This is day 16 of 31 Days of Missionary Sunday School.
A Missional Sunday School becomes an “expert” on the people group God has called him or her to reach, teach, and care for. Whether it is senior adults or preschoolers, how do you get to know your people group?
Learn About Your People Group:
You will want to learn all you can about the developmental and life stage issues of your people group. Learn about your people group by reading all you can about them. The following are free downloads (there are other resources online as well):
- Understanding Today’s Preschoolers (Morlee Maynard and Jerry Aldridge) –http://www.lifeway.com/lwc/files/lwcF_CM_-_Understanding_Today’s_Preschoolers.pdf
- Understanding Today’s Children (Jerry Aldridge) – http://l.b5z.net/i/u/6076166/f/Education%20Ministry/Understanding_Todays_Children.pdf
- Introducing the 21st Century Teenager (Allen Jackson and Dwayne Ulmer) – http://ymnetwork.blogspot.com/2011/04/free-online-book-introducing-21st.html
- Understanding Today’s Young Adults: 18-24 Years (Morlee Maynard, compiler) – http://l.b5z.net/i/u/6076166/f/Education%20Ministry/understanding_young_adults.pdf
- Understanding Today’s Adults: 25 Years and Older (Jim Walter) – http://www.lifeway.com/lwc/files/lwcF_Ad_Understanding_Adults.pdf
Spend Time with Your People Group:
Book knowledge is good, but it’s incomplete without experience. You learn about people when you spend time with them. You learn about your people group in general and you learn about the specific group of people to whom you are ministering. This means more than spending time with them at church on Sunday morning. When you spend time with people at work and at play, in good times and in bad times, you begin to understand more and more who they are, what they like, and what they need to become more like Jesus. David Francis points out that your people group comes from a specific “geographical and socio-economic context.” You discover what that is by spending time with them. Also pay attention to what’s of interest to your people group. Watch what they watch on TV. Listen to the music they listen to. Their experiences are shaping their lives; know what they are experiencing.
Teachers tend to talk. Learn to listen. As you teach, listen. As you spend time with people away from class, listen. As you listen, you may be surprised how much you learn about the dreams, desires, and needs of your people group. Listen to preschoolers and you’ll find out more about their families than you may want to know. Listen to teenagers without acting shocked and you’ll find out what is really happening in their lives.
Spend time with your people group and listen to what they are saying. Find out how they think. Watch what’s of interest to them. Understand how they view the world. Listening gives you insight into your people group and opens doors to teach more effectively.
How about you? What people group has God called you to reach and teach? What can you do to get to know your people group better?
Bob Wood is a State Missionary with the Baptist State Convention of Michigan, assisting churches to become more intentional and effective in making disciples