Larry Lablanc is pastor of First Baptist Church of Summit, Mississippi. He and Craig Richardson, Minister of Discipleship have successfully, prayerfully reorganized their ministries to work “everything” through the Sunday School prioritizing evangelism, discipleship, and ministry. They encourage all adult classes to be on the same curriculum with emphasis on those three priorities.
They have a unique approach to their Wednesday night Sunday School/Prayer/Outreach night. Pastor Larry gives a short devotional application of the Sunday School lesson. Then, all the adult classes meet in their groups around tables for prayer needs from their classes and those church-wide needs made available to them. After a time of prayer, some members go make evangelistic visits, some make ministry visits, and still others write prayer notes to member and guests, while others continue in prayer.
You might say this sounds a lot like G.R.O.W. evangelistic outreach. Well, that would be yes and no. Yes, they do what G.R.O.W. teams do the one night each G.R.O.W. team meets. But it would be No as well, because they do this every week, not just one week a month for each team.
Does it work? It works for FBC Summit. It took three years to make it work well. It took enlisting the people God wanted in leadership who are passionately committed to multiplying disciples. The results have been phenomenal. They have grown from just over 300 in attendance to more than 700 in attendance in a county with declining population in southwest Mississippi.
Will this work in any church in any location? This is not a “program”. It is a strategy that works for them. The principles work anywhere. Every pastor and Sunday School leadership team must prayerfully determine how the principles will work in their context and apply the strategy God gives to them.
It is like the Nike commercial. “Just Do It”. Just do as God commands and give Him the glory.
Kiely Young serves as Director of the Sunday School Department for the Mississippi Baptist Convention.