Archive for Ten Best Practices

Assimilate People in Your Class

We are called to equip the saints for works of service. In my experience, those who drop out of church tend to stop growing as disciples and quit serving Him! With that said, it is essential to spend time with class members assessing their connections. In order to make more accurate assessment, we need to check out some key areas:

  • CLASS ATTENDANCE. How faithfully do they attend class? If they attend at least three Sundays each month, this is a positive indicator of assimilation. Attendance at two or fewer Sundays each month or a decrease in frequency indicates a need for immediate attention.
  • WORSHIP ATTENDANCE. If worship attendance, like Sunday School, is at least three Sundays each month, this is a positive indicator. If worship attendance is two or few Sundays each month or if lower than Sunday School attendance frequency, this can be a sign of problems that might benefit from care.
  • MINISTRY INVOLVEMENT. One measure of assimilation in the church/class is the person’s involvement in a ministry of the church or class. Attendance without ministry involvement can be an indicator of a lower level of connection.
  • NUMBER OF FRIENDS. In my doctoral research in Louisville area church adult Sunday School classes, persons who had six or more friends in class they could call on in time of need were more likely to be a frequent attender. If they had two or fewer friends in class, they were more likely to be a dropout. Notice relationships.
  • GIVING. I know. I know. There is no way to know what your attenders give. But you can observe them in worship. You can ask them casually and privately. You can talk about stewardship in class. You can look for the signs. In my experience, those who tithe or give above the tithe are likely to be assimilated at a deeper level than those who don’t.
  • CLASS LESSON INVOLVEMENT. Those who sit in class without participating in the lesson tend not to be as connected to the class. It is easier for them to leave and easier for them to leave without being missed/pursued. Work to get everyone involved.
  • FELLOWSHIP/PROJECT INVOLVEMENT. Those who participate in class activities beyond Sunday are often more relationally invested in the group. Make sure to invite absentees and guests to join you in your class fellowships and projects.

Don’t forget the benefits of greeters and name tags. Organize your class

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to invest in care. Take responsibility for the sheep God has entrusted into your care. Don’t allow them to wander out of your sight without your notice. Address indicators of diminishing assimilation immediately. Ask someone in class (class secretary and/or care group leaders) to help you notice these changes. Pray and respond in care!

Build Kingdom Leaders in Your Class

We can’t do it alone. 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 as a young pastor, “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). Three generations of multiplication are involved in this picture. It is not just a matter of multiplying ourselves. Rather it is about multiplying ourselves into others who will multiply themselves.

More leaders are needed. The fact is that one shepherd can only lead so many sheep (John 10:12-13). More shepherds are required in order to reach and care for more sheep. This is absolutely necessary if we are to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). In The Purpose Driven Church, 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 (p. 366). The lack of additional shepherds is the number one reason more new groups are not started today.

How do I discover and enlist a Kingdom leader? The answer to this question is look to our Lord and His example. 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).

Building Kingdom leaders takes time. Since people have varying abilities and previous experiences, enlisting, training, and multiplying leaders will usually require between six and twelve months. Consider these steps:

  1. Prior to asking them to serve, pray, observe, take them with you, make assignments, and debrief assignments.
  2. Ask them to join you in ministry.
  3. After asking them to serve: increase the training pace, lead them to choose and invest in an apprentice, set a launch date, celebrate the launch, and continue to coach after launch. Leading your apprentice to pray for, enlist, and train an apprentice is key!

A simple model for these steps is the following:

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

Your class is the ideal place for praying, enlisting, training, and launching workers for the harvest. The church is counting on your class to build Kingdom leaders. Class leaders often make great teachers, committee members, deacons, and other church leaders. Train them well! Make disciples who make disciples! Build Kingdom leaders!