Friday, August 04, 2006

The Sunday School Lackey

A classmate and I once talked about the plight of the "Sunday School Lackey"-- oh, what an unfortunate lot.

There are those who go through seminary with the wrong attitude toward field education and internship requirements, seeing them as simply items to check off on a list instead of opportunities for growth, experience, learning, and ministering to others. These same students inevitably are little motivated or proactive about getting to know their pastor(s) and other church leaders, nor about finding their place in the ministries of their church.

And because they aren't known by the leadership, the leaders have no desire or confidence about putting these students into ministry roles of much circumstance or substance. So they become the "Sunday School Lackey".

Stuck in a Sunday School class, they are, the leaders decide, where they will do no damage. Instead they will fill the volunteer positions that are often difficult to find many takers for.

These Sunday School Lackeys would do well to take these opportunities as they come to them-- they won't be getting much else to fulfill their requirements if they don't. Better still, they should refresh their attitudes. What are they in seminary for, if they don't see the field education and internship as the opportunities they are?

One more thing: church leaders need to realize that there is plenty of damage to be done through Sunday School-- it is not simply a "safe place to stick the loose-cannon intern". According to the incredibly compelling research by Thom Rainer (see High Expectations), churches that want to keep their members will do so only when they begin to take Sunday School seriously. The plight of the "Sunday School Lackey" is as much an indictment of the Church's (or at least the PCA's) low view of Sunday School as it is the bad attitude of some seminarians.

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