New people make connections through open groups.  “An open group expects new people every week.”[1]  Are we ready every week for new people?  As I’m writing this, we have a guest in our home.  How we treat house guests can be a model for how we treat Sunday School guests. 

1.    Clean Up the Clutter

When no one else is here, we get used to things lying around.  When a guest is coming, we pick things up and clean things up.  View your classroom like you’re expecting guests; clean up the clutter. 

2.    Have What They Need

We make sure guests have what they need, like clean sheets on the bed and clean towels in the bathroom.  Do you have everything you need for guests, like extra chairs and enough quarterlies? 

3.    Watch for Them to Arrive

When we are expecting guests, we open the front door and watch the driveway.  Who is watching for guests to arrive at your church?  Is there someone in the parking lot, at the church door, and at the door of your classroom?

4.    Welcome Them Warmly

When guests arrive, we give them a hug or a handshake and tell them how good it is to see them.  How do you greet new people in your class?

5.    Pay Attention to Them

When we have guests, we don’t ignore them and go about our regular business.  We spend time with them.  We talk with them.  Do you have a way to make sure that someone pays attention to guests in your class? 

6.    Introduce Them to Others

We introduce our house guest to our other friends.  Does a new person to your class get introduced to all those folks they don’t know?

7.    Give Them a Good Experience

We eat better when we have guests.  We want to make sure they have a good experience.  We try to make sure our guests aren’t bored by finding things for them.  In your class, will a guest be fed with an excellent Bible study?  Will the Bible study experience be interesting and relevant (not boring)?

 Expect, and be prepared for, new people every week.

[1] David Francis, Great Expectations: Planting Seeds for Sunday School Growth, (Nashville: LifeWay Press, 2009), 13.

Bob Wood is the Church Growth Ministries Team Leader, Baptist State Convention of Michigan.  He seeks to help churches build up believers and in doing so build up the body of Christ.