FIRST-PERSON: The launch list
PENSACOLA, Fla. (BP) -- They're on the front line of ministry in your church. They dedicate countless hours every week to Bible lesson preparation, outreach contacts, and ministering to class members. From preschoolers to senior adults, your church's Sunday School or small group leaders impact lives.
Need some fresh ideas for demonstrating appreciation for their faithful ministry?
Print an annual bulletin insert listing all Sunday School/small group teachers of the church, with teachers' names listed under their "sending" Bible class. The sending class is the one they'd attend if they weren't serving as a teacher. Beside each name, indicate the age group they lead, such as preschool, adult, etc. Challenge the church to pray faithfully for these leaders.
There's no greater compliment to an adult Bible teacher than launching leaders to serve, so this list will encourage adult teachers. Adult classes can be the greatest supporters and encouragers for their members-in-service.
Challenge adult classes to honor and support them frequently, using some of these ideas:
-- Create a "wall of honor" display in your classroom, featuring their photos and class names. Leave room for additional teachers that God may call out, and update the display frequently. Email a photo of the wall to those featured there.
-- Pray for them in class often. Snap a photo of the class in prayer and text it to them.
-- Take a brief "field trip" during the last minutes of your class one week to stroll past classrooms where your class members serve in Sunday School. Snap an action photo and send it to them.
-- Send email encouragement notes, or mail notes signed by class members.
-- Help with a specific need for the class they teach, i.e. equipment, transportation, snacks for a fellowship, Bibles for class newcomers, a desired toy for a preschool classroom.
-- If your class has a Facebook group page or newsletter, feature their photo and an update on their class occasionally.
-- Provide a substitute teacher when they go on vacation.
-- Invite them to report annually to their home class about how God is working. The testimony could be given as a brief presentation during a class fellowship.
-- Be intentional about personally inviting them to class fellowship events, and welcome them warmly. As you get to know them, it's easy to pray.
-- Keep their names on your class phone lists, newsletters and email lists. Put a star by their names to remind members to pray for them as they serve.
-- A simple "thank you" or "I pray for you" can be a great encouragement.
-- The annual updated "launch list" not only encourages adult classes to send out leaders, but it helps them celebrate and encourage all those who serve outside the class.