Today’s blog post is an interview with my friend and co-worker, Allan Taylor. He’s a recognized leader in education ministry circles and he has developed a new training event I want you to know about (and attend) in Spring 2017. He’s got a website you can bookmark – Ember 2 Blaze Ministries. Just click here to jump to his website.
Q) Allan, what is your title and role at LifeWay?
A) Director, Church Education Ministry. I work primarily with Ministers of Education. I am to serve, assist, and enhance the work and ministry of Christian Educators. This naturally positions me to work with a lot of Sunday Schools.
Q) I hear you have established a training event in the Nashville area. What is the name of the event? Where will it be held?
A) The event is On Track Sunday School Conference. It will be held at First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, TN
Q) What is the date of the training event?
A) March 17-18, 2017.
Q) Why did you choose that name for the event?
A) Several of us were meeting about the concept of this conference and were considering names for it. In our discussions we realized that many Sunday Schools had gotten a little “off track.” Thus, the name, “On Track.”
Q) What are your goals for the training event?
A) I firmly believe that Sunday Schools are a result of their teachers and leaders. We all know that “everything rises and falls on leadership.” But teachers and leaders rise or fall on their training (or lack thereof). Research shows that equipped leaders are the number one driving force behind a growing Sunday School. Likewise, research shows if you neglect training you forfeit growth. I want to do all I can to help churches “equip the saints to do the work of the ministry.” Why? I like the result – “for the building up of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12 is God’s formula for growth!
Q) Why is this event important to you? What was the genesis for creating it in the first place?
The idea behind On Track Sunday School Conference was born from my meeting with Ministers of Education. I heard repeatedly that we need to train our leaders and that churches need help with training. Also, I believe no other entity is postured like LifeWay to lead this charge. Sunday School is important because it is the people’s ministry! Typically, the worship services belong to the staff ministers. But Sunday School belongs to the people. Also, Sunday School is the church’s greatest venue for God’s people to exercise their Holy Spirit given gifts.
Q) What kinds of workshops will you make available to attendees?
A) Two Age Division Sessions that include: Younger Preschool, Older Preschool, Children Grades 1-3, Children Grades 4-6, Middle School, High School, College, Young Adults, Median Adults, Sr. Adults, Student Pastors, Staff, and Sunday School Directors. Also, we will offer forty-two Topical Sessions that leaders may choose from.
Q) Who are your plenary speakers?
A) Eric Geiger, Vice President of the Resources Division of LifeWay and I are the plenary speakers.
Q) What does it cost to attend the event?
A) The early bird rate is $55 per person through February 17, 2017. Starting February 18 registration is $70 per person.
Q) If I wanted more information about the event, where could I go to get it? Is there a URL?
A) There is much more information at www.lifeway.com/ontrack.
Q) Is there anything you want to add before we conclude this interview?
A) You can view this conference from two perspectives. One perspective is to see this as an expenditure. Those who do will not attend or bring their leaders. Another viewpoint is to see this conference as an investment. An investment in your leaders and an investment in the health and growth of your Sunday School. Those with this perspective will load up the bus and have a great weekend with their leaders!
I conducted a Sunday School training conference like this when I was Minister of Education at First Baptist Church, Woodstock, GA. After the conference I received a letter from a pastor in West Virginia. He thanked me for the conference and all that his Sunday School leadership gleaned. Then he wrote something very profound, “The best part of the conference was the bus ride home with my people. For two days they did nothing but eat, sleep, and breathe Sunday School. The ideas, enthusiasm, and passion filled the bus.” He concluded by saying, “In all my years as pastor, the best Sunday School meeting we ever had was on that bus!”