Day 19-Shepherding Results

Posted by on Aug 19, 2014 in 31 Days of 3 Roles for Guiding Groups, Ministry | 0 comments

Diverse Students PrayingAs I said in Shepherding Ruts, the point of shepherding is intentional care. What evidence might we gather that shepherding is taking place? How can we tell that shepherding is making a difference?

I agree with David Francis when he mentions “active enrollment” as a result. As care becomes intentional, fewer people drop out. When they are absent, they are missed. When a need is discovered, the group mobilizes to care. As a result, those attending during the month increases.

Along with an increase in active enrollment, there are some other important shepherding results. Consider a few of those results:

  • As attendance frequency increases, signs become evident of spiritual progress (discipleship), such as Bible reading and prayer, conversations about God, focus on others, etc.
  • An increase in friendships and concern for group members.
  • An increase in willingness to respond in times of group member need.
  • Trust deepens leading to greater openness to share real needs and struggles with the group.
  • Affinities become better known leading to connections with prospects through those affinities.
  • Celebration and encouragement become normal in relationships.

Shepherding is vital. Without intentional care, relationships deteriorate impacting nearly every aspect of Sunday School. Participation and attendance decreases, ministry is neglected, and Bible study sessions become less meaningful.

What can you do this week to set an example in shepherding? What can you do to equip the saints (group members) to be better shepherds? Open your eyes this week to measures of intentional care in your class. Assess and adjust your practices to give God your best effort in the month ahead!

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Darryl Wilson serves as Sunday School & Discipleship Consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention. He served as Minister of Education in five churches in Kentucky and South Carolina and is the author of The Sunday School Revolutionary!, a blog about life-changing Sunday School and small groups.

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Day 18-Shepherding Ruts

Posted by on Aug 18, 2014 in 31 Days of 3 Roles for Guiding Groups, Ministry | 0 comments

RutsDavid Francis listed three shepherding requirements for leading Bible study groups: love, constant vigilance, and stewardship. The point of shepherding is intentional care. David shared a couple of ruts: a mechanical response and apathy. Both undercut care and impact a life-changing Sunday School effort.

In addition to those two ruts, there are four additional ruts that group leaders will want to avoid:

  • Good intentions: knowing the needs but busyness and distractions eat away available time
  • Selfishness: trying to do all the work yourself rather than equipping the saints (Ephesians 4:11-12)
  • Priorities: allowing personal choices to supersede carrying out the work of God’s call as a teacher
  • Investment: assuming no additional investment is needed in class relationships

What can a Sunday School shepherd do to avoid these ruts? Consider these actions:

  1. Calendar praying for a few group members by name every day (over the week or month).
  2. Calendar birthday calls to group members to say hi, express birthday wishes, and pray together.
  3. Calendar spending time with at least one group member away from church each month.
  4. Enlist group members to lead the class to develop and maintain meaningful relationships.
  5. Every Sunday afternoon, prayerfully assess your shepherding effort and adjust where needed.

In other words, make your care intentional. Calendaring efforts address intentions and priorities. Enlistment addresses selfishness. The fifth action helps you avoid the mechanical response that David listed. All of them address apathy.

Where do you need to start? The fifth action is a great place to begin. Take steps this week to be the shepherd of God’s sheep that He needs you to be. Give Him and them your best effort. He and they deserve no less!

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Darryl Wilson serves as Sunday School & Discipleship Consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention. He served as Minister of Education in five churches in Kentucky and South Carolina and is the author of The Sunday School Revolutionary!, a blog about life-changing Sunday School and small groups.

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Day 17-Shepherd Routines

Posted by on Aug 17, 2014 in 31 Days of 3 Roles for Guiding Groups | 0 comments

What are the essential shepherding “Routines” for a health group?

community-organizationsWhen you are the group leader/facilitator/teacher you have some very important responsibilities. The primary roles you have are to give attention to the spiritual nurture and growth of those in your group. It is best when the group leader has a team of leaders around them to help with the shepherding of the group. This has been classically called care group leader, prayer leader, social leader and outreach leader. This group organization will determine your routine for the shepherding concerns of your group.

If you have an organization, a team with whom to share these responsibilities, then your “routine” will be to oversee the ministry that your team performs. If you do not have a team, then you are the one who will need a “routine” to take care of the shepherding of your group. So what is involved in this “routine?”

  1. Care
  2. Pray
  3. Play

Each week the group leader should address these three areas.  It is essential to develop a “routine” or a way for those in your group to communicate to the group when they have a need. They need prayer. They had a death in their family. They are having surgery this week. The new baby is here. Set up a process so that the group members know how and who to contact in case there is a need.

Care – A good caring group will make regular (weekly preferred) contact with a designated group within the larger group. This “routine” acts as a way to identify needs, those who have missed attending the group recently and it helps build relationships as people talk with each other through the contacts. Create a “routine” for new people to be assimilated into the group so that they not only are accepted, but so that they make friends.

Pray – A “routine” in a healthy group will have people praying for each other. This can take place by creating a regular prayer list of group needs. Print and hand it out during the group. Email the list to each group member. Design a group web page and put prayer needs on the site (password protected).

Play – A healthy group has the ability to play together, to have fun with each other which helps them feel closer to each other. Having a “routine” group party/fellowship is an essential way for the group to learn about each other, to identify common life points and interests.

“Routine” does not mean dry and boring. It means a regular, strategic way of doing things so that you make sure the shepherding, nurturing, pastoral care, relational aspects of the group are not only being met, but that they are flourishing.

 

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