I’ve forgotten where I heard it first, but I’ve found it to be true: people want to belong before they believe. Lost people want to be a part of a group and have Christian friends, before they accept Jesus.
Ryan was the cable guy who installed my cable TV. I discovered that his wife was in our church. We developed a friendship. He got involved in a young adult class. Sitting at our kitchen table after dinner one night he prayed to receive Christ. He felt like he belonged, then he believed.
Ryan’s brother was Erik. He helped our men with work days at the church. As he worked, he made friends. One of the guys in that young adult class became his friend and led him to Christ. Erik felt like he belonged before he believed.
Missional Sunday School leaders understand that there are two conversions, to community and to Christ. They
seek to include lost persons in their classes. Lost persons cannot belong to the church, but they can and should belong to a Sunday School class. We know that when a lost person gets involved (enrolled) in a Sunday School class, he or she is more likely to accept Jesus. People want to belong before they believe.
- Let them know you want them to belong. Invite them to sign up (enroll) in your class.
- Accept them. Don’t expect lost people to act like believers. Acceptance doesn’t mean approval of all they do.
- Don’t embarrass them. They won’t know where everything is in the Bible or all the Bible stories. They won’t want to pray out loud. Don’t put them on the spot.
- Provide opportunities for people to serve. Serving together help people feel like they belong.
- Lead relevant Bible study. When we help people discover that the Bible addresses real issues in their lives, they will be more open to its message about Jesus.
- Be a friend. Spend time with them away from church. Care for them in time of need. When people have friends they feel like they belong.
Who do you need to invite to join your class? What can you do to help him or her feel like they belong?