Archive for Leadership

Personal Development through Visiting a Different Sunday School Class

adssclassWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? One of the interesting parts of serving on a state convention staff is the opportunity to visit many churches during the year. Seeing what others provides new ideas, sharpens evaluation skills, encourages critical thinking development, and reminds what it is like to be a guest. Visiting a Sunday School class other than your own can be a great way to improve.

Everyone can benefit from a fresh perspective. Visiting a different class can help leaders break out of their routine and be encouraged to try something new.


  • Pick a date…Try to visit a class during a “normal” Sunday (not a holiday weekend or special emphasis day). The idea is to see what happens in the group during a typical gathering.
  • Have a plan…Create a checklist of what you want to pay attention to, such as how the class begins, how they handle praying together, how members participate in the lesson time, and other items of interest to you.
  • Note the time…Keep a log of how time is spent in class: what time did they actually begin? How much time is spent on the teaching time? How much time spent for prayer or other activities?
  • Reflect…Take some time to think back through your experience. What were some positive takeaways? What were some noticeable critiques? What can you learn about your own class?
  • Resolve to try one new approach in your own class the next week!


Daniel Edmonds is the Sunday School missionary for the Alabama State Board of Missions

3 Ways to Celebrate New Leaders

celebrationWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Paul instructed Timothy to take what he had learned from Paul and pass it on to others who would do likewise. Leaders are needed to raise up laborers and become leaders to raise up others. When you cease to raise up leaders, you are only a generation away from extinction. Celebration encourages existing and new leaders.


Inside the Group. Every leader in every group should be challenged to have an apprentice. They should disciple the apprentice to develop spiritually and to develop the skills necessary for ministry. They should give the apprentice opportunities to serve in their presence and should celebrate the day they are ready to step out on their own. When Jesus (Luke 9 and 10) experienced His disciples making disciples He rejoiced in the Spirit and praised the Father (10:21). When leaders raise up leaders in your group, celebrate!

Before other Groups. Many churches have a recognition service or an appreciation banquet for leaders. Celebrate new leaders and the individual(s) that mentored them during this event. If you wanting to quit begging for leaders, start celebrating when leaders multiply! Calendar an appreciation event this year!

Before the Church. Affirm and recognize new leaders in front of your congregation. You want others to get to know new leaders, and you want to inspire members to become leaders. Celebrate the new leader by having the mentor stand with them. This is a reminder for all leaders to develop an apprentice into a new leader.

Scheduling Makes Class Time More Effective

scheduleWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? I’ve been accused of calendaring everything, even my own funeral!  There is a story but way too long for this short blog.  Even in our Sunday School classes we need to be better organized with the limited time that we have on Sunday mornings.  The following is a schedule that I like to use and recommend to other Sunday School teachers and leaders.  Please note that this is for an adult class and will not work in a class for preschoolers or elementary age children.


Fellowshipping Together (5-10 minutes)

  1. The FELLOWSHIP LEADER will provide light refreshments.
  2. The SECRETARY will begin the record keeping process.
  3. The ADMINISTRATIVE LEADER will make announcements and serve as the timekeeper.

Evangelizing Others (5-10 minutes)

  1. The GREETER is welcoming everyone and assisting guests to be registered.
  2. The MISSIONS LEADER will lead the group to be involved in missions.
  3. The OUTREACH/EVANGELISM LEADER will lead the group to pray for the lost, be involved in outreach ministry and contact those on the prospect list.

Loving People (5-10 minutes)

  1. The CARE GROUP LEADERS will report on prayer needs and ministry opportunities discovered as well as identify those absent and make plans for follow-up.
  2. The PRAYER LEADER will lead the group to pray for specific needs and ask for other prayer needs.

Investigating God’s Word (30-45 minutes)

  1. The DISCIPLESHIP LEADER will remind the group of the importance of a personal worship time and distribute devotional guides.

The TEACHER or the APPRENTICE will lead the will lead the Bible study.  Bible study should have at least 30 minutes.



By: Dr. Smith serves as a state missionary with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board and is the Groups and Faith Development Specialist.  Visit their website at for more information and other resources to aid your ministry.  You can also connect with Dr. Smith at or  Dr. Smith is available for conferences or other speaking opportunities and can be contacted at

3 Steps to Determine Needs


The Bible has numerous “one another passages” which include “love one another” and “be kind to one another,” and the Bible admonishes us to be of the same mind (mind of Christ). In order to love one another, we need to know one another, so we can be kind and respectful of one another.

In a group Bible Study, you are not teaching a lesson rather you are teaching people. Therefore, a wise leader gets to know the needs of the people so as to minister them to and teach them the Bible. Also, through a better knowledge of the people you will be able to match their gifts and abilities to needs in and beyond the group. Keep in mind that your group is attached to a larger group (the church) and should be responsive to all needs.


  • Interview Leaders

Your group will be healthier when it is connected to the larger group. You are not trying to create community apart from the church, but to better serve the church. Interview leaders to determine the needs and goals of the church. Discuss how your group can be a part of meeting these needs and working toward the goals.

  • Involve the Group

Your group members may have several unmet needs as well. They may desire greater fellowship, more involvement in missions, or more effective ministry. Too many times leaders develop tunnel vision (I’m here to teach) and fail to focus on group health. Teachers do need to discern how to “speak the truth in love,” but Ephesians 4 reminds leaders that this is done to strengthen the body so it “grows and builds itself up in love.” Growth comes from knowledge and application.

  • Invest in Members

Sometimes individuals will not share in a group those things that are personal. Occasionally a members leaves the group because the basic needs of belonging or serving were not met. Leaders must invest time in getting to know group members on a personal level. It is important to know where they are on their spiritual journey and in their personal life. Not all needs can be met, but they should have a true experience of “one another” living.

When needs are discovered on all levels, then the leader can guide the group toward goal setting.

3 Ways to Commission New Groups


The Great Commission calls for us to make disciples. From Jesus’ follow me example, we know relationships are a key factor in disciple-making and that relationships are built in small groups. So why is it important to commission new groups? If we are going to follow the model of our Master, we will commission leaders and groups to create new groups of disciples.


  • Come and See Groups

One way to create new groups is to commission group members to start a group in their home. The focus of the group would be to invite neighbors to ‘come and see’ or come and explore the claims of Christ. In Acts 2, the church went from house to house “breaking bread,” “praising God,” and “enjoying the favor of all the people.” In recent days, churches have experienced revival through evangelistic home groups that connect people to Christ and to His church. Some churches have commissioned or challenged class members to start a Backyard Kids Club to reach families. Don’t miss the opportunity to challenge your group to be on mission by commissioning groups in their communities.

  • Follow Me Groups

Groups should be aware of people who have never attended a group or have dropped out of church or groups because of some type of ‘disconnect’ from others. Some leaders create a ‘paper class or group’ from a list of church members and community members who are not in a group. Many of these people need someone to invite them to “follow me.” There a numerous people not in groups because they attended and did not find anyone who tried to intentionally connect with them. Help your group members discover people who would follow them into a new group.

  • Be Fruitful and Multiply Groups

Every group should be challenged to develop new leaders in order to commission a new group every 12 – 24 months. The Great Commission is a reminder of the first words God said to mankind, “be fruitful and multiply.” Disciples have been recreated by Christ in the image of the Creator who expects them to be fruitful and multiply. Groups should create new groups. When you launch a new group, do so with the commission to be “fruitful (grow in faithful obedience) and multiply (grow in number).”

Each time one of these groups are launched, conduct a commissioning service to celebrate!