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Desired Attributes of Sunday Church School Directors

By Chris Andreas

Though it would certainly be difficult to find individuals possessing all the attributes mentioned below, all are desirable for those wishing to hold the position of director of a Sunday Church School (SCS). Directors are those who must make everything “go,” and the programs will be at their best only when the leadership is equal to the tasks.

Faithful Members of the Church Sunday Church School
Directors are role models for the teachers, the students and their parents. A Director who says one should attend and participate in the Divine Liturgy and the sacramental life of the Church should also be a Director who attends and participates in them. A Director should think of her/himself as a continual learner of the Faith, reading, studying and reflecting on the Orthodox Tradition and passing along new books and ideas to the teachers. A Director should be spiritually motivated, filled with fervor and excitement.

Directors must be dedicated to the program. Only when they love the program and what they are doing, donate their time liberally and look forward with inner pride (not to be confused with false pride) to the positive results of their efforts, will the SCS succeed. In addition, others too will be motivated enough to perform those responsibilities entrusted to them. Directors must also be able to display enthusiasm and a positive attitude, which has a tendency of being very contagious when exhibited in a correct manner.

Directors must be diplomatic and professional. There are many ways to say the same thing. Only when leaders speak pleasantly to people in getting them to perform particular tasks or duties, will they maintain that dedication needed from their staff. Directors must also understand that they are dealing with volunteers. Though a staff member must never feel that he or she is doing the director a favor by being there, that staff member might be rather sensitive towards a particular tone of voice or action taken by the leader. A rule of thumb that all leaders should maintain is that they should put themselves “into the shoes” of staff members and think about how they might like to hear something coming in the form of a directive.

Directors should be willing to continuously learn and accept new ideas and methodologies. And one need not be a college graduate in order to demonstrate that he can learn quickly, make sound judgments, and not be afraid to try something new within the program. If directors continue to utilize outdated methodologies that have failed in the past, and cannot adjust to new developments or look at them with new eyes, then they are in for a difficult time.

Leaders must be able to communicate the meaning of decisions and policies to staff members in order to be successful. Therefore, reading, writing, and speaking well are essential ingredients for successful leadership performance.

Directors should be able to make and maintain good connections with teachers, students, and their parents. Directors also should be working in tandem with their parish priest, in regular contact with him about new programs and resources. Directors should be connected to the Metropolis Religious Education Director and the Archdiocese Department of Religious Education.

Directors should be cooperative, have social understanding and the ability to work well with others. They must be individuals who can “turn people on,” rather than “off;” act as co-workers for Christ rather than dictators; willing to listen to suggestions, constructive criticisms, problems and complaints. Only then will they find it easier to get people to work under and with them, and be able to motivate them. It is axiomatic in the business world that the key to success in an office is that managerial positions must be filled by those who understand and work well with others.

Duties of Directors
Read the full PDF for fourteen duties suggested for Directors.

Chris Andreas is a retired administrator from the private sector having work for IBM Corporation for a quarter century before moving onto the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in New York where he was also administrator for the Department of Stewardship Ministry. He both taught in and directed Sunday Church School, and has written several papers on the Holy Scriptures and various ministries of the Church.

Desired Attributes of Sunday Church School Directors (PDF)123.54 KB