Author Archive for Jason McNair

Leading Group Prayers for the Lost

Our enemy is Satan and lost people are under his control (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Through prayer, we will weaken Satan’s influence on their hearts and open doors for our group members to share the good news (Colossians 4:2-4, 2 Timothy 2:25b-26). Here is a list of ways your group can engage praying for the lost as a group.

Prayer Methods:

  • Assign the role of “Prayer Coordinator” to a group member currently not serving in a leadership role. Provide training, like The Battle Plan for Prayer*.
  • Post the names of lost friends, family, and associates of group members in the room where you meet and refer to this list regularly. Have time within the group gathering to pray over this list.
  • Utilize a closed group on Social Media to encourage group members to share prayer requests and celebrations of group interactions with lost family, friends, and social associates.

Prayer Targets:

  • Pray for your group to be READY and SEEKING opportunities to share (1 Peter 3:15-16)
  • Pray for your group to have BOLDNESS when the opportunity comes (Ephesians 6:19)
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit SOFTENS hearts of the lost and prepare them to hear the truth
  • Pray for opportunities to CELEBRATE spiritual victories through their obedience
  • Pray for lost family, neighbors, and social associates of your group members
  • Pray for unreached people groups, as well as, missionaries serving in lands your group members will likely never visit
  • Pray for government leaders to experience salvation so that they can effectively guide others
  • Pray for those in the spotlight that they may lead the masses by their influence

* The Battle Plan for Prayer by Stephen and Alex Kendrick © 2015, B&H Publishing http://www.lifeway.com/Product/the-battle-plan-for-prayer-p005765904

Jason McNair is the Strengthening Churches Missionary for the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention. He also teaches an adult Sunday School group at First Baptist Church in West Valley City. You can reach him @jason_mcnair and at http://fb.com/jason.mcnair 

100 Small Changes Later…

100hashtag At the beginning of this series, David Francis introduced our blog to what would be 100 daily posts that provoke conversations about little things all of us can do to make our groups better.  These were not game changers or radical transformations of teaching methods.  These were small changes that could lead to minor course corrections in the direction of your group.  Most of them were not new ideas but simply reminders of things that need to be done.

We want to reflect back to the first post in this series, David Francis’ introductory article on August 1 of this year.

Sunday School is a system. It’s a bunch of things—big and small—that make a Sunday School excellent instead of mediocre.  Each relates to another and that to another and so on and so on. So what if every little thing you improved resulted in just one more person coming to Sunday School, coming back to Sunday School, enrolling in Sunday School, attending regularly in Sunday School, serving in Sunday School, and inviting another to Sunday School? Each of the 100 ideas you’ll read about in the next several weeks may seem inconsequential taken alone. But put 50 or 60 or 70 or 80 into practice and see what happens!

So, here we are.  100 articles later.  You now have 100 ideas from which you can draw for solutions to little roadblocks you may face while leading your group. Come back to this site often and refer back to these posts when you seeking answers.  We are here for you and will continue to be here with fresh insight and ideas to strengthen your group ministry.

The contributors of this blog will continue to add posts–only not as frequently as every day.  When a good idea comes to mind, we will share it here with you, the leaders of the movement.  Stay connected with us on Twitter and Facebook. Thank you for joining us on this journey of discovery. Keep making #SmallChanges that will grow your groups and help make disciples.

Using Instagram in Your Group

socialmediacloudsWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? We are a visual generation.  Everyone loves pictures and the growth of Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, and so many other video and photo sharing sites are proof that pictures and videos help get a message across. Whether or not all those messages are worth sharing is up for debate.  With the growth of any social media industry comes danger and we must be cautious in how we embrace new media sharing technologies.

We have a message worth sharing.  Week after week, group leaders connect group members to each other and to the timeless message of the truths found in God’s word.  It’s time to redeem Instagram and help connect your group members together by presenting a message worth sharing with the world.

WHAT DO I DO? In a another post, I shared about the importance of creating a closed Facebook group for your group members.  As a group leader, you can link your Instagram posts to this group to help get the message out in creative ways. Remember to make these images and videos “public” if you want them shared beyond your group.

  1. Make a selfie invite video for your next group session: You may not like selfies, but in time, you will get comfortable with it. You only have 15 seconds, so make it short and to the point.
  2. Create an image teaser post about an upcoming event: Connecting your group outside of meeting times is a great way to build community within your group.
  3. Post a creative image of the main point or scripture passage from your lesson: Instagram has filters and the ability to add text to your graphic to get your point across.
  4. Use it to posts icebreaker questions that relate (or don’t relate) to your next lesson topic: Use comments below your question during your teaching time to provide personal illustrations.

What would you add to this list? Use the comment section below or on our Sunday School Leader Facebook page to posts your additional tips and ideas.

_______________

Jason McNair is the Strengthening Churches Missionary for Utah Idaho Southern Baptist Convention. He also coordinates most of the social media promotion for this blog, sundayschoolleader.com.

 

Is Social Media Useful for Reaching People in Your Group?

facebookWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? We all want connection.  People inside and outside your group use Social Media every day, trying to find connection with one another.  That is why it is a multibillion dollar industry.  We all want to connect people together and to information we find important.

In fact, you are probably reading this blog article because some form of social media directed you here.  You were sent an email, saw a tweet, or read a post and you clicked it hoping to find a potential solution to a challenge you are experiencing in your group ministry leadership right now.

WHAT DO I DO? Social Media is just what it says it is. Media is information or data. It is anything we speak, hear, do, see, share, or experience that passes along information.  Social is simply the way that media travels, relationally from person to person.  Isn’t that what we are about in our groups ministries: Connecting Socially to share the most important Media known to man, the gospel of Jesus Christ, with those who need to hear it?

Here are a few ways you can use Social Media to reach people in your group:

  • Start closed Facebook groups for all the classes and groups in your church.
  • Use your posting and sharing as a source of encouragement by avoiding negativity on your feed.
  • Share articles and blogs that encourage your group members to think through topics discussed in your group.
  • Be open to ideas that may seem contradictory to your way of thinking, and be prepared to civilly discuss these concerns with compassion and reverence (1 Peter 3:15)
  • Use your social pages and groups to promote community events where group members can connect beyond the group time.
  • Practice typing your Christian testimony in 140 characters or less.

For more information on this topic with additional links to resources, visit:
http://www.smallgroups.com/articles/2015/4-ways-you-can-use-social-media-for-good.html

Stage 3: Draft Day

Develop1I do not remember the (military) draft.  I was too young.  As David Francis points out in his book, Countdown, he was one of the last of a generation who understood what it meant to be “Drafted” into service.  To my generation, being drafted meant you were going to play a professional sport for a team you did not apply for, but you did the training and preparation to get you to a point where some team wanted you and you made yourself available for them to stake a claim on your services by drafting you on their team.

In Flake’s formula, the third part of the process is to “Enlist and Train Leaders”.  In David and Rick’s reimagining of that formula into 5 “D” stages, they are calling this stage “Develop”.  As existing leaders in Small Groups and Sunday Schools, it is our responsibility to be seeking people to pour into and develop as leaders from among those members of our groups.  We are the best recruiters because we spend the most time with them.  As we lead, we need to be intentional about providing leadership opportunities within our group and resist the temptation to do all the leading ourselves.

In my role on the State Missionary staff, I frequently have to miss leading my Sunday School class on Sunday mornings.  If I did nothing to develop leaders from within my class, there would be no one to fill my teaching role when I go on the road to preach at a different church within my state.  I have to be intentional to develop leaders from within my organization.

When the time comes to launch a new class, there already is a “draft pool” of potential workers that have been intentionally trained and enlisted to take on trial leadership responsibility and given the opportunities to have hands on experience leading a class or group within the safety of their own peers.  These group leaders are developed in the context of existing small groups to be drafted into leadership of new Sunday School and Small Group units.

This system of developing and drafting new leaders works, but church leaders have to be intentional about putting it into practice and provide training opportunities for these future leaders on an ongoing basis.  Look for ways to incorporate leadership development within the context of your Sunday School and Small Group organization.  It will make a world of difference. Here are some ways you can develop leaders:

  • Subscribe to Sunday School and Small Group Leader blogs (like this one)
  • Encourage outside reading by class members and suggest books that develop leadership skills
  • Visit com and seek training videos on leadership you can share with members
  • Begin a Facebook Group for potential leaders and frequently share tips and articles you find interesting related to leadership development.
  • Meet regularly during the week with members who show leadership potential over a meal or coffee breaks.

_______________

Jason McNair (@jason_mcnair) is the State Missionary for Strengthening Churches with the Utah Idaho Southern Baptist Convention.  When he is not handing leadership over to one of his classmates, he leads a Median Adult Sunday School class at First Baptist Church of West Valley City, UT.