A big struggle that Sunday School directors and Ministers of Education face is that of having prepared Sunday school teachers. It's a struggle because there can be the time when a need arises but you want the right fit for a class. Also it could be that we aren't sure how they will handle the time if preparation.
What we really need to produce is a leader incubator in our structure. There needs to be some place that we can connect to new leaders and send them out. Yet we don't send them out too quickly we send them out at the right time. It's exactly what happens in chicken houses. There are houses that are only incubators where they watch the eggs closely to know when they are ready to hatch and become chicks. There are also the houses that watch when it's time for them to grow even more. It's a process but also it has a concentration in each area.
Here are just a few quick ways to have a way to incubate and produce new leaders:
1. Use Apprentices. The difference between an apprentice and a substitute communicates a lot in their intention. A substitute just fills in as needed. An apprentice carries an expectation of eventually doing what they are learning to do. In a Sunday school structure we need more apprentices than substitutes. I encourage evey teacher to have an apprentice that they will train how to lead their own class one day. The apprentice should have another responsibility in a class. It may be they are in charge of assimilation. They could be in charge of determining new member spiritual gifts. Whatever it is give them something to do while not teaching.
2. Use non-Sunday morning teaching opportunities. Some of us may have a time when we have discipleship courses outside of Sunday mornings. They could be topical classes on Sunday afternoon or Wednesday night. This is a great time to have a prospective teacher get assimilated into the teaching structure. It introduces them to the weekly grind of preparation of lessons while also helping people to be introduced to their teaching style.
3. Personally invest. The greatest way to incubate new leaders is through your personal mentor relationships. This is not the easy way of producing leaders but the most effective. You are pouring Ito their lives personal expectations, philosophies, and helping them to discern through their call to teach and lead. It will be messy but the leaders you multiply out of these relationships will produce leaders as well. Just take the time to lead and The Lord will use you for His kingdom.
I would love to hear of other ideas to incubate new leaders.