Archive for Prayer

Emphasize Reaching People with Your Group

reachingWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? The first book that I ever read about Sunday School was Basic Sunday School Work.  The author wrote about the Six Tasks of Sunday School.  Task number one was to reach people for Bible study.  That’s right: Reaching People for Bible Study was the first task.  Teach People the Bible was the second task. Many churches are plateaued and declining because the classes and groups are ignoring the first task of Sunday School.  We must get outreach and evangelism back into Sunday School.

WHAT DO I DO? Here are three practical ideas to emphasize reaching people with your group:

Challenge your members to…

  1. Pray for three lost People
  2. Learn a Gospel Presentation
  3. Invite five unchurched People to the group
  4. Share the Gospel at least one time each month

Challenge your group to…

  1. Enroll three New Members this year
  2. Conduct regular fellowships (invite every member and every prospect)
  3. Plan two Missions Activities in the Community
  4. Sponsor an Evangelistic Bible Study in the Community where lost people live and work
  5. Adopt a People Group
  6. Adopt a Harvest Field in your community, such as a school, subdivision, factory.

Conduct an Evangelistic Activity every time the group meets, such as:

  1. Have a member share their story
  2. Pray for lost people (have an evangelistic prayer list)
  3. Plan an outreach event
  4. Teach the Gospel
  5. Practice a Gospel presentation
  6. Memorize an evangelistic verse
  7. Model sharing the Gospel

Just in case you are curious.  The other tasks were witness to persons about Christ and lead them into church membership, minister to persons in need, lead members to worship, and interpret and undergird the work of the church and the denomination.

Using a Class Newsletter

newsletterWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? The list of ways to communicate are numerous.  The 21st Century has supplied us with numerous ways to communicate valuable  information to our group.  This information in many cases is quite important to our groups and also holds the key to make sure that people are taken care of through prayer & ministry.

This information communicated helps members know how they can minister and what they can do in their group to help others. This gives people in the group “buy-in” so they feel a part of the group and not just attend. Typically there are events or a “What is Going On” section.  You want to make sure the class stays active.

“WHAT DO I DO?” One of the easiest ways to start communicating and maybe the oldest is a Class or Group Newsletter.  A newsletter!!! Yes, people still use them and the are quite effective.

Newsletters can be mailed, handed out in class, or sent as a simple “E-Newsletter.”  You should include contact information for people to get in touch with leaders.

A group mission project should be at the forefront of most any Newsletter.  Prayer needs & some sort of upcoming events section always proves to be a good beginning.

People want to know that the group is “valuable” enough for them to be a part of it.  Add value to your group, start a newsletter and start communicating!

3 Ways to Deploy Group Members in Ministry

care4otherWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? The writer of Hebrews (10:24-25) reminds us that we gather to “spur one another on towards love” and to “encourage one another.” Jesus says that His disciples are recognized by their love of one another (John 13:35). If your group does not minister effectively to one another and show love one to another, then it will quickly fall apart.

WHAT DO I DO?

  1. Inside the Group. Each group should set up smaller groups within the group for prayer and ministry. The smaller the sub group (3-5) the better. These groups can be informal, put together on the spot, or formal, an ongoing group. They should meet for approximately 10 minutes to share prayer needs and pray. The smaller group will make this a more intimate time and curtail needless travelogue in prayer requests. If you form groups on the spot, you will be able to better include and get to know guests. As the teacher/leader you may want the guests in your group.
  2. Through the Group. Each Group should have a Care or Ministry Leader(s) who presents the ministry opportunities discovered through prayer groups and contacts. This should not be a lengthy recital of prayer needs, but a presentation of ministry opportunities and making assignments. It should include assigning individuals to contact a group member who is absent and organizing the group to take appropriate ministry actions for group members who are hurting (sick, unemployed, hospitalized, etc.).
  3. Beyond the Group. Encourage group members to become aware of ministry opportunities to unreached people in their relational networks. Organize members, as appropriate, to perform acts of kindness to spread Christ’s love beyond the group. Share stories of ministry that takes place and makes positive impact.

Many groups already have a system of Care Ministry and Prayer Ministry. This is commendable! However, many groups spend more time in prayer requests rather than in prayer and in discussing ministry needs rather than assigning ministry action. If this is the case for you, it may be time to recalibrate your groups and refocus them on ‘why’ they should minister to the group.

3 Ways to Challenge Members to Develop Spiritual Disciplines

by Jeff Musgrave

prayerhandsWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Paul reminded Timothy to “train for godliness” because it has value in every way. Training requires discipline, however, discipline isn’t a pleasant word for most of us. The Christian life demands that we be disciplined if we want to grow.

WHAT DO I DO? Here are some tips to get started:

  1. Start small. The easiest way to get overwhelmed is to try and do too much at once. Pick one spiritual discipline and work on that first. Make time for a daily devotion or prayer time perhaps.
  2. Be accountable. Just as most people do better at physical training when they have a trainer to help keep them on task and going, a spiritual trainer can help keep us stay disciplined in our spiritual activity.
  3. Track your growth. Consider keeping a journal or record of your activity with spiritual disciplines and recording what God is doing in your life through them. Keep a prayer journal with prayers you have prayed and answers God has given for instance.

Most of all, don’t give up. If you fail, start again. Spiritual disciplines aren’t easy, but they are worth the effort.

Praying for the Lost in your Sunday School Class

prayerMost classes each Sunday take time to share prayer requests.   Many of these are organ recitals: i.e.  “Pray for my Kidneys, pray for my liver, pray for my cousin’s heart, pray for my sister’s cousin who is having a hip replacement, etc.”.

I often think we pray harder to keep people out of heaven than to pray for the lost to get them into heaven.

One youth minister had the audacity to have his youth write the names of lost people they wanted to see be saved on the white board and start praying for them by name each week.    One Friday night, the father of one youth came to his son’s fifth-quarter youth activity after the local football game.   He was very persistent that he had to talk to the youth minister right then.  He had been restless and troubled for two weeks and had to get some answers.

As they went off to one of the youth classrooms, they sat down and the father asked why his name was written on the white board.   The youth minister said that for the last three weeks, the students in his son’s class had been praying for the father by name that he might come to know Jesus.

The man exploded. “That explains it.   I have not been able to sleep or concentrate on anything the last couple of weeks.”   In that room that night, the man gave his heart to Jesus.   Prayer changes things.   We are in a spiritual battle over the souls of men.

_______________

Dr. Mark Yoakum, Director of Church Ministries, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention