Party!!!! Most people love parties! A proven principle for growing Sunday Schools: Every class should invite every member and every prospect to a fellowship (party) every month. It’s hard to form “relationships” and come into “community” when people sit in rows looking at the back of each other’s heads on Sunday mornings. Ed Stetzer declared , “the church needs to move from rows, to circles, to provoking one another to love and good deeds.” Opportunities for fellowship should be expected to move people from the auditorium, to the classroom, to the dining room, to the community. Fellowships are essential because relationships are important.
The Bible states that the early church practiced fellowship. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayers. HCSB Acts 2:42. Today’s classes and churches should be engaged in fellowshipping with each other and with God. In other words, healthy classes expect and provide opportunities for fellowship.
When I think of party, I think FOOD and FUN! Fellowships normally involve FOOD…Food naturally brings people together. In 2005, Gallup was commissioned to do some research for Group. According to the results, some 77 percent of highly satisfied members have eaten a meal with people in their congregation (who are not members of their family) at some point over the last year. Only 56 percent of somewhat satisfied or dissatisfied members have shared a meal together. FOOD and Fellowship are important. So let’s party.
Adult classes should enlist someone to serve as the Fellowship Coordinator or develop a Fellowship Team. This person or group would be responsible for planning ongoing activities and events that bring people together for fun and fellowship. When planning for fellowships think about this acrostic:
- Purpose (Why: Just for fun or to respond to a need of a person in the class or community)
- Arrangements (What, When, and Where)
- Responsibilities (Who)
- Themes (Some of my favorites: Luau, Christmas, Everything Chocolate, Super Bowl Viewing)
- Y’all Come (Promote)
Fellowship opportunities build a sense of community among the members of the class but they also provide an opportunity for evangelism and outreach. Josh Hunt wrote in You Can Double Your Class in Two Years, “most people who are opposed to the gospel are not opposed to ice cream.” Fellowships provide an informal casual setting in a neutral, non-threatening place to know and be known and to love and be loved. Every class should invite every member and every prospect to a fellowship every month.
Building relationships takes work….Make Fellowships an Important part of your Sunday School class.