7 Times to Schedule Training


Aubry Malphurs made a strong statement when he said, “If we ask our people to lead any ministry of the church, we’re responsible to provide them ongoing leadership training. If we can’t do this, we have no business asking them to serve, doing both them and the ministry an injustice. Without ongoing training, our recruits will struggle and often fail, and the rest of the ministry will experience the effects in the resulting leadership vacuum.” (Building Leaders, 27).

Research by the Georgia Baptist Convention demonstrated that some training is better than no training. In a survey of 2544 churches in that state, it was determined that churches with monthly or quarterly training grew between 13-14% in a specific four-year timeframe; churches with no training declined 2% during that same window of time. Training matters!

When it comes to the training of group leaders, churches have several options that might make sense depending upon the culture of the church. Here are some of the more popular times for training your church’s group leaders:

  1. Friday night – normally this is used for special training times when a guest speaker is recruited to come to the church and encourage and train group leaders. A meal is often provided by the church, catered perhaps by a local restaurant. Normally these Friday night training sessions are not scheduled during high school football season! Houston’s First Baptist Church has a tradition of conducting a powerful Friday night event called Midnight Madness once a year. Workshops are offered from early evening until midnight (although the church has recently modified the ending time to 10PM).
  2. Saturday morning – popular in the past, churches have struggled to get leaders to attend Saturday morning training because of the influence of kid’s sports, and the need for mom and dad to do house and yard work, plus other weekend chores and activities. This time slot can still work – it simply depends on the context of the church and the leadership culture there. For a number of churches, this fits the needs of their leaders quite well.
  3. Sunday, after morning worship – this one is growing in popularity. People are already on campus, so why not ask them to stay through the lunch hour and slightly beyond? Churches have found success when they provide a noon meal for the leaders and their families, followed by 90-120 minutes of training. It doesn’t require another night out of the house, and people don’t have to sacrifice a Saturday. Much of the training I am asked to do for churches falls into this time slot.
  4. Sunday afternoon, before evening activities – many churches still find that a late afternoon time of training works for their people. Meeting from 4PM to 6PM is the most popular time, but I have seen 5PM to 7PM, and 6PM to 8PM work effectively, too.
  5. Wednesday evenings – this may be a good time for mid-week training, but you may run into leaders who cannot attend because of work schedules, traffic, kid’s sports, kids’ homework, and general fatigue of families.
  6. Sunday mornings – this is the one that I transitioned to when I was on church staff leading the education and discipleship ministries. You might be asking yourself, “How does this work?” Actually, pretty good! I “time shifted” our training to Sunday mornings when many of my group leaders could no longer attend mid-week training. Once a month I met with the leaders of all my adult Bible study groups. We ate breakfast together, and
    then moved into a time of training during the Sunday school hour. I can hear your question! “If your teachers were with you for training, who was leading the Bible study groups that day?” All of my group leaders recruited apprentice teachers and turned over the teaching responsibility to them once a month. It had the side benefit of preparing a new generation of group leaders for service. No childcare was required because the kids of my teachers were in Sunday school. No additional nights out of the house were needed.
  7. Any time – churches are learning to use Lifeway’s Ministry Grid, YouTube, Vimeo, Zoom, and other digital delivery services so that group leaders get training at a time that is convenient for them.

The content above is taken from my book Breathing Life into Sunday School: 12 Essentials for Revitalizing Your Church’s Most Important Ministry. It’s a quick read that is packed with practical how-to’s, so pick up a copy and help your church’s group ministry experience new vibrancy in our post-COVID world.

5 comments

  1. […] 7 Times to Schedule Training By Ken Braddy — LifeWay's Director of Sunday School, Manager of LifeWay Christian Resource's Adult Ongoing Bible Studies & Adult Trainers, education pastor 20+ years, author, conference leader, and blogger|2022-12-19T13:33:53-05:00December 19th, 2022|Categories: Children's Ministry, Discipleship, Leadership, Ministry Tips, Music/Media/Tech, Pastors, Productivity, Students, Sunday School & Groups|0 Comments […]

  2. Thanks for this article! I am launching an associational book study for Sunday School directors over your book Breakthrough and I am inviting my Sunday School teachers as well; I’ll be hosting it on Sunday Nights from 6:30 to 7:30 during our regular service time while the rest of the church will be in short term discipleship groups.

    • Daniel, thanks for leading that book study using the new Breakthrough book! I’ll be leading a 3-city “tour” in Kentucky from March 6-9 and if you attend, I’d love to say hi. Check your state convention’s website for the cities and dates that week, but we’re going to be all over the state.

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