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What is a Team Leader? (Part 2)

Fall Gear Up

This is the fourth in a series of posts to help you prepare your staff, volunteers, classroom, and parents for fall Sunday School.

Jan Golias has served as Team Leader in a Sunday School classroom for over 15 years. We asked her a few questions about the role of Team Leader and her experience in the classroom.


Q: What challenges do you face while serving as team leader?

Team Leader

A: It is really important for the church to partner with parents, working together to see faith grow in their children. One of the biggest challenges I face is helping the small group leaders connect with parents to build that partnership.

Some strategies I use to overcome this is to introduce parents to small group leaders when the children are being picked up. I also invite parents to help in the classroom as a substitute small group leader or with a craft. I encourage small group leaders to take the initiative to call or write parents, and the children in their group, during the year.

Q: Can you give one or two examples of how you encourage your team?

Each week I send an email to my team to relay practical details for Sunday and to encourage their hearts as they study the lesson. I usually share a few verses, song lyrics or an excerpt from a devotional or sermon that relates to the word we are studying that week.

I also host a few events during the year to help us get to know each other. Sometimes we will meet at someone’s home for potluck or the ladies on my team meet at a coffee shop for fellowship.

Q: You’ve been involved in ministry to children for a long time. Are there any specific moments or experiences that stand out that you would like share in order to encourage others?

There are many special moments, but a few that stand out are these:

  • One year we had a special needs boy in our class who needed surgery on his legs. It was a joy to have him, along with his parents and our children’s pastor, join our team for a special time of prayer before his surgery.
  • I assign each of my small groups a child from one of our missionary families who is also in first grade. Throughout the year the small group prays for and writes to this individual. It is always a delight when they write back or visit our class when they are on furlough. This summer we had two children come home after Sunday school was finished, so we had a special open house for them to meet the children who are praying for them—it was a big blessing to the missionary families.
  • One year, when I was out of town for a week, my team asked the kids and some of the parents to write me notes of appreciation for serving as team leader—that was such a surprise and encouragement to me.
  • Each week, it is a joy to hear children saying verses and praising God. I love praying for them and I am blessed to see God working in their lives.

Read What is a Team Leader? (Part 1) where Jan describes her role as Team Leader and shares some of her favorite aspects of serving in this role.

Fall Gear Up: Let’s Pray!

Fall Gear Up

This is the third in a series of posts to help you prepare your staff, volunteers, classroom, and parents for fall Sunday School.


At our 2013 Conference we were amazed at the number of comments we received regarding one seminar in particular: Bud Burk’s teaching on Utter Dependency on God, Through Prayer. Listen to what people had to say:

God stirred my own heart in so many ways. One great challenge was PRAYER—Bud Burk’s workshop on Utter Dependency on God.

All the seminars I attended were so so good! Especially the seminar about the importance of prayer by Bud…

The most Spirit driven, led and empowered seminar that I attended was on “prayer” by Bud Burk. He was filled with passion, zeal, and love for intimacy and communion through prayer with Jesus.
I LOVE THE book that he wrote

That last comment was shared by Carrie Christopher, who serves as Kids Director at Terra Nova Church in Troy, New York. We asked her to share how Bud’s seminar and his booklet have impacted her life and ministry.


This resource has truly encouraged, engaged and sparked my own heart to humbly seek Jesus’ communion through unceasing prayer. This is not just a resource for those toiling in Children’s Ministry, but for anyone seeking Jesus’ heart. This resource focuses on the dependence on the word of God, and our efforts to abide in His loving presence through prayer. I must admit this is perhaps one of the greatest truth-breathed, Christ-exalting books I have ever read! In Bud’s valiant efforts, he emphasizes prayer as a means to commune, worship, and testify to the everlasting love of Christ.

In our children’s ministry efforts, I think we can all agree, that we can easily fall into the temptation of reliance on one’s self, and our sinful yearning to abide in a measurement of ministry success by the work of our flesh. Bud encourages us as Christ-exalters that by no means should any of us continue in our fleshly efforts. For as Bud points out, John 15:5 states, “For apart from me you can do nothing.” Bud brings in Christ-exalting evidence from the word of God, that we are to first seek His presence in prayer and then we shall see the work of Christ’s hand upon us.

I completely agree with Bud’s call to be a praying people to further engage the next generation’s hearts, minds and souls to love our Christ almighty. How can we expect Christ to work through the hands of the entrusted ministries that He has generously given to us, if we aren’t a people of prayer? My heart is leaping for joy at the word of God filled in this resource. This isn’t a resource that is based on the will of the flesh, but instead on the will of the Father, emphasizing Christ’s desire to be intimately one with His people.

Prayer Booklet

This book gives 11 opportunities for prayer in the classroom. I was inspired by all of the Spirit-led ideas to incorporate prayer in our Sunday School classes. In fact, I am praying that through these practical ideas that Bud provides, that the Lord would raise up a generation of prayer warriors within our church.

Bud encourages us to create an “On Watch” prayer group. By God’s grace our team of children’s ministry leaders/volunteers gathered to pray for our children. It was an amazing act of His grace, that by power of the Holy Spirit, He actually showed us how to pray for the children. Giving us specific words, and burdens for them! Our leaders were praying unexpected prayers, and in the process we heard the intercessory heart of Christ for this next generation, which brought each of us closer to Him.

This resource absolutely will not collect dust on my bookshelf, but will be one that I refer to frequently. I am fervently looking forward to rereading this book to be swept away in the wind of the Holy Spirt’s desire for us to abide. Praise be to Jesus, He has already filled my heart with wisdom on who to purchase copies for and on how to integrate the content of the booklet into our teacher training.

Carrie Christopher
Terra Kids Director
Terra Nova Church


You can listen to Bud’s seminar (MP3), read the notes (PDF), or purchase the booklet in print or electronic format.

Fall Gear Up: What is a Team Leader? (Part 1)

Fall Gear Up

This is the second in a series of posts to help you prepare your staff, volunteers, classroom, and parents for fall Sunday School.

Jan Golias has served as Team Leader in a Sunday School classroom for over 15 years. We asked her a few questions about the role of Team Leader and her experience in the classroom.

Q: Jan, how would you describe your role as a Team Leader?

A: As a team leader in a first grade Sunday school class, I focus on showing Christ’s love to my team. (My team consists of two teachers (co-teaching the lessons), one worship leader, seven small group leaders, and two helpers, all of whom work together to serve a class of 30-35 first graders.)

I also encourage the team to show Christ to the children in our class as they lead worship, teach the lesson or lead a small group discussion. We use The ABCs of God curriculum which teaches the children to ask “Who is God?”, “What is God like?” and “How should I act towards God?” as they learn an attribute of God for each letter of the alphabet (i.e., A is for Almighty, B is for Bountiful, C is for Creator, etc.).

During the week, I communicate the plan for Sunday to my team, organize and prepare the classroom so it is ready when they arrive on Sunday morning, decorate the room with signs and pictures to remind the children of the attributes they are learning, arrange substitute teachers/small group leaders when needed and most importantly, pray for both my team and the children in my class throughout the week.

On Sunday mornings, I fill a number of roles:

  • I lead the team prayer time
  • I greet children as they arrive
  • I connect with parents
  • I lead announcements and prayer time before the lesson
  • I support my team by answering questions or getting supplies
  • I help with discipline during the lesson (as needed)
  • I encourage Scripture memory by planning group memory and review activities, as well as presenting awards when children have reached memory milestones
  • I spend time visiting small groups so I can get to know the children more

I also look for opportunities to help my team get to know one other, pray for each other and encourage one other both on Sundays and outside the classroom.

Classroom Prayer

Jan leads the students in a group worship & prayer time.

Q: What do you consider the best part of being a Team Leader?

There are so many things I love about being a team leader. Here are a few highlights:

  • I love working together with my team and helping them to serve effectively in their respective roles on Sunday morning. I also enjoy finding ways to serve them outside of the classroom.
  • It is a joy to hear the teacher teach and watch the kids as they listen, understand and respond to the truths being taught. Big truths like “God is incomprehensible, he is more than we can fully understand”.
  • It is wonderful to worship God alongside first graders who sing “big church” songs with their whole hearts. One year I had a boy who most would call rambunctious (to put it mildly), but when we started singing he would close his eyes and truly worship.
  • I am so encouraged when I listen to children recite memory verses. There was a boy in my class with some disabilities. He would not always get the words perfect but he loved to memorize Scripture and he was always a willing volunteer to recite verses in class.
  • I enjoy helping first graders memorize the books of the Bible. What a joy it is to have a child or even a group of 15 children come up to the front of the class to be prayed for and receive a prize after saying either the Old or New Testament books.
  • I love seeing former students around church, saying hi and giving them a hug—in a large church this is always special. This year I was able to attend a graduation open house for a young man who was in my small group many years ago—what a privilege to see what God has done in his life!
  • The best part of team leading is faithfully serving where you believe God wants you to and knowing that he is working in and through you to share the good news of Jesus with these young hearts!

Watch for Part 2 of this series when Jan will share ideas for encouraging your team, dealing with challenges in the classroom, and special moments she has experienced.

Tell Us Your Story

When we first began this blog, we envisioned it as an interactive tool in which to encourage one another in our respective churches and homes.  To that end, we earnestly desire for you to send us your stories so that others may benefit and learn from your experiences, resulting in thanksgiving and praise to our great Savior, who is at work in the midst of His people. (more…)

The Bridge Ministry: Reaching Children in the City

Ever wonder how other people and churches are implementing the Children Desiring God curriculum? The Bridge, a ministry of Southwest Church in Topeka, Kansas, included a Bible study outreach program that used Children Desiring God curriculum. This video shares how Chris Stewart and his team used Children Desiring God material in their ministry, and how families benefitted from exposure to God-centered teaching. (more…)

The Cat, the Blanket, and a Big Truth

When my son Jacob was in 5th grade, he studied the curriculum, My Purpose Will Stand: A Study on the Providence of God in Sunday School. Week after week I would ask him what he was learning. Much to my frustration, his typical reply was something like, “We learned stuff about God,” or some other vague answer.

(more…)

Learning at 5 and 55

Last fall I needed two maroon buttons for a jumper I was sewing for my 5-year-old granddaughter, Anna. I went with her and her mother to the one fabric store in St. John’s, Newfoundland to look for these buttons, only to find it had already closed for the day. Later, as I was waiting in the car with Anna while her mother ran another errand, Anna asked me, “Grandma, was it a good thing that the fabric store was closed?”

“No, Anna. It wasn’t a good thing. Now we have to come back tomorrow to get the buttons for your jumper.” (Bad answer.)

Evidently she stopped to consider that, because a minute or two later, Anna commented, “Grandma, I kind of think that it was a good thing that the store was closed…because God made the store be closed…and everything God does is good and right.” (Good answer.) (more…)

Why Our Kids Need Big Truths

Watch this inspiring testimony of how the teaching of big biblical truths prepared a family to stand strong in faith amid profound suffering:

The Watters’ Story

Also, you might want to take a closer look at the curriculum they were using—My Purpose Will Stand: A Study for Children on the Providence of God.

Creative Uses for Helping Children Understand the Gospel

Since it was released in 2009, the booklet Helping Children Understand the Gospel has been used in a number of creative ways. Although it was written to help parents explain the Gospel to their children in an accurate and child-friendly manner, God has multiplied its usefulness to bless the church. Understanding and meditating on the truths of the Gospel is is not just for children, but for families, teachers, youth, young adults and grandparents, too!

In January 2010, Riverpark Bible Church in Fresno, California, used Helping Children Understand the Gospel to begin a church-wide, 10-week, “Ten Truths” study. After encouraging parents to read parts one and two of the booklet on their own, they kicked off the study with a sermon outlining the ten truths. In this video Pastor Dave and Sandy Parker share what they did and what happened:


If you are curious about the Ten Essential Truths of the Gospel that make up the devotional guide in the booklet, here they are:

Truth One: God is the sovereign Creator of all things.
Truth Two: God created people for His glory.
Truth Three: God is holy and righteous.
Truth Four: Man is sinful.
Truth Five: God is just and is right to punish sin.
Truth Six: God is merciful. He is kind to undeserving sinners.
Truth Seven: Jesus is God’s holy and righteous Son.
Truth Eight: God put the punishment of sinners on Jesus.
Truth Nine: God offers the free gift of salvation to those who repent and believe in Jesus.
Truth Ten: Those who trust in Jesus will live to please Him and will receive the promise of eternal life—enjoying God forever in heaven.

Preschoolers + Big Truths + God’s Gracious Will = Spiritual Understanding

Testimonies

I love this testimony from a pre-school Sunday school class:

One Sunday during the preschool Bible lesson time, the teacher was telling the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and how they were told to bow and worship the golden image made by King Nebuchadnezzar. The teacher asked the children, “Should they bow down and worship the idol?” Agitated, a three-year-old girl pointed to the wall where Bible verses the children had been encouraged to memorize were displayed. As she pointed she exclaimed, “They can’t! They can’t–because of that verse!”

What was the verse she pointed to? Matthew 6:24a“No one can serve two masters,”

May we never underestimate the power of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of little children!

… “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”  (Luke 10:21 ESV)

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