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Lessons Learned: Supply Management

The remodeling of our Sunday School classrooms left teachers with no place to stash supplies needed for class each week. The recently removed supply cabinets seemed to encourage pack rat behavior among the teachers, so we needed a different solution. Thankfully, my hyper-organized wife came to the rescue with some supply management advice.

Our Sunday School is blessed with a generously-sized office and storage space, complete with heavy-duty shelving. The office is located at the end of the main hallway that connects the church sanctuary to the Sunday School classrooms. Realizing this convenient placement was key in the solution to our supply management quandary.

The solution?

Twelve medium and twelve small plastic storage boxes, one pair for each class, serve as the backbone of our solution. The small boxes hold pencils, pens, scissors, and other supplies that are needed on a weekly basis. The small box goes into the larger container along with blank paper, tape, and other frequently needed supplies. Supply boxes are stocked according to class needs; younger students have crayons and safety scissors while older students have markers and pens.

As teachers pass the Sunday School office they pick up their supply box. After class, the teacher or a student, returns the box. A supply volunteer works to restock supplies on Sundays or during the week. They sharpen pencils, reload supplies, and do other necessary tasks to keep these supply boxes ready to use. The supply volunteer also keeps track of upcoming special projects and adds the appropriate supplies for the lessons. This allows us to centralize our craft supplies and buy in bulk to save money.

On top of all of the other supplies in the container, we also put in the student leaflets for the week. A dedicated team of volunteers meet once a quarter to sort all the student leaflets when they arrive from the publisher. We keep all of these sorted leaflets in the Sunday School office, providing just the ones needed that week in the supply box. Our teachers love not having to sort and store the leaflets at home, and we never have to worry about “missing-in-action” leaflets if a teacher couldn’t come that week.

The results?

Our teachers quickly adapted to our new system and things are running very smoothly. If teachers need extra supplies or something special, they leave a note for the supply volunteer in their container. The Sunday morning leaders can easily see which teachers are in their classrooms by which containers have been picked up from the office. These containers are a great solution to our supply management challenge.

Your challenge?

I challenge you to rethink your current Sunday School supply management situation. Find a central location for teachers to store their craft supplies and student leaflets and consider recruiting a supply volunteer to help keep your teachers equipped. Start by simply cleaning out your current supply stash and refreshing those nubby crayons. Give your Sunday School supply closet a spring cleaning. Your teachers and students will appreciate it.

What lessons have you learned in your Sunday School leadership role?

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