Archive for Assimilation

12 Monthly Fellowship Ideas

kiteWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Josh Hunt wrote in How to Double Your Class in Two Years or Less: “Invite every member and every prospect to a fellowship every month.”  Relationships are the key to growth!

WHAT DO I DO? Organize your group by enlisting a Fellowship or Member Care Leader that is responsible for providing opportunities for the group to build a sense of community.  Here are 12 Monthly Fellowship Ideas Starters that my groups have done:

  • January: Dinner and a Movie
  • February: Super Bowl Party
  • March: Go Fly a Kite
  • April:  Class Picnic
  • May:  Campout
  • June: Baseball Game
  • July: Fireworks and Homemade Ice Cream
  • August: Luau
  • September:  Class Meeting
  • October: Conduct a Ministry Project
  • November: Game Night
  • December:  Christmas Party

Have Fun!   Remember to invite every member and every prospect to a fellowship every month.

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

3 Best Practices to Ensure a Welcoming Climate

churchgreeterWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Remember this story: “Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.”

First Impressions are lasting impressions.  Most groups think they are friendly.  I have literally attended Sunday School classes where no one talked to me or my wife.  I am sure they thought that somebody would do it, but nobody did it and we didn’t go back.

WHAT DO I DO?  If you want to make a ensure that your group has a welcoming climate, implement these three best practices:

  1. Enlist somebody to do it.  That somebody could be the teacher.  Ideally teachers should arrive early and be ready to greet the guests.  That somebody could be the Outreach Leader.  Since they will want to follow up, the outreach leader could serve as primary greeter for the group.  That somebody could be a “Hidden” Greeter.  Somebody needs see a new person on Sunday morning, initiates a conversation and makes sure that the guests and members are welcomed and have a great experience. Don’t assume that everybody will be friendly, enlist somebody.
  2. Encourage your group to smile and show their teeth.  Life is hard.  Greet everyone with a smile, call everyone by name (consider wearing nametags) and let everyone know that they are loved.
  3. Remember the real test of a friendly class comes after the benediction.  Train your people to speak to each other, to care about each other.  Guests are watching.

How’s the welcoming climate in your group?

How Can I Encourage Class Member Faithfulness?

care4familyWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Dr. Thom Rainer and others have reported that one of the largest influences on the drop in average Sunday School attendance is the irregularity of class members. Absence makes disciple-making efforts more challenging. It impacts children and teens by making them believe that following Jesus and church involvement are optional. It can reduce relational connections and make dropping out more likely.

WHAT DO I DO? How can we intentionally encourage member faithfulness? Here are several ideas:

  • follow up every time persons are absent;
  • when they miss, express your genuine care and that they were missed;
  • ask key members to invest in those whose attendance patterns are declining;
  • contact, pray together, and remind them of the next fellowship/project;
  • plan regular class fellowships and ensure absentees get written and phone invitations;
  • plan outreach and ministry projects where participants can get to know one another while meeting needs;
  • give every member a class responsibility;
  • develop prayer partners (maybe regular with absentee) who pray together weekly by phone;
  • communicate how upcoming lessons will help them to live out their Christian lives in the world;
  • explain the benefits of regular attendance for themselves and their children;
  • have an attendance and/or contact contest with another class during a quarter;
  • use lesson icebreakers to help members get to know one another in fresh ways (for affinity discovery); and
  • divide the group during the Bible study into small groups (3-5 persons) for discussion.

Pray. Care. Contact. Listen. Help. Never give up. Never!

Contact Absentees Without Producing Guilt

ListenWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? When a class member is absent for three weeks, absence becomes a habit. Absentees often begin to feel guilty about not attending. Attending members also begin to feel guilty about not reaching out. Caring relationships work to avoid that happening.

WHAT DO I DO? Because you care, reach out immediately after each absence. Make a contact–the more personal the better. In other words, make a visit or a call. Express your care, even if the member has been on vacation. How can we do so without producing guilt? Consider the following:

  • say hello at the door (or by phone)
  • say that you just wanted him/her to know you missed him/her in class
  • remind him/her about upcoming plans for a fellowship or project
  • if there was a previous prayer request, ask for an update (write it down)
  • ask how you can pray for him/her and the family
  • pray together
  • as you part, say that you look forward to being in class together.

If the person has been absent for several weeks, extend the visit for a few extra minutes. Attempt to discover a need the class could meet. Ask the absentee if you can pick them up for the fellowship or project. Talk about recent class activities. Share your Sunday School testimony (see Sunday School Testimony: Powerful Revolutionary Tool for more details). Talk about the current lesson series.

The bottom line is CARE. Contact with care because you do and no one will have guilt!