Author Archive for Darryl Wilson

The Phone Call (What to Say On A Follow-Up Call)

BEFORE CLASS: James came to your church for Sunday School. He was brought to class by the Sunday School greeter who shared James’ registration form.

The class greeter welcomed James and introduced him to the class. No one embarrassed James by asking him to speak out loud. James had a good experience during class. Several spoke to James as class ended.

AFTER CLASS: The class greeter walked James to a restroom and worship. In worship, the greeter sat with James and introduced him to some of those around them. At worship end, the greeter tells James he enjoyed spending time together and invites him back to class.

WITHIN 72 HOURS: Bob, a member of the class, contacts James by phone. Bob thanks James for being in class. They share a couple of comments about the lesson and the group. Bob then asks James if he has any questions about the class or the church.

After answering James’ questions, Bob invites James to a class fellowship planned in a couple of weeks. He even offers transportation.

Bob then asks how he can pray for James and his family. Bob writes down what James shares. Then Bob asks permission to pray with James. When James agrees, Bob prays for James and his requests.

Bob closes the call by thanking James again for coming to class and says he hopes to see him again Sunday. James is more likely to return because care was expressed!

Darryl Wilson is the Sunday School and Discipleship Consultant at the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

Leading Your Group in an Evening of Outreach

phonecallWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Planning, dreaming, and goal setting are valuable in advance of implementation. But if you don’t lead, they won’t follow. Ask them to join you. Group members need to see your example and leadership in this important area. Give your group members a simple, concrete way to get involved in outreach–especially if they are just wading into outreach. Consider an evening of outreach teamwork.

WHAT DO I DO? Your planning time should assess members’ preferences, passions, and schedules. With that information, here are some important tips for offering an evening of outreach:

  • schedule the evening when your group can be there
  • communicate a start and end time
  • in advance, assign (or enlist) each of them for a team task (encourages keeping commitments)
  • send reminders and ask group members to pray in advance
  • save everyone time by setting things up in advance (tables, directions, assignments, etc.)
  • at start time share affirmation and quick, simple verbal instructions
  • pray together for God to use the efforts
  • offer three outreach teams (if you have enough people):  cards, calls, and visits (drop cards if the group is small–they can be done during group time)
  • ensure all visits are made by teams and only at home doors–send no one out alone
  • any teams finishing early continue to pray for those who are still reaching out
  • finish with a celebration time of reports, fellowship, and snacks.

Remember to continue to pray and to follow up! Welcome guests. Invite them to enroll.

Add a New Teaching Method This Week

clayWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Jesus is our example. He used a variety of teaching methods on purpose. Message and context make a lot of difference.

The same is true today. Group members learn in a variety of ways. When we use teaching methods that address their preferred learning styles, their attention and retention increase. Both are essential for us to be effective in “teaching them to obey” (Matthew 28:20). In addition, some methods just naturally communicate the truth of God’s Word best.

WHAT DO I DO? Allow me to share some practical steps out of my experience:

  1. Discover your own learning styles by taking an inventory. Here are three samples: Learning Style Inventory, Got Style, and Learning Style Inventory.
  2. Allow class time for your group to take an inventory. (Print one.)
  3. After class, look through the results. Identify the top 2 learning style preferences for each person. Expect a lot of variety. Compare their styles with yours.
  4. Prepare to add one new method (which address their learning styles) to your normal routine.
  5. To choose wisely, consider which method best communicates the truth of God’s Word to learners with their preferred learning styles. (Good curriculum will offer many choices of methods.)
  6. Plan to use the “new” method in small doses (maybe 5 minutes) each week for a month to watch for response and build acceptance.
  7. Then try a “new” method the next month and two new methods in the third month. Increase amount of time for methods receiving the most positive response.

One out of Three

thirdWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Andy Anderson did Sunday School research and conferencing for the Baptist Sunday School Board (now LifeWay) in the 1970s. He made an important discovery in his research among small, medium, and large churches around the country–who were in a mix of rural, suburban, and city settings. He discovered that when 3 lost people were enrolled and active in Sunday School for a year, one out of the three would be saved.

Because that research was dated, over the last five years I  have asked Kentucky pastors how many lost people are saved in the first year of attending their classes. The consistent responses from over 100 pastors is 50-100%! Wow, we need to enroll and care for more lost people in Sunday School!

WHAT DO I DO? Lead your class to see, pursue, and include lost people. Lead your class to…

  1. Pray. Identify and pray for lost people in the age group for the class.
  2. Connect. Get to know lost people, especially those for whom they are praying.
  3. Invite. Include lost people in your invitations for fellowships, projects, meals, and group time.
  4. Enroll. Ask them if you may add them to your class care list.
  5. Care. Contact them, pray for them, fellowship with them, and meet their needs.
  6. Example. Talk about someone you are praying for, inviting, and working to enroll.

Lead the class to make a list of lost people to pray for and reach out to. Lead your class to take steps this month!

Enlist Teens to Serve as Class Leaders in Student Classes

volunteerWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? In 2 Timothy 2:2 (ESV), Paul encourages Timothy, a young pastor to be strengthened in Christ “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” Teens communicate, care, and reach out to teens best. Enlist, train, and mobilize them to carry out the work of the group.

WHAT DO I DO? Take these steps:

  1. ask God to send teen workers (Matthew 9:38),
  2. observe what students are saying and doing,
  3. take students with you (in pairs) for life and group ministry,
  4. ask them questions to reflect upon their experiences,
  5. when you are sure the teen is the one, ask him/her to pray about joining the team to carry out group work,
  6. provide a simple job description and continue to give on-the-job training,
  7. continue to encourage and coach the student, and
  8. encourage the student leader to go through the same steps to enlist an apprentice.

Following these steps will help teens gain confidence and competence so they will say yes to you and God when you ask them to join you. Don’t try to do the work alone. Prayerfully enlist, develop, and mobilize teens into service. Guide them to be fulfilled and fulfulling as they carry out the work of the group!