Archive for guests

The Ask (Asking A Guest to Join the Group)

Mark 1:17 reads, “Follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fish for people.” (HCSB)

Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus asking people to follow Him. Jesus wanted people to join Him on His mission to seek and save the lost, but to accomplish this mission Jesus made the habit of asking people to join Him.

Yet many Sunday School classes and small groups often forget to ask a guest participating in their group if they would like to join it!

People will rarely enroll in a group unless they are asked. An informal survey of people joining the church’s small groups or Sunday School are often people that are joining the church and are simply taking the next required step of membership. Asking someone to join your group is so simple…

Ask them!!

Here are a few helpful ideas…

  • Make sure enrollment cards are available at every meeting. That also includes a writing utensil that works.
  • Combine the guest and enrollment cards. Simply add a checkbox to the guest card that states: “I would like to join this group.”
  • Whoever is responsible for taking roll in the group should ask every guest to fill out the guest card, and be sure to ask them if they would like to join the group.
  • If possible, the person responsible should offer to fill out the guest card for the guest. Not only does this lead to asking the above question, but it also means that someone can read the handwriting on the card!
  • Use the proper verbiage and attitude. “Would you like to join our wonderful group?” sounds so much better than, “You wouldn’t want to join our group… would’ya?”
  • And… a guest does not have to be a church member or attend three consecutive times to join or enroll in the group!

All it takes is “the ask.”


Bob Mayfield is the Sunday School/Discipleship specialist at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Bob also has his own blog at
Follow Bob on Twitter at @bobmayfield and on Facebook at

Connecting Your Group and Guests on Facebook

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. (I Corinthians 9:22-23 NIV)      

Have you ever considered how Facebook can help your class reach new people and share Good News? Here are some ways you can do so:

  1. Advertise a Sunday School page for your church. The Millennials will find you on technology before they come to your church or class. Have a page that highlights every class with pictures, what you enjoy doing together, and what you are studying. They will feel more comfortable coming to your class if they see faces, and know more about the class.
  2. Advertise special fellowship and outreach events. Did you know that you can target groups on Facebook for $5-$10 in your area? I have a church in a small town that used Facebook for advertising a children’s event and gathered between 300-400 people. You can target age groups, affinity groups and more.
  3. Use Facebook to follow up your lesson that week. I have used posts starting Sunday evening through Wednesday to follow up a lesson with more questions, video links and stories so learners will keep reflecting on how the passage applies to life. An added bonus was when they responded. It goes to their news post as well. Of course, this means all of their friends including unchurched get to read them. (Please keep them positive and focused on Scripture!)

If we are to be all things to all people so we might win some, Facebook can be a tool to do just that!

Dr. Tony Brooks is the Sunday School/Discipleship Specialist for the Baptist General Association of Virginia. You can see his weekly blog at:
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Twitter- @TonyBrooks7


Finish Well: What’s Next for A Guest

We assume that when a person visits our group and becomes a member, they are now a part of the group. It is true, they are on our ministry list but that does not make them a part of the group. Assimilation is essential. Becoming a part of a group does not end with enrollment. Here are few ideas to better assimilate members after enrollment.

Have parties: Class socials help new folks to connect. People get to know one another. They become friends when socials are a part of group-life.

Do missions together: Serving alongside others helps new folks feel they are a part of something bigger than themselves.

Rearrange the room: People tend to sit in the same place week after week. Rearranging the room forces people to sit with those they do not know as well.

Include guests in social media conversations: Much of our communication and conversations are done on social media or text. Include guests in those conversations.

Special occasions: Celebrate with a card to be a part of those special events in life.

Worship together: Sit with guests in worship.

Introductions are important: As a leader we need to make sure everyone knows everyone. For a couple of months after the person becomes a part of the group keep introducing them to others.

Name tags: Everyone should wear them. New people are learning names. Help them.

Mike Taylor is a State Missionary for Adult Groups and Faith Development at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

5 Ways to Make A Guest Feel at Home

One of my daughter’s friends comes to our house so much that we often tell her, “you aren’t a guest anymore…you’re part of the family!” Sunday School is about helping guests become family as quickly as possible. Consider these suggestions:

1. Expect Guests to Be Present

When guests arrive, they should not observe a mad scramble for an extra chair, a copy of the literature, or a pen and registration card. Lack of expectation communicates to the guest that they are an inconvenience or disruption. Preparation says, “we were hoping you would come.”

2. Use Name Tags for Everybody

Make guest and group member name tags look alike. If you re-use member name tags, have each person handwrite their own name card into a clip-on cover so that you can easily create a similar one for guests.

3. Leave Good Seats Available

Guests should be able to find a place in the midst of the group…not set apart and not on the front row!

4. Have Group Members Introduce Guests

For many people, introducing themselves to a group is terrifying. Train group members to learn the names and something about the guest who sits beside them and make the introductions.

5. Don’t Abandon Guests After Group Time

Make sure guests know how to find their children or their way to the worship center. Invite them to sit with you for worship. Offering to share a meal with them is always a great way to help people feel at home.

David Bond is a Sunday School/Small Group consultant at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.
Facebook – @DavidBond
Twitter – @DavidTBond
Instagram – @DavidTBond

Greeting and Meeting Guests


“Every week may be somebody’s first week. If it’s not a good week, they may not ever come back for a second week…” wrote David Francis in Great Expectations: Planting Seeds for Sunday School Growth. I can testify from my personal experience in looking for a church when we moved to Spring Hill, Tennessee that David is correct. We visited five churches and three of them we never went back for a second visit.

Every group needs to be prepared to make a great first impression. If you expect new people every week, what are some things you will do BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER they visit?

Before they visit, consider who’s saying “Hello” when they come? When my wife and I were looking for a church, we attended two classes at a well-known church. In both instances, only the teacher said hello.  Let me encourage you to have someone besides the teacher say hello.  One old idea is to have hidden greeters that will have this assignment.  A hidden greeter introduces themself and then introduces the guest to other members, and invites the guest to sit with them during the service.

During the visit, smile and show your teeth! Welcome everyone! Register the guest! Ask guests and members to wear a nametag! Inform the guest of Group Activities! Expect them to say YES and ask them if they want to enroll (belong to your group).

The real test of a friendly class comes after the benediction. Train your people to speak to each other and express care about each other. The guests are watching.  Offer to take guests to the Worship Service or to help them find where the preschool and children’s buildings are. Shake hands while exiting.

After the visit, follow UP! Send a text, an email, write a letter, make a phone call, meet them for coffee or dinner, and even go visit!

BTW, my wife and I ended up joining the one church that showed they really wanted us.

Mark Miller is the Group Specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.