Archive for Be a Catalyst Start New Groups

Show Them the Apprentice, Part 3

WHERE CAN I FIND SPONSORS FOR MULTIPLYING GROUPS? A sponsor is someone who will pray for, invite to, and fellowship with a new group. The pastor, educational staff, Sunday School/small groups director, and other leaders may be sponsors. Sponsors can also be individuals, Bible study groups, and the congregation as a whole. Finding one or more groups to pray, invite, and fellowship can greatly strengthen the new group launch.

Pray. Inviting people to pray for the new group prepares hearts and minds for the new group. Prayer sensitizes eyes and ears to others. We are more likely to be able to see God at work around them and to hear what God wants them to do when we are praying. Ask people to pray for leaders, people who will be reached, and lives that will be changed.

Invite. A month prior to the launch of a new group, ask other groups and the congregation to invite people within the target of the group that will be launched. Provide printed invitations. Mail invitations to all recent worship guests who are in the target range of the group. Set up a registration table. Share a testimony by the new group leader. Invite multiple times and ways.

Fellowship. Prior to and following the group launch, plan times of fun and ministry for the new group. Invite potential members to participate. Work to connect with guests and get contact information for follow up. Other Bible study groups may want to sponsor these fellowship times initially to encourage the new group.

Gathering a team of sponsors is also a way of multiplying leaders. It creates a culture of new group expectation and support.

HOW CAN I BUILD MULTIPLICATION INTO MY GROUP? There are several things you can do to instill multiplication into the DNA of a group. Consider the following ideas:

Talk about it. Talk about passing on faith to children, your community, and our world. Make it natural. Remind the group regularly about the need for more groups and more shepherds in order to reach and care for more sheep. Talk about it during regular and special group gatherings.

Don’t do it alone. Enlist people to help. Give tasks and ministry away. Enlist leaders to carry out group roles and functions. Apprentice, release, and continue to coach.

Expect every group leader to multiply. Regularly ask who your group leaders are praying for and enlisting as their apprentice(s).

Gather your team. Gathering your leadership team can (1) identify insights into potential apprentices, (2) prevent multiple leaders from focusing on the same potential apprentice, and (3) reinforce multiplication steps.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT STEP? Without focusing on others, group members will tend to keep Jesus to themselves. Without additional leaders, the group leader will tend to focus only on teaching and neglect the reaching and caring aspects of group life. Without apprentices, new groups will not be started when needed or with confident prepared leaders. Finally, an apprentice is a concrete reminder for the group that there is more work to do and more people to reach. Show them the apprentice!

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Darryl Wilson serves as the Sunday School & Discipleship Consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention. He served as Minister of Education in five churches in Kentucky and South Carolina. He is the author of The Sunday School Revolutionary!, a blog about life-changing Sunday School and small groups. This series is a part of Be A Catalyst: Start New Groups, available on your Kindle for 99 cents.

Show Them the Apprentice, Part 2

WHAT APPRENTICING CURRICULUM SHOULD I USE? The teaching plan for training your apprentice starts with your life and group leadership practices. Invite your apprentice to join you in both. Investing in an apprentice will appropriately begin with a time of getting acquainted. Then it is important to assess what the apprentice’s knowledge, experience, and need may be. Prayer together is essential!

Beyond introduction and evaluation, asking many questions will help greatly. Addressing basics is important. Encourage quiet time practices. Demonstrate yours. Help him or her develop the ability to evaluate priorities. Other issues that will need to be addressed are lesson preparation, teaching, fellowship planning, making contacts and visits, organizing the group ministry, and mobilizing people into service. Affirm progress. And don’t forget to spend time focusing on multiplying the new leader!

Hand off responsibility in increasing amounts. Follow this pattern of progression:

  • I do, you watch.
  • I do, you help.
  • You do, I help.
  • You do, I watch.
  • You do, someone else watches.

Debriefing after each assignment reinforces the learning and allows for adjustments along the way.

In your weekly interaction, consider reading and discussing helpful Sunday School books and articles, like the following books by David Francis:

  • The 3D Sunday School: A Three Dimensional Strategy (focus on inviting, discovering, and connecting)
  • I-6 Invite: A Six-Lane Strategy Toward an Inviting Sunday School (focus on inviting)
  • The Discover Triad: Three Facets of a Dynamic Sunday School Class (focus on discovering, teaching, and learning)
  • Connect3: The Power of One Sunday School Class (focus on connecting)

Note: These resources are available as free downloads from lifeway.com/davidfrancis.

Avoid focusing only on one aspect, such as teaching. Keep your apprenticing balanced. This will keep both of you effective.

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Darryl Wilson serves as the Sunday School & Discipleship Consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention. He served as Minister of Education in five churches in Kentucky and South Carolina. He is the author of The Sunday School Revolutionary!, a blog about life-changing Sunday School and small groups. This series is a part of Be A Catalyst: Start New Groups, available on your Kindle for 99 cents.

Show Them the Apprentice, Part 1

When I finished a training event in a church for teachers and leaders of adult groups, one of the teachers told me he finally figured out why his group did not believe him when he said they were going to start another group. He said it was because he had not shown them an apprentice.

They will believe you when they see you enlisting and training an apprentice!

WHY IS LEADER MULTIPLICATION ESSENTIAL? Jesus gave us the mission of multiplication when He commanded us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). This is bigger than we can accomplish alone. Jesus recognized this when he said that the harvest is abundant but the workers are few (Matthew 9:37).

Paul understood the mission when he instructed Timothy, a young pastor, to commit to faithful men the things Paul had taught him so that those men would teach others also (see 2 Timothy 2:2). Three generations of multiplication were involved in Paul’s directions. It is not just a matter of multiplying ourselves. Rather it is about multiplying ourselves into others who will multiply themselves.

The fact is that one shepherd can only lead so many sheep (John 10:12-13). More shepherds are required to reach and care for more sheep. Rick Warren quoted a Gallup survey which indicated that churches might have five times as many leaders serving if potential leaders were asked or trained. The lack of additional shepherds is the number one reason more new groups are not started today.

HOW DO I ENLIST AND TRAIN MULTIPLYING LEADERS? Jesus taught and modeled ministry (Mark 1:14-15) and prayed (Luke 6:12) before He called the twelve apostles (sent ones). After Jesus called them (Mark 3:13), He prepared them by continuing to teach and model ministry with them before sending them out. They were sent out in pairs (Mark 6:7) to do what He had been doing. Then He called them together for a report time (Mark 6:30).

Since people have varying abilities and previous experiences, multiplying leaders will usually require between six and twelve months. Consider these apprenticing steps:

  • Pray. Ask for God’s leadership in discovering those He wants you to apprentice.
  • Observe. Spend time watching what God is doing in the lives of those in (and around) your group.
  • Take them with you. Invite potential leaders to join you for life and group activities. Go to a ball game together. Make a visit. Have a meal. Plan a fellowship. Give them growing assignments.
  • Debrief what they did. Ask questions. Listen. Affirm strengths and gifts. Offer suggestions for the future.
  • Ask them to serve. Following God’s leadership in prayer and observation, formalize your apprenticing efforts by asking them to join you in ministry. This will heighten their attention to your training efforts from that point for-ward.
  • Increase the training pace. In anticipation of releasing the multiplying leader to serve, give an increasing number and mix of opportunities for leadership expression. For instance, move from one teaching Sunday to teaching every other Sunday prior to releasing them to serve.
  • Set a launch date. After prayer and observation, determine a date to start the new group. Communicate the date with the apprentice and with the group. Hesitate to send the apprentice out alone. Remember, Jesus sent them out in pairs. If you are leaving the current group in the apprentice’s hands so you can leave to start a new group, let the group know what you are doing and express confidence in the apprentice as he or she takes over the group’s leadership.
  • Celebrate the launch. Remember to praise God and affirm those who have helped launch the new group. Celebrate with sponsoring groups, the new group, and in the congregation.
  • Lead them to choose an apprentice. Help your apprentice become a multiplying leader by leading him/her to prayerfully enlist and begin investing in an apprentice.
  • Continue to coach. Following the launch of the new group, continue to encourage the new group leader. Coach him/her through challenges toward fruitfulness.

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Darryl Wilson serves as the Sunday School & Discipleship Consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention. He served as Minister of Education in five churches in Kentucky and South Carolina. He is the author of The Sunday School Revolutionary!, a blog about life-changing Sunday School and small groups. This series is a part of Be A Catalyst: Start New Groups, available on your Kindle for 99 cents.