Should teachers use Sunday School curriculum? Why do some teachers use curriculum while others have opted not to use any curriculum?

What are the benefits of not using any curriculum?
It gives the teacher the freedom to teach whatever the Holy Spirit leads him to teach.
It allows the teacher to develop the lesson around the needs of the learners.
It allows the teacher to use the teaching methods that he is most comfortable using.
It allows the teacher to have the flexibility to change the direction of the lesson as needed.
The cost is significantly cheaper because one does not have to purchase any curriculum.
The teacher can interpret the Scriptures as he is led by the Holy Spirit and believes is correct.
The teacher can teach whatever doctrines he believes is correct.
The teacher can cover the Bible at his own pace and cover the Scripture in greater detail.

What are the advantages of using Sunday School curriculum?
The teacher has a plan for covering all major portions and doctrines of the Bible in a given period of time.
The suggested teaching plans are often written with a certain age group in mind which helps the teacher make the lesson more relevant to the needs of that specific age group in his or her class.
The teacher has a world of resources available to help teach the lesson (commentary, a variety of teaching methods and procedures, additional advanced commentary, articles on how to teach better, articles on how Biblical history and archeology relates to the lesson, a leader resource pack with pictures, maps, visuals, and handouts that supplement the lesson, suggested discussion questions, etc.)
The learners have a learners piece that provides them with commentary on the Scriptures and how it can be applied to their lives. They can use the learner piece to study the lesson prior to Sunday and also use it for review after the lesson. Some learner pieces have discussion questions and a place to write thoughts and comments.
The teacher is often using the same materials as other teachers in the church and can benefit from talking with other teachers about the lesson and sharing ideas on how to best teach the lesson and how learners can apply the Biblical principles to life.
When training is provided by the church it is easier to train leaders on how to use the Sunday School curriculum effectively if everyone is using the same materials.
If everyone is using the same materials it makes it easier for learners to discuss and talk about the lesson with others in the church.
The church leadership knows what is being taught and that it lines up with with church beliefs and doctrines.

If a carpenter where given the choice of using a power saw or an old-fashioned hand saw, which to you believe he would select? Of course he would select the power saw because it makes his job a lot easier and much more efficient. Using Sunday School curriculum can make the job of teaching easier and more effective. What do you think? Share your comments in the space below.

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How to Handle Prayer Requests

by Ron Moore on March 15, 2013

God commands us in His Word to pray for one another. James 5:16 says, “Pray for one another.” Ephesians 6:18 says, “Make supplication for all the saints.” 1 Timothy 2:1 encourages believers to make prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for all people. There are numerous other Scriptures encouraging people to pray. It is important to allow time for Sunday School class members to share prayer requests and needs each Sunday morning. Class members need to know how to pray for one another. By sharing prayer concerns, class members know that others care about what is going on in their lives, family, and friends. But often, prayer concerns can take up a large portion of the Sunday School time. The Bible study time is very important and we need to make sure we have plenty of time to get into the lesson and study God’s Word.

Here is an idea of getting more people involved in sharing and praying and not taking a huge amount of time. Instead of asking for prayer requests in your class divide your class into smaller groups of 2-4 people. Ask the groups to share prayer concerns and needs and pray for one another. Bob Mayfield with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma suggests that teachers form groups of four and ask people to write prayer requests on a small index card and pass it to the person on his or her right. The small group then has a prayer time and each person prays for the concerns and needs on the card he or she has received. Encourage people to place the cards in their Bibles as a reminder to pray for those specific needs. This method helps get everyone involved in sharing prayer requests and everyone praying for one another. This should not take any longer than 5-10 minutes. Another option is to collect the cards and then have the prayer coordinator compile a list of prayer concerns and needs and email them to the class members.

In the space below please share some comments on how you have handled prayer requests in your class.

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Prayer Is Important

by Ron Moore on March 8, 2013

Jesus Christ prayed to His Heavenly Father and using the model of the Lord’s prayer He taught His disciples how to pray. Throughout the Bible there are numerous examples of people praying to God, asking for His blessing and Devine wisdom, direction, and intervention. Prayer is vital to the success of your Sunday School class.

As Sunday School leaders we need to spend time in prayer each week. Pray for every member and prospect in your class by name every week. Contact every member and prospect and ask them how you can pray for them. Pray for specific needs and concerns in their lives. Ask God to bring new people to your class that need to be involved in church. Pray for direction as you reach out and minister to prospects and members. Ask God to give you wisdom as you prepare to teach each week. Ask Him to show you how the lesson can be applied to the lives of those in your class. Pray that you can wisely use the Sunday School time to teach the lesson and minister to the needs of those in the class. Pray that God will richly bless your efforts and use the lesson to help those in your class to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. Pray for more leaders to step up to the plate and take the responsibility of being a Teacher Apprentice, a Reaching Leader, or a Ministry Leader.

In the space below, please share your comments on how prayer has impacted your life and the lives of those in your Sunday School class.

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Keeping Evangelism on the Front Burner

by Ron Moore on March 2, 2013

When was the last time you shared your testimony or shared the Good News message of Jesus Christ with someone? Our church just finished the “Every Believer A Witness” program with Dennis Nunn. It is an excellent program that helps every believer understand how he or she can easily and effectively share his or her story of what God has done in his or her life. It is important that we keep evangelism on the front burner of Sunday School. Too often, teachers focus on having a great Bible study lesson (which is good) and on fellowship and ministry but fail to focus on reaching new people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the final command of Jesus – “Go and make disciples.” What have you done this week to accomplish the final command that Jesus gave to His disciples and to us today?

To help keep evangelism on the front burner consider putting a poster on the wall where class members can write the first name or initials of someone they know needs to know the Lord and needs to be in church. Each week call attention to the list and have a time of prayer, praying for opportunities to share Jesus with those on the list. Another way is to take a few moments at the beginning of class to ask class members to share how they shared their stories, gave out a tract, or prayed for a server in a restaurant during the week. Not everyone has to share, but by asking people to share each week it sets an expectation that everyone should be sharing the Good News of Jesus in some way each week.

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Making Disciples

by Ron Moore on January 16, 2013

Jesus’ final command to His disciples was to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). How is your Sunday School class doing in the task of “making disciples”? There are six basic habits of an effective disciple: 1. Reading God’s Word and praying everyday; 2. Regularly Worshiping God; 3. Being involved in a small group Bible study; 4. Serving other people; 5. Sharing the Good News message of Jesus Christ with others; and 6: Regularly giving to God’s work.

As a Sunday School leader you must set the example for those in your class. Here are some practical ideas to help your class members become more effective disciples: 1. Encourage class members to use a read through the Bible plan and then discuss insights people have gained from the Scriptures each week; 2. Use some praise and worship songs to support your Sunday School lesson when appropriate; 3. Contact class members who do not attend regularly and encourage them to attend or to participate in a class project; 4. Plan a service or mission project for your class to participate in; 5. Ask class members to share testimonies of times they have witnessed to someone or have invited someone to church; and 6. Talk about the importance of being good stewards of what God has provided and giving to support God’s work.

Certainly, there are other ways to make disciples, such as being a mentor for someone by meeting with him regularly to help him learn the basics of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Share a comment on what you have done to help “make disciples”.

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Five Ways to Follow Up with Guests

by Ron Moore on January 9, 2013

We get excited when we have a new person (guest) come to our Sunday School class or small group, but what are we doing to follow up with those guests to make them feel welcome and part of the group. Everyone wants to belong and feel as though he or she is a part of the group. Assuming the class has gotten appropriate information from the guests and made the guests feel welcome during the class time, here are five practical ways to follow up later with guests who have come to your Sunday School class or small group. Use one or all of the contact methods to make a positive impression on your guests.

1. Call the guests. It is best to call within 48 hours of when the person visits your class. This indicates your interest and that you were glad he came. The call should focus on letting the person know that you were glad he came and to see if he has any questions about your Sunday School class, small group, or the church. If you don’t know the answers to his questions, find out and get back with him. You might want to get to know the guest a little better by gathering additional historical information, such as where did you grow up, where did you go to school, where do you work, where have you been attending church, etc. Make your call short so you do not infringe on the person’s time.
2. Email the guests. Email is more common than regular mail in today’s culture. It is an easy way to communicate with guests. Express your happiness that he or she attended and that you hope they will return. Direct them to the church website for additional information on the church. Offer to provide answers to any questions he or she may have.
3. Send a note to the guests. Even though email is a common form of communication, a guest will be impressed that you took the time to actually write a note and mail it. In the note express your thankfulness that he attended and offer to provide any information to questions he may have.
4. Invite the guests. Invite the guests to a social, fellowship, party, or special event at the church. You can also invite them to your home for a meal or to go out to a restaurant. Invite the guest to be your friend on Facebook or to “like” your church’s Facebook page.
5. Assign the guests. Ask someone in the class who may live in the same area as the guest, work in the same type of job, has similar interests, or is of similar age and stage in life as the guest to make contact and develop a relationship.

Share your comments on these ideas and other methods you have used to follow-up with guests who come to your Sunday School class or small group.

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Tis the Season for Outreach

by Ron Moore on December 5, 2012

Christmas can be an excellent time for reaching out to those who have not been consistent in attendance to your Sunday School class or to those who need to be involved in a small group Bible study. Christmas is a time when people are confronted with the saving message of Jesus Christ through decorations, music, and greetings. People are reminded of the reason for the season – Jesus Christ. We celebrate His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection.

Here are 10 practical ways to use this time of year to reach out to people:
1. Have a Christmas party and invite everyone enrolled in your class and all prospects.
2. Take a small gift to everyone enrolled in your class and all prospects.
3. Have a class mission project to provide Christmas for a needy family.
4. Have an Operation Christmas Child box packing fellowship.
5. Send an invitation to those enrolled and prospects to attend the Christmas musical.
6. Have a caroling party and go to the homes of absentees and prospects to sing and take goodies.
7. Send Christmas cards to everyone enrolled and prospects.
8. Have a Christmas luncheon and ask all class members to bring a prospect.
9. Make Christmas wreaths and take them to class members and prospects.
10. As a class volunteer to ring the bells for the Salvation Army for a day or help serve meals.

The list of possible activities could go on and on. In the space below please share some ways you have used the Christmas season to reach out to people.

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Effective Ministry Through Care Groups

by Ron Moore on November 14, 2012

One of the purposes of Sunday School is to minister to those who are in the class. The larger a class grows the more difficult it is for a teacher to effectively minister to all class members. Every class member will experience a crisis at some point in his life; a death of a loved one, loss of job, a wayward teenager, sickness, surgery, etc. A Sunday School class should step up to the plate and provide some help and support during difficult times by providing prayer, visits, food, and general support. Additionally, a class should check on class members when they are absent.

Assuming a class has 25 people enrolled that means a teacher has 24 people to care for and contact when they are absent. That can be overwhelming. The best leadership method is to follow the advice that Jethro gave to Moses. All of the people were bringing their disputes to Moses for him to judge. It was becoming overwhelming. Moses’ father-in-law came to him and told him that what he was doing was not good and that he needed to delegate responsibility to other leaders so he could focus on the big decisions that needed to be made.

Sunday School teachers should enlist other leaders to help them with the basic responsibilities of the class. Every Sunday School teacher should enlist a Ministry Leader or Care Group Leader. This person is responsible for enlisting other leaders to be Care Group Leaders. Each Care Group Leader is responsible for caring for 5-7 members of the class. A class with 25 enrolled would have 4-5 Care Group Leaders. Care Group Leaders should contact absentees and minister to people in his care group who are experiencing a crisis. Every member of the class should be contacted every week asking them how we can pray for them.

Delegate responsibility to some reliable leaders who can help your Sunday School class more effectively minister to members. Leave a comment below about your ideas and thoughts about delegating responsibility and using Care Group Leaders to minister to class members.

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Developing Leaders

by Ron Moore on November 9, 2012

Wikipedia defines “leadership” as “organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal”. The leader may or may not have any formal authority. Developing leaders is essential to any organization. Bloomberg Businessweek reports: “The best companies for developing leaders recognize the value of strong leadership in both the good times and the bad,” says John Larrere, who heads Hay Group’s leadership and talent practice in the U.S. “Culturally they just cannot do away with leadership development, even in a recession. They don’t see it as a perk but as a necessity.”

There is a great need for leaders within the church. Obviously, there is a need for a pastor and other staff. Beyond the paid staff there is a great need for leaders in just about every ministry area of the church: Sunday School leaders, child care leaders, choir leaders, men’s ministry leaders, women’s ministry leaders, student ministry leaders, children ministry leaders, recreation ministry leaders, deacons, committee members, and the list goes on and on. Statistics indicate that there is a direct correlation between the number of leaders in the church and growth. Neither an organization or a church can effectively grow without developing more leaders.

The church must constantly be about the process of discovering, training, and releasing leaders to lead. Leaders usually know leaders and therefore they can be an excellent resource for discovering leaders. Ask those who are currently serving in positions of leadership to recommend people they may know who would be good leaders. God knows who would be a good leader. Spend some time in prayer seeking God’s leadership and direction in recruiting leaders.

The next step is training. The normal process is to provide leadership training conferences. Leaders can be trained at the church or take advantage of training opportunities offered through other organizations such as the state convention, association, or Lifeway Christian Resources. Additionally, there are training modules available on DVD and even on the web that one can take advantage of for training. The best method of training is “on-the-job” training. Bring potential leaders along side other leaders as an apprentice so they can learn how to lead. Allow those apprentices to take on the role as leader periodically until they feel comfortable leading the group.

The last step is to “release” the leader to lead. When someone has been adequately trained and mentored then put them to work as a leader of his or her own group. Repeat the process by allowing them to train and mentor an apprentice. Therefore, continuing the process of developing leaders.

What are your thoughts on developing leaders? What have you done to develop, train, or mentor someone to become a leader? Share your thoughts and comments below.

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Using Modern Technology to Improve Sunday School

by Ron Moore on November 3, 2012

I can remember when I got my first cell phone. It was as large as a book and had an antenna coming out of the top. It could only be used in major cities along the interstate, but I thought this new device was the best thing since sliced bread.

Today, nearly everyone has a cell phone that will fit in his/her pocket and it not only makes phone calls, one can get email messages, text messages, and even get on the web to get information and directions. There is even an application on my phone that I use on the golf course to determine the yardage to the hole. It is amazing what cell phones can now do.

Technology will only continue to advance and cell phones will be able to do even more in the future. Here are the “Top Ten” ideas on how to use this new technology to improve Sunday School:
1. Ask everyone in the class to get their cell phones out on a Sunday morning and send a text or email to someone they know who needs to be involved in Sunday School inviting them to come to Sunday School.
2. Give everyone in the class the name and phone number of someone who is on the Sunday School class roll but has not been attending lately. Ask class members to make a call to that person sometime during the week inviting them to Sunday School.
3. Get the cell phone number and email of everyone in your class. Develop a prayer list on Sunday and send it to class members via text or email. Send emergency prayer requests as needed.
4. Send information and invitations about class fellowships and activities to people via a text or email message.
5. Ask someone in the class with a smart phone to look up some information that is pertinent to the Sunday School lesson and share it with the class.
6. Send a text message or email each week to class members telling them what scripture passage will be used on Sunday for the lesson and how they can prepare for Bible study.
7. Communicate with other class leaders such as Reaching Assistant, Teaching Assistant, Ministry Assistant, and Care Group Leaders via text or email providing them with information they need to accomplish their assigned tasks.
8. Develop a Facebook page for your class as a way of sharing information and photos with the class.
9. Recognize birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions or recognitions via email, text, and/or Facebook.
10. Partner with and support an International Missionary or North American Missionary. Provide regular communications and prayer requests from the missionaries to class members via text or email to help them know how they can best support and pray for the missionary. This is a great way to elevate mission awareness in the class.

Surely, there are many other ways of using modern technology to improve Sunday School and ministry to others. Please share your ideas, suggestions, and comments in the space below.

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