The position of Sunday school superintendent is important because the person in this role sets the tone and direction for the church’s program. The Sunday school superintendent also provides the vision, the leadership and the organization so that the program functions in the most effective manner possible. There are many ways the Sunday school superintendent can implement innovative approaches and facilitate the program so that it grows and improves its services to the church and the community.
For a newly elected Sunday school superintendent, getting to know the various classes in the Sunday school program, from the preschool class to the senior adult class, is important. A good way to do this is to plan a rotation of attending each class for at least one Sunday. This will enable you to meet the students, get to know the teachers and become familiar with curriculum that is used in the Sunday school program.
One of the duties of the Sunday school superintendent at most churches is to record and increase attendance in the program. A great way to do this, especially for children, is to provide a goal with rewards. If your Sunday school meets in the sanctuary before dismissing to classes, consider creating some type of graphic to show the goal. Mark each Sunday how many people attended. Promise a reward, such as a pizza party, if attendance hits a certain goal. Record individual attendance as well, and reward those who attend every Sunday with monthly or quarterly recognition, given in the sanctuary before all Sunday school attendees.
One way to get people in your Sunday school excited about the program, which will build attendance, is to get them involved in a project they care about. Talk to Sunday school staff, the pastor and other leaders in your church. Is there a mission project on which your Sunday school could focus? Is there a community need your Sunday school could meet? The project should be one that the very youngest of your students can understand and the most mature will care about. One idea is to choose a child in need to sponsor. Younger classes can do a penny drive to buy items for the child. Your senior ladies class might enjoy making a quilt or winter clothing to give to the child.
Planning activities that are outside of regular Sunday morning classes will also help the program grow and get those who attend excited about being a part of it. Some activities may be for only certain classes, such as a skating party or pool party for pre-teen and teenage classes, or a trip to a nearby theater for adult and senior classes Other activities, such as a picnic or potluck, could include those of all ages who are in your program. Outside of social events, other activities might tie into the projects that your Sunday school program undertakes. For example, students might take on picking up litter at a local park as a project. Once the work is done, a cookout for all who worked could be an activity to build relationships within the program.
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Bethney Foster is social justice coordinator for Mercy Junction ministry, where she edits the monthly publication "Holy Heretic." She is also an adoption coordinator with a pet rescue agency. Foster spent nearly two decades as a newspaper reporter/editor. She graduated from Campbellsville University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English, journalism and political science.
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