Archive for Sunday School evangelism

Connect Short-term Events to Ongoing Sunday School

Why does your church offer events like: a men’s fish fry; a ladies retreat; or Vacation Bible School? Is it because church members have nothing else to do with their time?

Of course not! Churches offer evangelistic events so that church members can bring their lost friends to hear the Gospel and connect with the church.

But what could your church and Sunday School group do to make the connection even stronger? That’s right… connect guests at church events to the church’s Sunday School. Make it an intentional connection, not a connection that might happen accidentally. Intentionally connecting guests to a Sunday School group multiplies the evangelistic opportunity; plus it connects the guest with the very place that the church wants them to land in order to minister, evangelize, and disciple the guest – a Sunday School class!

Here are a couple of ideas on how to do that:

  1. Be sure to register everyone, including guests, at every church event. A name, address, email, and phone number provides a way for the Sunday School to follow up with a guest. You can not follow-up on people that you do not know.
  2. Encourage the event organizer to include a 2-3 minute testimony about Sunday School. Provide some coaching so that the person giving the testimony shares how Sunday School has affected him or her personally.
  3. Light the road from the event to the Sunday School. When does Sunday School start? Where do I go?
  4. Follow-up! The best time to invite a guest from the Men’s Fish Fry to your group is immediately! Yes, if you meet a guest at the fish fry, go ahead and invite him to your Sunday School class right then. Calling a guest 3 months after the fish fry communicates that you are not really very interested in him. The sooner you call or visit, the more likely it is that you will receive a positive response.

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Bob Mayfield is the Sunday School/Small Group specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Bob also has his own blog, as well as coordinating the BGCO’s online training site for Sunday School leaders, reconnectss.com.

How Many Lost People Should Be on My Roll?

Most Sunday School teachers want their group members to invite lost friends and neighbors to Sunday School. One of the best laboratories for Christianity is a Sunday School group, so it is natural that we would want lost people to join and participate in our group.

So how can a leader tell how effective their group is in inviting lost or unchurched friends to the group?

The simplest answer to how many lost people should be in your group is… as many as possible!

But practically speaking, about 12% would be a good target. So for a group with 25 group members, about 3-4 lost people would be the minimum in order for your group to consider itself an evangelistically engaged group.

Some ideas on encouraging group members to invite their friends to join your group:

  • Have 2-4 fellowships a year that are intentionally designed for lost people. That means, have a fellowship (social, party, etc) that a lost person would like to attend. Have a shrimp fry. Plan a barbecue rib party. The guys can have a night at the ballpark and invite their lost friends.
  • Encourage people in your group to actually make the invite and ask a friend to come to the group Bible study. The best way to do this is to identify a specific date to invite friends (the date provides accountability); have brunch/finger foods/; enlist a group member or two to share their testimony; then study God’s Word; share a simple Gospel presentation; and pray together.
  • Bring a friend yourself. As the teacher, nothing communicates as well as your own actions.
  • When a guest visits your group, actually ask them to join. Fill out the guest card with them. Be sure to thank them for joining your group!!
  • Follow-up. Visit guests in their home. Ask for permission to add them to the group. Send them an invite to join the group’s Facebook page. In other words, treat the guest like a group member – and they will become one!

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Bob Mayfield is the Sunday School/Small Group specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Bob also has his own blog, as well as coordinating the BGCO’s online training site for Sunday School leaders, reconnectss.com.

 

 

Follow Up on Guests

Why should your group follow-up on guests that visit a worship service, event, or even your Sunday School group?

A simple answer: Because we should care about their eternal destiny and their personal spiritual growth!!

If a guest attends a worship service or your Sunday School group and completes a guest registration card, then it is very likely that they would like some kind of follow-up. If not, they would not have completed the card! My personal preference with follow up is to “follow-up with impact.” Yes, that means visit their home! Yes yes… I have heard how unpopular and unworkable a home visit is. But I also know from personal experience that a home visit communicates compassion and concern to a guest. If you are willing to visit them in their home, you have communicated that your group will go to great lengths to minister to them.

Other follow-up options also include:

  • Text message
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Form letter from the church

And yes, there is one form of follow-up that is absolutely the worst and can be summed up in one word: ignore. Ignoring a guest speaks just as loudly as visiting them at their home; but do you really want your church to have the reputation of ignoring its guests? Of course not…

So develop a system and work your system. Fine tune it so that your group offers grace and community to every guest that visits your church.

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Bob Mayfield is the Sunday School/Small Group specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Bob also has his own blog, as well as coordinating the BGCO’s online training site for Sunday School leaders, reconnectss.com.

Lead Your Members to Live the Gospel

helpWHY DOES THIS MATTER? Each week there are many Sunday School Teachers who study hard to find new information their class members do not know about a Bible passage and they are eager to share that information on Sunday.   While this is commendable, it is not what the role of the teacher should be.   The role of the teacher is to get his or her members to live the Gospel.   Jesus said:

Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB)
19  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  20  teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

WHAT DO I DO? A teacher wants a member to live the gospel or to observe all that Christ commanded.   It takes work.  Dr. Leroy Ford, an expert on the teaching/learning environment, stated that “no one will work to accomplish someone else’s goal.”   If that is true, we cannot afford to just tell members of the truths; we have to  help them to discover the truths themselves and apply it to their own lives.   This requires getting the members to engage through questions and activities which require them to think about the passage and how it affects their own lives.

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Dr. Mark Yoakum, Director of Church Ministries, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

Finding Them & Keeping Them

evangelismIn a recent blog post by Thom Rainer, he identified the single most significant factor that causes decline in church membership and attendance. Do you know what it is? It is an inward focus. When all of your attention is on keeping one another happy and satisfied, your class or group will decline. How do you continue to focus on the needs of the group but also focus outwardly on the people in your community? Is it possible to have both? The answer is YES, but it takes leadership.

During an average week, how much time is spent focused on meeting the needs of the group? Now, how much time and energy is your class or group focused on those in your community who are not YET part of your group? Might I make a few suggestions of how to begin to focus outwardly?

  • Pray weekly for the lost (by name) in your community and their needs.
  • Pray for and plan for opportunities to connect with prospects or conduct a project in the community to meet ministry needs.
  • Be intentional about connecting relationally with the unchurched and or lost in your own neighborhoods.
  • Regularly invite people you connect with who are outside your group to your weekly time of Bible study, prayer and ministry.

These are just a few ideas of how to begin to focus outwardly in your community. Oddly enough, when you do that, you just might discover you are growing closer together as a group as well.

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Sean Keith is the Sunday School specialist for the Louisiana Baptist Convention