Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Hardest Job in the Sunday School Ministry

Do you teach Sunday school? I do. Part of the time anyway. I actually hold the position of Assistant Sunday School Teacher. I also serve on our church’s Christian Education and Nominating Committee, but that isn’t important right now. The job of Assistant Sunday School Teacher is one of the most difficult jobs I’ve ever been asked to do and I say this from the perspective of someone who has held several positions in the church, including Sunday School Teacher.

In some ways, the job of Assistant Sunday School Teacher seems less demanding than that of Sunday School Teacher. The Sunday School Teacher has more responsibilities and the Assistant Sunday School Teacher isn’t called upon to teach unless the Sunday School Teacher is out for some reason. It sounds easy until you realize that for the Assistant Sunday School Teacher to do his job properly he must be prepared to teach the class if the Sunday School Teacher calls him thirty minutes before class and says, “I’m sick, can you teach the class this morning?” And it may not be the same class. There was one Sunday that I showed up at church and five minutes before class time someone asked me if I could teach another class for which the teacher had not shown up.

I’ve studied the Bible enough throughout my life that I could teach a lesson with not preparation if the situation called for it, but that is not the best situation to be in. For an Assistant Sunday School Teacher to do his job properly, he should be putting in time each week preparing a lesson. When that last minute request to teach come, it is much easier if you have your three or four pages of notes typed up and ready to go. What makes it difficult is most of the time those notes will go unused. You’ll be sitting there with the other students listening to the lesson, but all the while you’ll be thinking about those notes in your breast pocket and how you would’ve liked to have taught the class.

Of course, you can’t say that you would’ve done it differently. That isn’t your place. Your place is to support the Sunday School Teacher and to be ready. You’re sure to have your own ideas of how things ought to be done. Maybe they would be better, maybe not. If you have suggestions, discuss it with the Sunday School Teacher in private, don’t cause dissention among the class. And if the Sunday School Teacher does something other than what you think he should and it proves to be a mistake, it is his mistake to make. Your job is to be there to support him.

It isn’t easy playing second fiddle, but a good Assistant Sunday School Teacher is there to support the Sunday School Teacher. That may be one of the hardest thing you can do.

What do you do to prepare to teach a class?