadership. Our Sunday School is the key ingredient in our church for reaching people for Christ and helping them grow in the Word of God.
Because of that, we want to help you in every way possible, as a member of our Sunday School team, to grow in effectiveness in your work for the Lord through our Sunday School.
As your pastor, I would like to encourage you to be a part of (event), on (days of the week), (date). During this study, you should learn (nature of the training). The study will be on (name of book or materials).
Enclosed is a preregistration card. Please fill it out and return it to the church office. I hope you will plan to participate in this training. You will gain new insight and skill into your work in the Sunday School.
We have a great challenge before us to reach, teach, and minister to a lost world. Thank you for your commitment to equipping yourself to be the very best Sunday School worker possible.
Following are ideas for three articles that can be developed for the church newsletter These are very general ideas; you will want to take them and develop details and specific information for your newsletter.
Idea #1--In this article, begin by speaking to the needs of the pupil, unsaved person, worker; and so forth, that will be dealt with by the study. Announce the training, date, time, and location. Share for whom the training is designed. Speak to why the teacher/worker should be present.
Idea #2--List specifics that will be dealt with in the training. Give the date, time, and location of the training. List the names of the studies and persons who will be leading them. Tell where outside leaders are from and what they do in their church.
Idea #3--List four or more reasons Sunday School leaders should attend the training. Tell why the training will meet these needs. Give the date, time, and location of the training.
Your church has no more valuable asset than its 1eaders--and offers no more valuable assistance to those leaders tan a well-planned, well-prepared, well-promoted training program. A leader has no more satisfying, joyful experience than to equip Sunday School workers and watch them grow.
As you plan and promote Sunday School training events, you contribute both to the growth of your workers and to the growth of your Sunday School. As each increases in effectiveness, more people are reached for Bible study and ultimately for Christ.
A well-trained Sunday School worker serves with greater purpose, joy, and skill. Give training your very best planning, preparation, and promotion. It will make a great difference. An exciting journey is ahead. Give it your best!
Prepared by Wayne Poling, Growth Consultant
Sharon Roberts, Editor
Arthur D. Burcham, Manager,
General Officers Program Section
James V. Lackey, Director, Sunday School Growth
and Administration Department
Sunday School Division--
Harry M. Piland, Director
Billie Pate, Associate Director
Office of Church Programs and Services--
Gary W. Cook, Vice-President
The Sunday School Board
of the Southern Baptist Convention
--Lloyd Elder; President