Most leaders don’t intentionally ignore inactive members of our group/class, lack focus on people who are not a part of our group or don’t pay attention to the life needs of the regular members of our class, but sometimes we do.
Inactive Members – Some people join our group or class and fail for whatever reason to connect with the rest of the members. Some people might even get mad at someone in the group and just quit coming. Others might simply miss a few weeks and just decide it’s easier to stay home than take the time to go to Sunday School or Small Group. Regardless of the reason, God has still place these people in our ministry field and thus in our sphere of influence.
Non Members – You do realize that there are people in your church and outside of your church that are potential future members, right? We don’t mean to forget about them but sometimes we get so busy doing other things that we “get out of the habit” of paying attention to those who aren’t part of us yet. After a while, we just get comfortable and stop worrying about it all together. Besides, they know where our church is. If they want to be a part, they can just show up.
Regular Members – These are the people that show up. Most of the time, these are the people who participate in Bible study, activities, fellowships, ministry projects, etc. But what if there were some serious issues in their lives like a marriage falling apart, addictions, depression, anger, lost a job or more. Often times, in the midst of our business we miss the subtle clues that somethings not quite right at home.
All of these things have one thing in common—It’s people. God has called us as leaders to lead a ministry with, through and to PEOPLE. We need to stop focusing so much on what has to be done and start focusing more on those people. Here are a few suggestions:
- Inactive Members – Chances are that an inactive member will most likely not come back to your class. Instead focus on ministering to them through prayer and regular contact just to let them know you still care. Who knows, maybe they might come back.
- Non Members – Most Sunday School classes and Small Groups don’t have a prospect list. Why not start one. Every week just ask, who do you know that might be a potential member of our class? Put their name on your list and pray for them every week. Who knows, they might just come if you invite them.
- Regular Members – Take time to get to know each other. Don’t worry about finishing every bible study lesson. Take the time to share with one another in groups of 2 or 3 people. Plan fellowships that allow time for people to share personal prayer needs in really small groups so they don’t have to share such personal needs in front of the whole group. Who know, you might just prevent a divorce, help a person through addiction, depression or anger or help someone find a new job.
Sunday School and Small Groups are about people. Let’s make them our primary focus.
Sean Keith is the Sunday School/Discipleship Strategist for the Louisiana Baptist Convention