How to Have a More Engaged Sunday School Class

Every Sunday school teacher wants an engaged class – students who are active in the learning process. But what can the teacher do to encourage active learners? There is a catchy phrase common in educational circles today that says that a teacher should be “a guide on the side; not a sage on the stage.” Translated, that phrase means that teachers not only give good information, but they encourage their students to contribute information to the learning process as well. Group interaction in a class does carry some risks, and not every-one is comfortable with the process. So in the teaching tips for this quarter we will discuss some “do's and don'ts” for effective class discussions. My prayer is that if you have wanted more discussion, but did not know how to get it, these tips will result in opening the door to an active, engaged class.
"Tips for Teachers", by Gordon Snider.
Source: The Church: God's People. Adult Teacher's Insights, page 3.

2017-05-31T09:18:00+00:00May 31st, 2017|Categories: Teacher Helps|Tags: |0 Comments

The Barrier of No Friends

A young couple came for counseling to the parsonage. The young man was struggling with a bad habit, but wanted to be free and to serve Christ. The problem was that all his friends engaged in this sinful activity and made fun of him when he said no. The young man accepted Christ during the visit, but his lack of Christian friends remains a challenge to his spiritual growth and vitality.

People like to be with people they know. People like to be with people who look like them, think like them, and have similar interests. Breaking into a group of which you know no one is quite intimidating, even for the most outgoing. Therefore, you should be aware that the unchurched people who attend your Sunday school class may not have any friends within your class, or even your church. You probably recognize this already, but what will you do about helping the unchurched who visit your class develop friendships in your class?

2016-09-06T09:00:00+00:00September 6th, 2016|Categories: Teacher Helps|Tags: |0 Comments

Unnecessary Barriers

"Our Church subculture has erected dozens of barriers that separate many people from the possibility of becoming disciples. Virtually all of those barriers are essentially cultural barriers, and have little or nothing to do with ‘faith once delivered to the saints.'" 1

There is a difference between maintaining holiness standards as a church and erecting unnecessary barriers in front of the unchurched. Simply, we can insist on the former while removing the latter.
If our holiness is an excuse for making the unbeliever uncomfortable, causing him or her to feel unwelcome, or viewing them as less loved or valuable to God... there is a problem with our holiness. Such "holiness" is old-time Phariseeism.
In this series of Tips for Teachers, we will consider a number of unnecessary barriers that may hinder your Sunday school's growth. Right now, stop and spend five minutes visualizing your typical Sunday school hour. What are some unnecessary barriers for unchurched people?

  1. George Hunter III, Church for the Unchurched, pp. 62-64 
2016-08-30T09:00:00+00:00August 30th, 2016|Categories: Teacher Helps|Tags: |0 Comments

Plan at least four social activities for your class outside of the Sunday school hour.

Why should you plan at least four social activities - outside of the church - per year? This is important, first, because our goal in Sunday school is not simply to present a lesson, but to develop disciples. Discipleship happens in the course of relationships. While relationships can be developed in an hour-long session, activities outside of the class may create stronger bonds of friendship. A second reason for social activities outside of the church is to provide entry-points for unchurched people. While the unchurched person may be reluctant to attend a Sunday service, they may be much more receptive to join you for a barbecue, board games, etc.
This best practice suggested at least four social activities per year. By planning one special activity per quarter, this could be easily accomplished. Special consideration, however, should be taken as to the purpose and promotion of such events.

  • Will your activity be simply for fellowship of believers, or for outreach to unchurched friends?
  • If the former, how can you design the event to encourage deeper fellowship among your class?
  • If the latter, when would be the most appropriate time, in order to give them an easier transition into your class (e.g., a week or two before the next quarter begins, in order to encourage them to start the next study with you)?
  • How should you balance a social activity with promotion of your class?
2016-08-02T09:00:00+00:00August 2nd, 2016|Categories: Teacher Helps|Tags: |0 Comments

Arrive to church 15 minutes early

Beginning with this lesson, we will now discuss several "Sunday" best practices for the Sunday school teacher. The topic for today's lesson a good habit to develop, simply for the benefit of being punctual. However, there are several other practical reasons for developing this habit.
Why should you arrive early for Sunday school?

  • Arriving early will give you extra time to do any set-up of the class - arranging tables and chairs or setting up the whiteboard or projector, etc.
  • Arriving early may allow you to review needed materials for class, and make quick last-minute calls to someone who can bring them, if you realize materials you thought were in the room are missing.
  • Arriving early as a practice sets a good example before your students how they should approach Sunday school and church attendance.
  • Arriving early can allow you to spend some time in quiet thought about the lesson and prayer for you and your students.
  • Arriving early gives you the opportunity to be available to students who may have spiritual questions, but are intimidated by the prospect of voicing them before the whole class.

We should recognize that good intentions do not develop good habits. What changes in your Sunday morning routine do you need to make in order to develop this habit?

2016-07-01T14:00:00+00:00July 1st, 2016|Categories: Teacher Helps|Tags: |0 Comments

Communicate with the Sunday school superintendent cc absence

Communicate with the Sunday school superintendent if you must be absent
Today's tip may seem so obvious that it is a waste of the ink needed to print it. Common experience, however, has proven that while it is only the polite, proper, responsible thing to alert the Sunday school superintendent when one has to be absent, many Sunday school teachers do not do so.
There will always be extraordinary circumstances (such as having a flat tire on the way to church and then finding that one's cell phone is dead) that may prevent the teacher from giving the superintendent ample warning that he cannot make it to class this Sunday. Many times, however, teachers know at least the night before - if not the whole week - that they will not be at church the coming Sunday. In such circumstances, the only responsible thing to do is to contact the superintendent as soon as one knows.

  • If you know you will be gone an upcoming Sunday (for vacation, etc.), please inform your Sunday school superintendent as soon as you know, even if it is a week or two in advance.
  • If you are sick or not well, or for some other reason are uncertain if you will miss, let your superintendent know a day or two in advance, if possible.
2016-06-15T09:00:00+00:00June 15th, 2016|Categories: Teacher Helps|Tags: |0 Comments

The Accessible Sunday School

Wes Haystead writes, "A Sunday school that is not seeing unchurched people won to Christ is a stagnant program." Haystead also notes that many Sunday schools have become ingrown, even though they may have never said that their purpose was only to serve the Christian.
As you consider your typical class format, are there any methods that would be confusing to the new person? For example, when your class prays together, do you prompt your students to stand, kneel, etc., or is the prayer position assumed? Would a new person be embarrassed because she didn't know the procedures your class follow by habit? When referring to lesson books, do you prompt your students where to turn? Would a new person be frustrated because he didn't know how to follow along?
As you teach this week, be attentive to ways your class may have become less accessible to the unchurched.
Haystead, Wes (2005). The 21st Century Sunday School: Strategies for Today and Tomorrow. Cincinnati, OH: The Standard Publishing Company. p.15

2016-02-10T09:00:00+00:00February 10th, 2016|Categories: Teacher Helps|Tags: , |0 Comments

Your Church's School

Arthur Flake asserts "The Sunday School is the 'school' of the church." (Toler, 1995, p. 2).
When you think of "school", what comes to your mind? Heavy textbooks, boring lectures, and an overwhelming sleepiness or new adventures, challenging discussions, and practical application?
Most probably agree that school is important, even though some may argue that the traditional classroom is not always the most effective method of training. We recognize our level of achievement will be greatly stunted if we do not receive some type of education.
Sunday school does not necessarily have the same respect. This is unfortunate as Sunday school plays an integral role in our discipleship. Such disdain may have been earned from years of enduring boring, trivial or unprepared classes. Your calling, Teacher, is to help make Sunday school an essential ministry of your local church.
When your students think "Sunday school", what comes to their mind?
Toler, Stan (1995). 101 ways to grow a healthy sunday school. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press.

2016-02-06T09:00:00+00:00February 6th, 2016|Categories: Teacher Helps|Tags: , |0 Comments


Go to Top