We struggle to find volunteers to teach Sunday school. Excuses are fired in rapid succession: “My children play soccer,” “I grocery shop on Sunday mornings,” “Sometimes we go away on weekends,” “Sunday’s are my day to sleep in,” “I don’t know enough about the Bible.” Yes, we are busy, but our excuses reflect the low priority of teaching Sunday school. After all, often we say, “We just need a volunteer.”
We need to reframe our teaching ministry. We need to move our volunteers to disciples, where volunteers see themselves as disciples of Jesus. When we make this shift, our goals change, we add clarity to our motivation, and we more accurately define our purpose. We revitalize our teaching ministry with movement and make a transformative impact on those we teach.
While it took Jesus three years to form and transform his disciples, I imagine it might take us a bit longer. However, if a member of the congregation began to look at him or herself as a disciple rather than as just a member – and was intentionally educated to this perception – more people would recognize that there is a responsibility to being a part of the body of Christ. There would be greater accountability to serve and the ministry of the church would be more life changing. People would seek transformation. Instead of automatically refusing to help, people would be faced with asking the uncomfortable question, “Where am I called to serve?” And then they would serve; recognizing the great privilege and responsibility it is to be a disciple of Christ.
Attached are handouts from the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators annual event workshop From Volunteer to Disciple: Reframing Ministry. Also included are weekly devotions I send to my Teaching Disciples (teachers during the Sunday morning education hour).
Dan Wiard, D. Ed. Min.
Director of Christian Education & Discipleship
Salisbury Presbyterian Church, Midlothian, VA