Archive for Enlistment

5 Ways to Get Your Sunday School Ready for Great Ministry This Fall

Summer is in full swing and many church members are away on vacation, mission trips, and camps. However, now is time to get your Sunday School and Small Group ready for the fall season of ministry. For many churches, August/September is the beginning of a new year of ministry. Here are some thoughts to use the summer wisely to prepare for a great season of ministry this fall, plus create less stress among your church members and leaders.

Here are five suggestions to help you prepare for a great fall for your group:

1. Get some training
Consider partnering with your state convention or local association for training opportunities. Or consider training your leaders at your own church. Also, an excellent tool for local church training is using the online training that may be available through your state convention or LifeWay. Most online training that you will find through your state convention is targeted directly for Sunday School and small group leaders. In Oklahoma, our ReConnect Sunday School website has almost 200 training videos are available.  As group leaders, we should always be improving our own skills as a leader so that we can better lead and minister to our group.

2. Spruce up your room
When you invite someone to your home for dinner, you are likely to do a little extra cleaning than normal. Use the same principle with your church building. So what does your Sunday School room look like? Could it use a fresh coat of paint? How clean are the floors? How about the furniture? What does the sign outside your room look like? And… how much out-of-date curriculum do you have piled up in a corner?

3. Enlist leaders to help you
You probably have a few leadership opportunities that need to be filled, plus some other important spots that need leaders. Begin the enlistment process as early as possible so that people do not feel pressured to take a leadership role at the last minute. Organize your group for ministry, fellowship, and outreach. Enlist someone to greet every person that walks into your room. Enlist one leader for every 5 people on your ministry roll. Delegate these leadership opportunities, because it is not your place to shoulder the all of the responsibilities of your group alone.

4. Start a new group (or two)
New groups provide room for new people. It is called the “Power of 10”, because every new group the church starts increases average attendance by about 10 people. Early fall is a great time to start a new group since many people view the new school year as a chance for a fresh start in a church as well.

5. Re-establish your group’s priorities
According to Hebrews 2:1, it is the natural state of humankind to “drift away”. Also, the longer people drift from the church’s primary mission, the more difficult it becomes to get them focused back on the church’s #1 priority, making disciples. Take the opportunity at every leadership meeting to re-visit the purpose and mission of your church’s small group strategy. A consistent reminder of the purpose of your church’s groups will help prevent mission-drift.

6. Contact everyone that is a member of your group (I know I said five, but this is a bonus idea)
As stated above, people tend to drift away over time. Life gets busy and things happen. But when it comes to church in general, and Sunday School/small group in particular; busy-ness or lifechanges can become personal fast. From my experience, I have discovered that if a group members misses six meetings in a row, it is very difficult to get them to come back to the group. So make an all-out effort this August to contact every member of your group (not just the attendees). The longer the group waits to reach out to absentees, the more difficult and awkward it becomes.

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Bob Mayfield is the Sunday School/Small Group specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Bob also has his own blog at bobmayfield.com.

Twitter – @bobmayfield

Instagram – @rpmayfield or @reconnectss

Pick up the Training Pace after Enlistment

PaceWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? You asked God to send a leader. You began to look around for the leader God sent. You began observing the life of the leader and spending time with the leader doing life and class ministry together. When you were sure the leader was ready, you asked him/her to join you. When the leader said yes, that is a teachable moment. There is openness to learning and being led. Take advantage of the interest!

WHAT DO I DO? Consider the following:

  • pray for and with the leader,
  • write out a list of the major areas of responsibility,
  • share the list with the leader,
  • work through each item on the list (do them),
  • after carrying out each item on the list, ask questions and debrief the experience,
  • make assignments to the leader, asking him/her to enlist someone to help with each,
  • debrief the assignments, who helped, and how he/she did,
  • listen well, be generous in your affirmation, and offer ideas for next time (when there are areas for improvement),
  • increase the frequency of assignments, and
  • encourage taking initiative to carry out the assigned area of responsibility.

EXAMPLE. For each area of responsibility, the above list will look different. For instance, when training an apprentice teacher, you will focus conversation and practice on teaching, reaching, and caring duties. And you might give them one Sunday per month to teach at first but work toward 3-4 weeks per month before sending them out to teach their own class.

Discovering Preschool and Children’s Class Leaders

childBibleReadWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

As a Children’s Ministry Leader, do you find that your best friends start avoiding you and people begin to suddenly duck into classrooms when they see you walking down the hall?  You may be guilty of asking the same people to lead Preschool and Children’s classes year after year.

WHAT DO I DO?

One of the best places to discover new leaders is at VBS.  Look for VBS leaders that plan and prepare, enjoy what they’re doing, and lead great sessions.  Also look at those who serve on a monthly rotation during your Extended Teaching Care or Kids Worship Hours.  There may be someone who would be willing to begin serving on a weekly basis.  Always watch for individuals that have a natural rapport with children and that children are drawn to be around.  You can pair these people with some of your best teachers so that they can be mentored while they serve together.  Make a point to get away from the Children’s Area occasionally so that you can get to know people who aren’t already serving there.  Become acquainted with parents of the children, but also consider grandparents, singles, or married couples who don’t have children.  Always pray that God will guide you to those He is calling to serve in Children’s Ministry.

Begin casting a vision for Children’s Ministry through testimonies, videos, and pictures.  Individuals don’t want to simply fill a time slot, but they are more drawn to make a difference in a child’s life.  Always remember to follow the church’s plan for safety by running background checks and other safety measures when enlisting leaders.

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Jenni Carter is a state missionary specializing in childhood ministries at the Georgia Baptist Convention

Lead Your Apprentice to Pray for and Pursue an Apprentice

LookingFarWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? In many churches, there is a leadership crisis. More leaders are needed to care for members AND to reach out to new people. Added to this, the teacher cannot do all of the work of the class. Leadership multiplication continues when an apprentice pours into another apprentice. Keep in mind the words of Paul: “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” (2 Timothy 2:2, ESV).

WHAT DO I DO? You have prayed, observed, and assigned ministry to your apprentice. You have enlisted the leader to come alongside of you to carry out important work of the class. You have picked up the training pace after enlistment. Now what? Lead him/her to pray and pursue an apprentice!

Before you finish investing in your apprentice, lead the leader to do what you did. Lead the leader to ask God to send a potential leader (Matthew 9:47). Lead him/her to begin observing people in class and beyond the class. Tell him/her to notice when God seems to be directing attention toward an individual. Lead him/her to notice what God is doing in the life of the potential apprentice. And encourage him/her to begin to spend time with that potential leader doing life and class ministry together.

When your apprentice prays for and pursues another apprentice, everything you do with and say to your apprentice becomes more important. Class ministry and Kingdom work are expanded.

3 Ways to Get to Know Potential Leaders

FishingTogetherWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Too many potential leaders run away scared because we enlist them poorly. After praying for leaders, observe potential leaders and then get to know them before enlisting them. Doing so will produce greater likelihood of enlistment success.

WHAT DO I DO? Consider these 3 ways to get to know a potential leader.

  1. Spend time together. Gather away from class. Visit in the leader’s home or yours. Eat a meal. Talk. Get to know each other. Share your vision and hopes for the class. Ask questions. Be interested. Listen.
  2. Do life together. Go to a ball game. Watch a movie. Take a walk, hike, or run. Take a class together. Meet a need. Serve together. Pray together. Read a book and discuss it. Study a Bible book or passage together. Go fishing. Observe. Share. Learn.
  3. Do Sunday School ministry together. As you get to know the leader, begin to ask him/her to help you with class ministry. Ask for help in making a visit. Don’t assign the visit. Go together. Ask for help in planning a fellowship. Don’t assign a task. Do it together. Ask for help in preparing a lesson. Study and talk together.

When you spend time, do life, and Sunday Sunday School ministry TOGETHER, you will discover evidence of potential leaders’ strengths and attributes for joining you as class leaders. This evidence will come in handy when you ask them to join you. Your prayer and observations can give them courage to say yes.