Enlisting Leaders in Sunday School

The most basic, yet helpful, definition of leadership is a person influencing people to accomplish a purpose. This is a great place to start when you ask the question, “How do I enlist people to serve in a Sunday School or Small Group ministry?”


People do what people see. You can’t take someone anywhere you haven’t been yourself. To enlist Sunday School leaders, they must realize your deep commitment to it. This isn’t to say that only a teacher can recruit other teachers, or that only a department director can enlist someone to lead a department. Pastors often enlist leaders for positions in which they do not serve. But they won’t enlist very many if their commitment to Sunday School isn’t apparent to the entire congregation.


The greatest impact we can ever have on another person is personal and individual. Enlisting Sunday School workers with a group announcement or through a newsletter request is not the optimal approach. Make a list of potential Sunday School leaders then have a personal conversation with a potential leader. This should be an ongoing process. Before the “will you serve as a…?” conversation, have a couple of “you’d be great as a…” conversations. Play the long game. Groom people for leadership roles over time.


Let people know what you are asking them to do. Make sure you have job descriptions for every leadership position in your Sunday School structure. But you must go beyond the task to the contribution. Help the potential leader see what impact they will have by serving in the role to which you are recruiting them.

Leaders accomplish purpose through others. This requires recruiting and enlisting others to do the work. Enlisting others into leadership roles is an essential task for a dynamic Sunday School or Small Group ministry.

Points of Application

  • Model commitment to Sunday School
  • Compile a list of potential leaders
  • Enlist personally and individually
  • Make enlistment both an event and a process
  • Communicate both the task and the contribution

by Brett Selby