In his research for Effective Evangelistic Churches, Thom Rainer observed that “effective Sunday schools had strong and vocal support from the pastor. Indeed, it was often the pastor who spoke most often about the importance of Sunday school. He did not leave the emphasis in the hands of a minister of education or a Sunday school director alone. The pastor typically was actively involved in training, recruiting, and promotion in Sunday School:”Similarly, Ken Hemphill in Revitalizing the Sunday Morning Dinosaur provides the following insight into the pastor’s role:
Some pastors consider Sunday school the domain of professional educators. Pastors often receive little seminary training about the work of the Sunday school, and they do not feel prepared to lead the Sunday school. Many have dreamed of the day that they could afford to employ a professional educator to lead the Sunday school. But many pastors will never lead a multiple-staff church. Most churches are single-staff churches. Thus if the Sunday school program is to work effectively, the pastor must assume leadership. Yet even in the larger churches with specialized educational staffs, the Sunday school will not function as a powerful growth tool if the pastor does not provide leadership. The people will usually make the greatest commitment to that which the pastor gives greatest emphasis. Laypersons commit to serve in the Sunday school when they see that this is their pastor’s priority2 You will find that churches with growing Sunday schools have pastors who have discovered the way of elevating the Sunday school and the importance of doing so.
–Steve Parr. Sunday School That Really Works: A Strategy for Connecting Congregations and Communities (pp. 97-98). Kindle Edition.