Shepherding Ministry Venue: Sunday School Teachers

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How can a Sunday School teacher do it all? 

Simply put, the teacher CAN'T do it all. To adequately prepare a lesson, get to know the students, and spend a lot of one-on-one time meeting needs is too much for today's busy teachers.

As with any kind of shepherding ministry, Sunday School teachers need to enlist the help of others. Some possible ways of networking to share the load could include the following.

  1. Develop a resource list of referrals within the church and also outside of the church to help with specific needs.
  2. Recruit helpers to do some of the work such as preparing visuals, setting up the classroom, keeping records, etc. to free you up to do some relationship building and shepherding.
  3. Equip members of the class to use their spiritual gifts to help serve and meet the needs of one another.
  4. Encourage members of the class to live out the one another commands of Scripture among each other.
  5. Pair up the more mature students with the less mature students to help with discipling and mentoring.
  6. Connect those going through loss or difficult struggles with others in the class or church who have had similar experiences.
  7. Build margins into your schedule so your time is not so consumed that you cannot possibly be available to your students in times of emergency or great need.
  8. Pray, pray, and pray some more. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight" (Prov. 3:5-6).
     
     

Sunday School teachers must personally rely on the Chief Shepherd and point their students to Him. 

The greatest resource the teacher has is God Himself. Who is better to mentor the teacher on how to shepherd students than the Chief Shepherd? Let His example guide you. He had compassion on people He encountered who were "like sheep without a shepherd" (Matt. 9:36). He laid "down His life for the sheep" (Jn. 10:11). He entered into relationship with them as reflected in His own words, "I know my sheep and my sheep know me" (Jn. 10:14).

Consequently, teachers must nurture their own walk with the Lord. Live like you believe Jesus' words in John 15:5 which says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." Also remember the Apostle Paul's words in Philippians 4:13 which says "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

The greatest resource the teacher has to offer others is God Himself. Who is better to feed, lead, and guide the sheep than the One who can be with them 24/7? You, the teacher, are only with the students 45 minutes to an hour each week but with rotating schedules for teaching may not be there every week. Even if you go the extra mile and invest into their lives outside of the classroom, your time with each student still is minimal.

Consequently, teachers must make sure they use what time they have with their students to point them to the Shepherd of whom David wrote when he said, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me" (Ps. 23:4).
 
Teach the Bible stories and doctrinal concepts but always take students beyond to the God who cared, orchestrated, empowered, and brought the victory. If the curriculum you are using doesn't go that far, you need to take it to the next level. Remember, the Bible is not a book about Moses, Noah, Abraham, Elijah, or the Apostle Paul. The Bible is about God. Keep connecting students with God Himself so they get to the point where they are able to say in their hearts and not just in their heads, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want" (Ps. 23:1).

In addition to this content, the Shepherding Ministry Manual asks you some questions to reflect on improvements you can make to church's Sunday School ministry.


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