The line “We have never done it that way before”, still brings some challenges to some folks in many of our churches. But, when considering possibilities for new groups, we must be willing to get out of our comfort zones. We may even need to break with some of our existing traditions that hold us back from new ideas.
I heard a statement that still rings in my ears concerning issues that hold us back:
“Tradition is the living faith of the dead…traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.”
When two out of three people in our nation are not involved in Bible study, it is time to look at options to reach them.
What should we consider?
- When should we meet? Forty percent of individuals age 18-40 cannot (or will not) come to Bible Study on Sunday. Are we willing to change? We can offer options Sunday morning, night or weekdays
- Where should we meet? Many others do not feel wanted or accepted come to “church”. The number one complaint, valid or not, is still “The Church if full of hypocrites”. But they would come to a home for a family gathering. Let’s be willing to consider possibilities.
- What should we study? People are looking for answers to issues they face every day. Studies on family, finances, and future challenges are still hot topics that attract all ages. Those could be introductory studies that lead to strong inductive Bible study. Let’s meet the needs of those in our communities.
- Where can we find leaders? Seventy-five plus percent of our people are sitting in our present classes and pews not being utilized and waiting to be asked. Consider some of the suggestions by our writers for enlisting and equipping workers. Enlist to specific responsibilities with specific equipping for the specific task. God will provide the right leaders. He has always done that for His people.
- Who will be the target audience? Look at your congregation and look at the community. How do they match up? Far too many of our churches do not reflect the community around them. Look at groups of people not being reached. Look at friends not involved in small group Bible study. They are ready to be asked.
The late Andy Anderson, founder of the Growth Spiral strategy, was an amazing individual when looking at options for reaching people. His statement still resonates. “We must consider asking anyone we can, anywhere we can, anytime we can, any way we can, every time we can if they would like to be a part of a small group Bible study. Many will say yes, and they will bring their friends.” That is still a great practice.
Prayerfully accept the challenge. Be willing to step out of the traditional mold. Offer options.