All leaders should be expected to participate in training. Do all within your power to provide quality and to promote participation. However, the ultimate criteria for whether or not training is provided should not be based on participation but rather on responsibility. Study Ephesians 4:11-12 and you will discover that church leaders have a biblical responsibility to train the congregation in providing ministry. The implication for the congregation is a willingness to receive or participate in the equipping opportunities. In addition, the research that I have conducted over the years has consistently shown that training is the number one determining factor in whether a church does or does not have a healthy and growing Sunday school ministry. I want every teacher to participate and I want the attendance to be strong. However, I have a responsibility to do my part whether a large number of leaders attend training or whether they do not. I provide training because it is my responsibility, not because of the number of people that show up. That being said, I still do all I can to maximize participation.
What if only a few teachers are participating? What if you can only get one or two teachers to go to that training offered by your denomination, association, or parachurch group in a neighboring community or in a retreat setting? Remember that you should not penalize those who participate because others are not participating. Provide the training. Go to the training. Train the trainable and have a great time doing it. Perhaps their experience will not only have a positive affect on their ministry but on other leaders as they hear about the experiences of those who participate.
Steve Parr, A Sunday School that Really Resonds