“Sunday School is the foundational strategy in a local church for leading people to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and for building on-mission Christians through open Bible study groups that engage people in evangelism, discipleship, fellowship, ministry, and worship.”
Formerly known as the Sunday School Council, the Sunday School Planning Team is uniquely designed to carry out the foundational strategy of the local church. Made up of leaders from different age groups in the church, the Planning Team is vitally important to the planning and implementing of the work in the Sunday School. Its primary purpose is to plan, coordinate, and evaluate the overall work of the Sunday School’s strategy, projects, and emphases. When each person effectively carries out his or her responsibility, the Bible study strategy will help the church accomplish its purpose.
Traditionally, the Sunday School director is the primary leader of this group. Additionally, any leader who provides administrative leadership for a particular age group in the Sunday School should be involved. Examples would be a department or division director of a specific age group, or leader of a group or class. These leaders should be enlisted by the Sunday School director. Staff members, especially the pastor and minister of education, are members of this team. The pastor’s participation in the Sunday School Planning Team communicates its importance and priority. A recording secretary should be enlisted to take minutes of the meeting. The Sunday School secretary may fill this position, if desired.
A church that is organized by Sunday School departments will want to use department directors as the team. Larger churches may choose to use division directors to head up the team. Smaller churches could enlist one person, such as a teacher, from each age group to serve. The team should be large enough to share a variety of ideas, but small enough so that decisions can be made easily.
The three key elements of the work of the Sunday School Planning Team, to plan, coordinate, and evaluate, are all important to the development and maintenance of a balanced Sunday School program.
The planning portion of the team meetings includes both annual and monthly planning. Whereas annual planning would include all the months of the year, monthly planning is necessary to keep the plans on track, to adjust and refine them, and to keep communication open. It would include such actions as:
The planning portion can be best carried out with help from the planning section of the latest annual resource for general administration, available from Lifeway Christian Resources.
The coordinating responsibilities of the Sunday School Planning Team include actions to:
The evaluating responsibilities of the Sunday School Planning Team include such actions as to:
Since the Sunday School can be viewed as teams of people on mission with God, then the Sunday School Planning Team meetings may be referred to as “Team Meetings.” Led by the Sunday School director, these team meetings should be organized so that the meeting will run smoothly and efficiently. Copies of the agenda should be mailed to the team before the scheduled meeting. In addition, minutes of the meeting should be mailed to any absentee following the meeting. Help in planning the agenda may be found in the Sunday School Leader magazine, produced by LifeWay Christian Resources. Following is a suggested outline for the meeting:
A commitment to planning must be shared by every member of the Sunday School Planning Team for it to be successful. All members, including the church staff, must see this planning as absolutely necessary. Every team member has a personal responsibility for the success of the Sunday School Planning Team. The work of every department, every class, and every special project in Sunday School depends upon the kind of planning done by the Sunday School Planning Team. Each member, therefore, should attend every meeting, expect great results from the meetings, help to build the proper spirit into every session, and gladly accept assignments in line with his or her particular work.
Above all, the Sunday School Planning Team should be seen as the structured group assigned to plan, coordinate, and evaluate the work of the Sunday School so that the church may fulfill its mission in the new century.
For further information contact your State Sunday School Department for help with resources or implementation of any of these ideas.