I serve as the interim education minister at Northwest Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. This year we developed five things that we expect from all of our LifeGroups (Sunday School). These are not “flavor of the month” expectations that are constantly changing, but five things that we would like to see our LifeGroups accomplish this year.
- Minister to every person in your group.
- Start a new group.
- Adopt an unreached people group.
- Conduct a class mission experience.
- Reach and baptize at least one person in your group this year.
Minister. We expect our LifeGroups to minister to every person in their group – every week. We want our LifeGroups to be our frontline of ministry at Northwest. By calling every member every week, we are able to be proactive in ministry and actually minister while a family may be going through a crisis. I have learned that groups that do not have a routine of regular weekly ministry are usually on the reactive side of ministry, and apologizing to someone for not being there six weeks earlier.
New groups. We have five adult LifeGroup departments at Northwest, and we expect each department to start a new group this year. That would be five new groups with the potential to reach 50 new people this year.
Adopt a People Group. Northwest is pioneering a joint effort with the International Mission Board to adopt the 6,426 unreached people groups in the world. All of our adult groups, and many of our student and children’s groups have adopted an unreached people group to pray for this year. These groups are praying for the Bible to be translated into the native language of their group; for missionaries; for receptive hearts; and for their people group to have access to the Gospel. Prayer is taking on a new, evangelistic dimension for us. Read more about the 6426 Project and register to adopt a group.
Mission Experience. Our LifeGroups have adopted every homeroom at a nearby middle school. Our groups are in contact with the homeroom teacher and are providing ministry to the students in the homeroom. In addition, many of our LifeGroups are going the next step. One of our median adult groups has adopted an apartment complex and are ministering and conducting Bible studies in the complex.
Baptize. Once upon a time, I remember a guy named Harry Piland saying that “the Sunday School is the evangelistic arm of the church”. I think he may have gotten that from another guy named Arthur Flake. At Northwest, we take that statement seriously. If our groups are about the Great Commission and reaching the lost with the Gospel, then it only stands to reason that our groups should reach and baptize at least one person this year.
Our leadership have responded well to these five expectations. Basically, we have laid out for them what we expect of them this year. Our monthly leadership meetings always reinforce our five expectations.