I can still remember cringing when I heard this announcement from the pulpit one Sunday morning long ago:
We need more workers for children’s Sunday school. If you’re interested, there is a table in the hallway where you can sign up to help.
Does that kind of recruitment pitch sound at all familiar? I hope not. Needless to say, I don’t think that particular announcement got anyone excited to give up their Sunday mornings in order to serve in children’s Sunday school.
Now imagine an announcement that was prefaced with something like this instead:
…Sunday School is for freedom. It is a school of liberation.
Have your Sunday School Workers ever thought of yourselves as a squadron of God’s commandos, weekly storming Satan’s bastion to liberate his hostages? Listen to 2 Timothy 2:24, 25: “The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” When you love your students and teach them truth, you are God’s gentle storm troopers! It is truth taught in love that batters down the walls of Satan’s prison. He cannot hold out against the truth.
O, never, never underestimate the power of truth. We handle glorious things every Sunday. We are in a great battle for liberation. Do not be deceived that you hear no bombshells. Do not be discouraged that your medals are few. The Last Day will reveal that the greatest centers of power and of lasting liberation were not in Washington or London or Bonn or Geneva, but in classrooms where truth was taught and young people were “freed from the snare of the devil.” This is no exaggeration. It is absolutely true.
("Sunday School as Liberation,” article by John Piper, ©2014 Desiring God Foundation, desiringGod.org)
Which recruitment summons would carry more sway? Which would inspire someone to invest in the lives of children on Sunday mornings? Which challenges adults to see the serious danger of unbelief in the lives of children and the necessity for gospel proclamation? Which calls a person to great, eternal kingdom work?
One of the best ways for pastors and ministry leaders to recruit a team of dedicated, Jesus-loving, God-honoring volunteers is to first inspire them with a big vision for what they are doing and why they are doing it. Give them big reasons why investing in the discipleship of children is so important. Then set about to carefully choose, equip, train, and encourage them every step of the way.
Whether you are a ministry leader looking for some practical help to do this or a volunteer who is seeking inspiration and assistance to pass on to others, start here for resources and training: "Developing a Vision-Orientation of Ministry to Children and Youth"