Author Archive for Bob Mayfield

The Ask (Asking A Guest to Join the Group)

Mark 1:17 reads, “Follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fish for people.” (HCSB)

Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus asking people to follow Him. Jesus wanted people to join Him on His mission to seek and save the lost, but to accomplish this mission Jesus made the habit of asking people to join Him.

Yet many Sunday School classes and small groups often forget to ask a guest participating in their group if they would like to join it!

People will rarely enroll in a group unless they are asked. An informal survey of people joining the church’s small groups or Sunday School are often people that are joining the church and are simply taking the next required step of membership. Asking someone to join your group is so simple…

Ask them!!

Here are a few helpful ideas…

  • Make sure enrollment cards are available at every meeting. That also includes a writing utensil that works.
  • Combine the guest and enrollment cards. Simply add a checkbox to the guest card that states: “I would like to join this group.”
  • Whoever is responsible for taking roll in the group should ask every guest to fill out the guest card, and be sure to ask them if they would like to join the group.
  • If possible, the person responsible should offer to fill out the guest card for the guest. Not only does this lead to asking the above question, but it also means that someone can read the handwriting on the card!
  • Use the proper verbiage and attitude. “Would you like to join our wonderful group?” sounds so much better than, “You wouldn’t want to join our group… would’ya?”
  • And… a guest does not have to be a church member or attend three consecutive times to join or enroll in the group!

All it takes is “the ask.”

_____________________________

Bob Mayfield is the Sunday School/Discipleship specialist at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Bob also has his own blog at bobmayfield.com.
Follow Bob on Twitter at @bobmayfield and on Facebook at facebook.com/thebobmayfield

4 Critical Steps for A New Believer (Baptism, Bible Study, Prayer, Community)

Someone you know or a guest in the church has just become a new follower of Jesus Christ!!

Fantastic!!! That is wonderful…

Now what?

I doubt many people would give a person who had never driven before the keys to their new car. Someone who has just become a new believer needs some guidance as they begin their journey of faith in Jesus Christ. Here are four critical steps that you can share with a new Christian as they begin their walk with Christ.

Baptism
Yes, the first step is to be biblically baptized. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward reality; that this person has found new life through Jesus Christ and has made Jesus the Lord of their life. Your church may offer a baptism class, or maybe counseling to help this new Christian with his or her new faith. Encourage them to get baptized as soon as possible.

Bible Study
If the new believer does not have a Bible, help them get one! Encourage them to read the Bible daily. A daily soaking in Scripture is vital to spiritual growth. Which translation should they have? Here are two suggestions: 1) the translation that the pastor preaches from; 2) the translation that you or your Small Group uses at group meetings. The book of Ephesians is a great book for new believers because it is full of the doctrine of the church and it is only six chapters long. Afterward, help them get into a daily Bible reading plan.

Prayer
The best way to teach a new believer how to pray is to pray with them. Let them learn from you that prayer is a two-way conversation with God.

Community
A new believer needs a biblical community. Encourage them to become a member of a local church. But they will need more than membership. They need a smaller group where they will belong. A Sunday School class or a Small Group is an outstanding place for a new believer to develop new friends and mentors; to study God’s Word; and for ministry and prayer. A Small Group is really how the church is organized to be… well to be the church! Most likely, the smaller group is where a new believer is going to find people willing to walk alongside him or her, and disciple them into spiritual maturity.

__________________________

Bob Mayfield is the Sunday School/Discipleship specialist at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Bob also has his own blog at bobmayfield.com.
Follow Bob on Twitter at @bobmayfield and on Facebook at facebook.com/thebobmayfield

Share the Story: Sharing Personal Testimonies in the Group

How many people in your group know the stories of other group members’ journey of faith? The testimony of believers is powerful, both as a way to witness the saving power of Jesus Christ with lost friends and neighbors, but also to encourage other believers in their own walk with Christ. Revelation 12:11 reveals that the church overcomes its evil adversary by “… the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.”

However, many group members are nervous about sharing their testimony of faith. Some members do not know how to share what God has done in their life; others may need some practice and encouragement. Sharing testimonies in small group helps both group members and the group.

  1. Sharing testimonies during small group encourages all group members to develop their testimony;
  2. It helps group members practice and build their confidence;
  3. It builds deeper group community. Knowing the struggles that other people in the group have overcome or are currently facing builds spiritual bonds between group members;
  4. Sharing testimonies brings the power of the Gospel into the group. It also provides a Gospel expression when unsaved people are in the group.

How to Share Personal Testimonies

  • I encourage the leader to show the group how to write their testimony, which can also be called a Legacy Letter. Go here for guidance on writing a Legacy Letter.
  • Share one or two testimonies at each group meeting.
  • The group leader should share his or her testimony first. The leader’s testimony/Legacy Letter will serve as a model for other group members.
  • Limit the testimony or Legacy Letter to about 2-3 minutes (4-500 words or about one page typed).
  • Encourage people to actually read their testimony to the group. Reading the testimony aloud builds confidence.

Consider giving just 5 minutes at one meeting each month for group testimonies.

__________________________________

Bob Mayfield is the Sunday School/Discipleship specialist at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Bob also has his own blog at bobmayfield.com.
Follow Bob on Twitter at @bobmayfield and on Facebook at facebook.com/thebobmayfield

Inviting Lost People to Your Group

A pastor correctly said, “Lost people matter to God. They should also matter to us.” In Luke 19:10, Jesus states, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost.” Inviting lost people to our group is a natural progression in our relationship with Christ. The closer we relate and imitate Jesus, the more compassion we will have for people who do not yet know Him as their Savior and Lord.

Inviting a lost friend or acquaintance to our small group can sometimes be an unsettling experience. All sorts of questions come to mind:

  • What if my friend doesn’t like my group?
  • Or even worse – what if my group doesn’t like my friend!
  • What if our group leader says something that might hurt my friend’s feelings?

I want to encourage you not to worry about the “what ifs” of inviting someone to your group. The chances are your friend already knows that you belong to a small group. In fact, they may be wondering why you haven’t invited them to come with you to your group!

Here are a few simple suggestions that may help…

  • Be intentional. Sorry, but inviting someone to your small group is not going to accidentally slip into the conversation. I enjoy fishing and hunting, but inviting someone to go hunting with me has never happened by accident. It is always intentional.
  • Be cordial. “Hey Larry, you know I have been intending to do this but sometimes it slips my mind. I would love for you to be my guest at our small group this Sunday if you don’t already have something planned.”
  • Be prepared. Your group should be ready for guests. Get in the habit of wearing nametags. Sit in a circle. Have extra Bibles available for guests. Never call on a guest to read, pray, or answer a question.

The simplest things can go a long way to easing any discomfort you might have about inviting a friend to your group. But one thing is certain…

They will not come if we do not ask.

_____________________________

Bob Mayfield is the Sunday School/Discipleship specialist at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Bob also has his own blog at bobmayfield.com.
Follow Bob on Twitter at @bobmayfield and on Facebook at facebook.com/thebobmayfield

Leading Group Members to Build Relationships

I was teaching a class about Sunday School to a group of ministry students at Oklahoma Baptist University when we began discussing curriculum. Holding a couple of curriculum pieces in my hand, I read the titles to students and asked which curriculum piece appealed to them the best. I was trying to make a point of not judging any curriculum by the fancy artwork on the cover when a student responded, “I like the one on the left”. He explained that he preferred that piece because it used the term “group study”. He went on to explain that…

A class is something you attend,
but a group is something you belong to.

Bingo!!

People today want to belong. As the leader of your Bible study group, you need to make sure that you have a plan to help people move from attending to belonging. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Fellowship monthly. People need time apart from the normal Bible study to eat together, talk, and get to know others in a less structured atmosphere.
  • Use nametags. David Francis has communicated the importance of nametags. People want to be called by their name, not “hey you” or “how about you in the red shirt”.
  • Use smaller groups to engage group members in Bible study. Smaller groups help engage people who are less outspoken than others.
  • Have a greeter at the door to the room. Greet everyone. If someone new attends, the greeter introduces them to others and gets a conversation started.
  • Make phone calls. Develop a plan that includes other people in the group as leaders, and call every group member frequently.
  • Occasionally break into groups of four when it is prayer time. Give each person an index card and ask them to write their name and 2-3 prayer requests on the card. Hand the card to the person beside them and each person prays for the person and requests on the card.

 

Bob Mayfield is the Sunday School/Discipleship specialist at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Bob also has his own blog at bobmayfield.com.
Follow Bob on Twitter at @bobmayfield and on Facebook at facebook.com/thebobmayfield