Mr. Green was a great Sunday School teacher. I was in third grade at a little Baptist church in Southern California and, frankly, and I don’t remember a single lesson he taught in class. But he was my best teacher ever!
How can that be, you ask? Because Mr. Green had qualities about him that transcended the ability to take a lesson from the curriculum and get me to understand it. Mr. Green was a great Sunday School teacher because he was willing to be and was willing to do what it took to make a difference in my life.
He exhibited 8 Qualities of a Great Sunday School Teacher that I think are present in every great teacher.
The 8 Qualities of a Great Sunday School Teacher:
1) A heart for God
This is where all ministry begins, whether you are teaching Sunday School or leading the entire church. In fact, this is where our ministry should flow from – our deep, sincere, committed heart for God.
2) A love for people
Scripture teaches that the two greatest commands are to love God and to love . . . people (Mark 12:30-31)! Our teaching ought to flow from our love for God but because of our love for people. This means we are not only committed to the lesson, but to actually understanding and building relationships with the people we are teaching.
3) A passion for God’s Word
A heart for God and a love for people set the stage for the content of our teaching. And that content needs to be solidly based on Biblical truth. As a Sunday School teacher, it’s our responsibility to dig in to God’s Word not just to teach our lesson, but to understand it fully and allow it to permeate every part of our life. As we do this, every element of our teaching becomes based on and saturated in the Word.
4) A habit of praying
Oswald Chambers, author of My Utmost For His Highest, said “Prayer does not equip us for greater works, prayer is the greater work.” A great Sunday School teacher knows that it is the power of God that brings about transformation, so a deep dependence on God, exhibited through the habit of praying, is essential for a great Sunday School teacher.
5) A commitment to personal growth
Any great teacher is only a great teacher as long as they continue to grow. This is true of a Sunday School teacher, as well. Luke 2:52 says that “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and all the people.” Basically, he grew mentally, physically, spiritually and socially. A great example for any great Sunday School teacher.
6) An ability to teach
Some people have the gift of teaching, while others learn enough to become competent at it. Either way, no one can be a great Sunday School teacher if they don’t have the ability to teach!
7) A willingness to prepare
It really doesn’t matter if you have an ability to teach if you’re not willing to prepare. Sure, great teachers can “wing it” in a pinch, but they know that that’s not the way to be effective. Preparation takes time and effort, and great Sunday School teachers are willing to give both.
8) A dedication to the people they teach
One of the things I loved most about Mr. Green was the fact that he was dedicated to us. No, I would not have been able to articulate that in third grade, but I could see it in who he was and what he did. He was there every Sunday, he visited my Little League games, he planned outings for us, he talked with my parents about what we were learning, he was interested in my life outside the classroom, he prayed for and with us often, and so much more. He was dedicated to me and the other guys in the class, and it showed.
Yes, Mr. Green was a great Sunday School teacher. I may not remember the lessons, but he taught me a lot in that third grade Sunday School class. He taught me to love God and love His Word. He taught me to love others and to practice the principles that God wanted me to practice. And, perhaps most of all, he exhibited all the important qualities of a great Sunday School teacher – not because he had to, but because that’s who he was. And it forever changed my life for good. And whether it’s third grade, junior high or adults you are teaching, practice these 8 Qualities and you’ll be a great Sunday School teacher, too!
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This post gives you the high-level view, but Greg has written a lot more about these qualities in this free guide. Plug in your email and we’ll send it your way! (You’ll also get tips and updates from Disciplr.)