Archive for small group

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

4 Critical Steps for A New Believer (Baptism, Bible Study, Prayer, Community)

Someone you know or a guest in the church has just become a new follower of Jesus Christ!!

Fantastic!!! That is wonderful…

Now what?

I doubt many people would give a person who had never driven before the keys to their new car. Someone who has just become a new believer needs some guidance as they begin their journey of faith in Jesus Christ. Here are four critical steps that you can share with a new Christian as they begin their walk with Christ.

Yes, the first step is to be biblically baptized. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward reality; that this person has found new life through Jesus Christ and has made Jesus the Lord of their life. Your church may offer a baptism class, or maybe counseling to help this new Christian with his or her new faith. Encourage them to get baptized as soon as possible.

Bible Study
If the new believer does not have a Bible, help them get one! Encourage them to read the Bible daily. A daily soaking in Scripture is vital to spiritual growth. Which translation should they have? Here are two suggestions: 1) the translation that the pastor preaches from; 2) the translation that you or your Small Group uses at group meetings. The book of Ephesians is a great book for new believers because it is full of the doctrine of the church and it is only six chapters long. Afterward, help them get into a daily Bible reading plan.

The best way to teach a new believer how to pray is to pray with them. Let them learn from you that prayer is a two-way conversation with God.

A new believer needs a biblical community. Encourage them to become a member of a local church. But they will need more than membership. They need a smaller group where they will belong. A Sunday School class or a Small Group is an outstanding place for a new believer to develop new friends and mentors; to study God’s Word; and for ministry and prayer. A Small Group is really how the church is organized to be… well to be the church! Most likely, the smaller group is where a new believer is going to find people willing to walk alongside him or her, and disciple them into spiritual maturity.


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

How To Extend An Evangelistic Invitation In A Small Group

Extending an evangelistic invitation during your group time is easier than many think. In fact, how can we teach the Bible and the Gospel not be front and center? After His resurrection Jesus appeared to the two of His followers on the road to Emmaus “and beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).

The central theme of the Bible is: (a) Man has sinned and separated himself from Holy God; and (b) God loves man and has taken every measure to reconcile fallen man back to Himself.

Therefore, our Bible studies blaze a natural path to an evangelistic invitation! Don’t be afraid to walk that path!

Here are three easy steps to share the Gospel.

Seque – Leave 10 minutes at the end of your lesson and say something like…”we have seen man’s need for salvation”…”we have observed God’s heart for people”…”the Scripture clearly presents the Gospel”…etc.

Share the Gospel – Present the Gospel. Read verses in the Roman Road, pass out Gospel tracts and read each page as they follow along, have someone share a brief testimony of their conversion, etc.

Extend the Invitation – Say something like…”some of you may feel that God is speaking to your heart”…”God wants everyone of you to be saved,” etc. Pray for them, then offer to stick around after class to meet with anyone.

Allan Taylor is the Director of Church Education Ministry at LifeWay.

100 Small Changes Later…

100hashtag At the beginning of this series, David Francis introduced our blog to what would be 100 daily posts that provoke conversations about little things all of us can do to make our groups better.  These were not game changers or radical transformations of teaching methods.  These were small changes that could lead to minor course corrections in the direction of your group.  Most of them were not new ideas but simply reminders of things that need to be done.

We want to reflect back to the first post in this series, David Francis’ introductory article on August 1 of this year.

Sunday School is a system. It’s a bunch of things—big and small—that make a Sunday School excellent instead of mediocre.  Each relates to another and that to another and so on and so on. So what if every little thing you improved resulted in just one more person coming to Sunday School, coming back to Sunday School, enrolling in Sunday School, attending regularly in Sunday School, serving in Sunday School, and inviting another to Sunday School? Each of the 100 ideas you’ll read about in the next several weeks may seem inconsequential taken alone. But put 50 or 60 or 70 or 80 into practice and see what happens!

So, here we are.  100 articles later.  You now have 100 ideas from which you can draw for solutions to little roadblocks you may face while leading your group. Come back to this site often and refer back to these posts when you seeking answers.  We are here for you and will continue to be here with fresh insight and ideas to strengthen your group ministry.

The contributors of this blog will continue to add posts–only not as frequently as every day.  When a good idea comes to mind, we will share it here with you, the leaders of the movement.  Stay connected with us on Twitter and Facebook. Thank you for joining us on this journey of discovery. Keep making #SmallChanges that will grow your groups and help make disciples.

What Is Your Group’s Primary Purpose, Really?

PrimaryA group leader recently shared with me his understanding of Sunday School. His overarching terms were worship, community, and evangelism. With his spiritual gifts of teaching and leadership, he felt most effective in teaching and fellowship. As we talked more, he shared natural, organic efforts by his group at outreach. His groups tended to grow during the course of the year.

Groups are composed of and led by people who have differing personalities, experiences, abilities, passions, and gifts. Sometimes group members shape the focus or primary purpose of their group. Often leaders do so. I often hear teaching mentioned as the primary purpose. Occasionally I hear fellowship and ministry mentioned. Rarely I hear outreach and evangelism mentioned.

There is nothing wrong with admitting a preference for one purpose and doing it well. But group growth can settle for nothing less than work done on three purposes: reaching, teaching, and caring (or mission, formation, and connection as shared by David Francis and Rick Howerton in Countdown.)

Without reaching, there will be no group to teach. Without care (ministry, fellowship, connection), the group will leak out, and there will be no group left to teach. Without good teaching, our outreach and care will not keep them coming back. Which can we neglect without suffering the consequences? None!

In a tiny group (2 or 3 people), one person may need to lead in all three purposes. But as a group grows beyond tiny, there will usually be members whose gifts, personalities, and passions equip them to be able to serve to lead one of these three purposes for the class. But someone must prayerfully enlist them!

When a teacher has someone leading the group in outreach and member care, he or she is like Moses leading Israel to fight Amelek in Exodus 17. When Aaron and Hur held up his arms, they were able to win the battle. The teacher can focus on his/her primary purpose of teaching, while the outreach leader focuses on his/her primary purpose of outreach and the member care leader focuses on his/her primary purpose of member care. With three champions, all three purposes can be carried out well.

It is difficult (or impossible) alone to do everything. But with balance and teamwork, growth is natural. Make sure the purposes are given to someone who can make them their focus. Then ask them to help you lead the class to accomplish them all!