We all love to hear stories about a person enduring a tough season of life, but eventually overcomes the difficulty. Behind almost all of the stories of people who overcome is a parent, friend, teacher, or mentor that never gave up on them. A person that kept on encouraging them through trial and difficulty until they emerged victorious on the other side of the trial. We love stories like this.
I wish our churches and small groups would learn this lesson!
What am I referring to? I’m talking about the people who belong to your Sunday School class or small group. Especially those people who have been inactive for a period of time and are simply removed from belonging to the group! Often it is called cleaning or purging the roll.
What are we really saying when we take that yellow highlighter and draw a line through someone’s name and ask the church office to remove them our roll? We are saying:
- We give up
- This person isn’t worth my time
Hmmmm… that’s just the kind of hopeless situation that God likes to get involved in.
Let’s change our attitude toward the non-attenders on our roll!
Let’s call it what it is. It’s not a “roll”, it’s a ministry list. You could even call it your “redemption list”.
Let’s care enough to call.
Let’s hope enough to minister.
Let’s have faith that God redeems people in hopeless situations.
We need to learn from our competition. The gambling industry doesn’t ever give up. When they get a person’s name and contact information, they pour all sorts of time, energy, and money into luring them to a casino. Ditto the porn industry, and a dozen others.
Your Sunday School class is in the business of turning people around. By extending grace through Jesus Christ to people who have given up, we are part of the restoration and redemption process.
Now lose that highlighter and pick up the phone…
Bob Mayfield serves as the Sunday School/small groups specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. He also has his own blog at bobmayfield.com