How to Disciple Families

While it may be tempting to step aside from parenting and avoid conflict, the Brian Haynes encourages parents to do the hard things. The ultimate goal is to pass on a legacy of faith in God and strengthen the family relationship. Brian Haynes combines practical guidance and solid biblical truth to help parents who are navigating a challenging season of parenting. We know that we should make disciples, but how do we really do that in the context of family.

Session 1: An overview of how to begin teaching parenting and living in a biblical paradigm.

Session 2: Seven Milestones that should be recognized and celebrated in every home.

3151 Challenge

Here’s an idea that actually worked! Recently I completed an interim pastor position at a church averaging about seventy-five in Sunday School. I presented to the church the 3151 Challenge. The challenge was for each member, during a one month period, to:

3> Pray for THREE lost friends;

1> Learn ONE Gospel presentation;

5> Invite FIVE people to your group;

1> Share the Gospel with ONE person.

Each Sunday School teacher was asked to help me promote the challenge

during the month of February. I made the 3151 cards available to everyone (see resources below) and used the sermon time to preach/teach through the emphasis.

The THREE stands for three lost friends or relatives that you would pray for. There are seven biblical ways provided to pray for lost people: that God would convict them of their sin and lostness; for God to open their eyes and see Christ as Lord and Savior; to draw them to Christ through the Holy Spirit; tear down any strongholds that are keeping them from being saved; make their hearts receptive to the Gospel; move them to repentance and saving faith; and to help them be fruitful witnesses.

The first ONE was to learn a gospel presentation. The Roman Road is briefly described in the card resource. I also found using a tract like Billy Graham’s “Steps to Peace with God,” was helpful. I provided everyone present that morning in worship a copy of the tract and walked them through it, encouraging them with ways they can use it to sow the seeds of the gospel, as they go through their day.

The FIVE was to challenge every Sunday School member to invite five people to their class over the month of February. Teachers can prepare the class ahead of time that guests will be in their class over the next few weeks. Extra chairs, Sunday School books, etc. need to be made available.

The final ONE challenges class members to share the gospel with one person during the month. I helped the church know how to briefly share their testimony, one or two sentences for each of the following: what my life was like before I met Christ; how I came to know Christ; and what my life was like now that Christ is my Lord and Savior.

The resources below also have posters that can be printed for each class listing their goals for each challenge. Think about it, what if 75 Sunday School members in your church prayed for THREE lost friends? That would be 225 lost people being prayed for throughout the month! What might God do through your church if 75 people learn ONE gospel presentation! What if 75 Sunday School members each invited FIVE people to their class, that’s 375 people invited to your Sunday School! And, what if 75 people in your church shared the gospel with ONE person?

The 3151 Challenge helped this church (and their interim pastor) get excited about the Sunday School doing what the Sunday School already should be doing: reaching, teaching, and ministering to people in Jesus’ Name!

3151 Resources

 

8 More Reasons to Give

1. It’s A MIRACLE

When you open yourself up to giving through the tithe you get a glimpse into the supernatural. Ask a tither if supernatural provision has ever happened in their years of giving and inevitable the answer is, “Yes.”

2. It’s a FAITH BUILDER

Tithing strengthens your faith muscles. Once you begin to trust your money to God, you’ll find that it’s easier  to trust Him with everything else in your life.

3. It’s a JOY

There’s a deep feeling of bliss that comes from giving with no regard for receiving. Givers are the happiest people on the face of the earth.

4. It’s UNIFYING

Tithing believers are believers that say to God and their church family, “I’m all in.” Tithing husbands and wives are saying to each other, “There’s something a whole lot bigger going on in our marriage than just us.”

5. It’s CONTAGIOUS

Once tithers experience God in giving, they want to share with others about the grace and provision God has provided. As we share the joy of giving, others are inspired to give.

6. It’s TAX-DEDUCTIBLE

Yup, it’s the most minor benefit. But it’s a benefit!

7. It’s A GREED SLAYER

One of the most debilitating characteristics of unhappy people is greed and it spills over into every area of our lives. Unfortunately, greed can go viral – but so can generosity.

8. IT’S BIBLICAL

Last, but not least, give because it’s a Biblical principle and promise. “’Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this way,’ says the Lord of Hosts. ‘See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure.’” Malachi 3:10

Silent Saturday

It’s what’s commonly referred to as “Holy Week,” the week leading up the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. We just celebrated Palm Sunday and later this week is Maundy Thursday, which gives way to Good Friday, and last, but certainly not least, is Easter Sunday.

In the midst of this busy, significant week, let me suggest a new day for you and I living on this side of the resurrection – Silent Saturday. Allow me to elaborate …

Two thousand years ago the events leading up to what we now call Easter were a whirlwind – to say the least. And things certainly didn’t turn out the way those early Christ-followers envisioned. So there they were, after a bizarre week that began with a celebration and ended with a crucifixion. It was Saturday. The crowds gone. Their minds and hearts numb. And they were not sure what would come next.

Now, on this side of history, we know what’s next – but they didn’t.

Our lives are often the same way – crazy busy – and sometimes bizarre. Our smartphones light up with one notification after another. Great anticipation is often replaced by great disappointment in our careers, in our relationships and even with God.

And then comes Saturday.

Friday was like nothing we’ve ever experienced and the promise of Sunday hasn’t arrived.

So this Saturday, take a moment and be silent. Ask God to calm your heart, your mind and your spirit. Be honest – tell Him that things are not working out like you thought they would. Let Him know you have questions, doubts, and even fears.

But during your talk with God, be sure and include the words of Jesus when He said “not my will but your will be done.”

Then – be silent. Be still. Ask God to give you ears to hear what the Spirit will say.

After a turbulent Friday and before Sunday arrives, Silent Saturday can remind you of who He is and prepare you to receive the power and the promise of Easter Sunday.

All About Sunday School

Sometimes the best thing you can do is put something on the calendar! This may be true in regard to achieving a goal like getting in shape physically or registering for a 5k fun run in your town. I believe it’s also true when it comes to your church’s Sunday School.

One of the good things about Sunday School is that it meets every week, every Sunday of the year. But one of the bad things about Sunday School is that it meets every week, every Sunday of the year! It’s easy for a church to just keep doing the same thing Sunday after Sunday and never taking time to evaluate and refocus the church’s Bible study ministry.

I believe the purposes of Sunday School are to reach people, to teach people, and to minister to people – all in Jesus’ name. In Matthew 9:35, we read where “Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” I see here Jesus reaching through His preaching, teaching in the synagogues, and healing and ministering to the sick.

If a church wants its Sunday School to do more than it’s currently doing, there has to be a plan. You have to have a strategy; doing the same thing Sunday after Sunday expecting a different outcome just will not happen.

What about putting some things on the calendar – one event each month – to help your Sunday School fulfill its purpose? For example:

January – Offer a training event for your leaders to kick-off the new year or begin Pastor’s Sunday School class to reach adults who aren’t attending a class.

February – Plan a church-wide outreach/in-reach night.

March – Host a Vacation Bible School planning team meeting or a block party.

April – Invite prospects and inactive members to Easter services.

May – Plan a neighborhood prayer walk and flyer distribution for VBS, invite inactive members and prospects to a baby dedication, or give ladies a free book/gift.

June – Host Vacation Bible School – that means all hands on deck! VBS is a church-wide event. Don’t forget to follow-up with prospects and decisions.

July – Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up with your VBS prospects. Prayer walk your local schools.

August – Bring your pre-teens to PreTeen Invasion. Sunday School workers can attend ReGroup, a training conference.

September – Plan a new Sunday School year workers’ appreciation banquet or plan a church-wide outreach/in-reach event.

October – Schedule a High Attendance Day in Sunday School and plan to contact everybody in every Sunday School class.

November – Bring teenagers to the Youth Evangelism Celebration (YEC).

December – Invite prospects and inactive members to all special Christmas services and activities.

You can download a free resource, 3-Purposes of Sunday School – a brochure that describes these ideas more fully. This brochure and many more are available here.

Do you want your Sunday School to grow again? To reach, teach, and minister to people in Jesus’ name? Then pray for God’s direction as you make the three purposes a priority by scheduling events that focus your Sunday School on these purposes.

ReGroup 103: Two Things Church Members Need from Their Leaders

Most people in your church, if asked, would say they want their church to fulfill the Great Commission. They want their church to grow. They want to reach the lost. They want to grow in their faith. Sometimes, however, we as leaders don’t give them what they need most to get to the next level personally, in their church and in their community.

Your people need HOPE. They need to know that there is something that God has for them that is better than what they have right now. They need to clearly see what we as leaders are leading them to become and to accomplish. If they can’t see it, how can you motivate them to do what is necessary to make that HOPE a reality? 18 Where there is no vision, the people perish,… Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) Our people need to have hope. Change can’t happen until they believe God has something ahead of them that is worth the effort to change. 7 Now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. Psalm 39:7 (HCSB)

Your people also need to TRUST you. Trust doesn’t happen instantly. Sometimes, it’s the little things you say or do. It is difficult to lead others when there is doubt about your character or integrity. Over time, people can learn to trust you. People realize that you are looking out for them and not just your own interests. You can’t control what people believe or perceive about you but you can continue every day to live a life that is worthy of their trust. As a leader, people need to know they can trust you to follow you. 14 “I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me, John 10:14 (HCSB)

You are a shepherd to the sheep that God has given you the privilege to lead. As the Pastor, you are the under-shepherd to Jesus who is the Great Shepherd. Even as Sunday School or Small Group leaders, we too have shepherding responsibilities. Do you know their name? Do they know yours? I am not just talking about their literal name, but the name that your reputation, your character and your integrity give you. Are you Trustworthy? If so, your people need to know where you are leading them and what they will find when we all get there.

The Resurrection Changed Everything

Think about all the ways that the resurrection of Christ turned the world upside-down.

It birthed the largest people of faith in the world – what we call the church.

It changed our calendars.

The resurrection eventually turned the Roman Empire upside down and created a completely new way of engaging with God. The resurrection announced that the barrier between God and man had been broken and we could walk in grace with Him.

Because of the Good News we celebrate this season, as Louisiana Baptists, we’ve made a commitment to do everything we possibly can to reach our state with this message of grace.

In 2013, we committed to action plans to advance the gospel and assist our churches. We called it 2020. As Easter approaches, it’s a great time to update and remind you on all the ways we as Louisiana Baptists are seeking to change our world. If you are a Southern Baptist and your church gives to the cooperative program, be encouraged that God is working through these efforts.

KAIROS # 1Equip churches with a proven evangelistic church growth process.
KAIROS # 2Assist churches with the development of a disciple-making process.
KAIROS # 3Challenge congregations to regularly and intentionally promote Biblical financial stewardship.
KAIROS # 4Engage Louisiana Baptists congregations in compassion ministries.
KAIROS # 5Partner with churches, associations and other Southern Baptist entities to plant healthy, culturally-relevant, biblically-sound, multiplying churches that seek to fulfill the Great Commission.
KAIROS # 6Launch Here for You – a multi-year, multi-platform media strategy designed to provide every person in Louisiana the opportunity to say yes to a relationship with Jesus.
KAIROS # 7Provide training for leaders and churches in the use of social media and the internet.
KAIROS # 8Create mentoring and ministry networks.
KAIROS # 9Increase financial support through the Cooperative Program and the special mission offerings.
KAIROS # 10Lead Louisiana Baptists to maximize their collective influence in the arena of moral and cultural concerns.

It’s been astounding to see so many ministers, churches and ministries working in concert to be more effective and compelling so that the good news of the resurrection could be experienced by more people.

ReGroup 102: Three Mistakes Most Sunday School Teachers or Small Group Leaders Make

Most leaders don’t intentionally ignore inactive members of our group/class, lack focus on people who are not a part of our group or don’t pay attention to the life needs of the regular members of our class – but sometimes we do.

Inactive Members

Some people join our group or class and fail for whatever reason to connect with the rest of the members. Some people might even get mad at someone in the group and just quit coming. Others might simply miss a few weeks and just decide it’s easier to stay home than take the time to go to Sunday School or small group. Regardless of the reason, God has still placed these people in our ministry field and thus in our sphere of influence.

Non-members

You do realize that there are people in your church and outside of your church that are potential future members, right? We don’t mean to forget about them but sometimes we get so busy doing other things that we “get out of the habit” of paying attention to those who aren’t part of us yet. After a while, we just get comfortable and stop worrying about it all together. Besides, they know where our church is. If they want to be a part, they can just show up.

Regular Members

These are the people that show up. Most of the time, these are the people who participate in Bible study, activities, fellowships, ministry projects, etc. But what if there were some serious issues in their lives like a marriage falling apart, addictions, depression, anger, a job loss or more. Often times, in the midst of our business we miss the subtle clues that something is not quite right at home.

All of these situations have one thing in common— it’s people. God has called us as leaders to lead a ministry with, through and to PEOPLE. We need to stop focusing so much on what has to be done and start focusing more on those people. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Inactive Members – Chances are that an inactive member will most likely not come back to your class. Instead, focus on ministering to them through prayer and regular contact just to let them know you still care. Who knows, maybe they might come back.
  2. Non-members – Most Sunday School classes and small groups don’t have a prospect list. Why not start one? Every week just ask, “who do you know that might be a potential member of our class?” Put their name on your list and pray for them every week. Who knows, they might just come if you invite them.
  3. Regular Members – Take time to get to know each other. Don’t worry about finishing every bible study lesson. Take the time to share with one another in groups of 2 or 3 people. Plan fellowships that allow time for people to share personal prayer needs in really small groups so they don’t have to share such personal needs in front of the whole group. Who knows, you might just prevent a divorce, help a person through addiction, depression or anger or help someone find a new job.

Sunday School and small groups are about people. Let’s make them our primary focus.

6 Reasons for Bible Drill

Memorization of Scripture sticks with a believer for the rest of his or her life. I still remember the scriptures I memorized as a child.

Some might argue that Bible Drill and Bible memorization is passé. Nothing could be further from the truth. If your son or daughter has the opportunity to be involved in Bible Drill, please don’t hesitate to encourage them!

Here are 6 reasons why Bible Drill and Scripture memorization are important to kids and students.

  1. Memorization of scripture is a radical distinctive of God’s people. In fact in Jesus day, children would memorize the entire first five books of the Old Testament by age twelve. The Babylonian Talmud Baba Bathra 21a:6 says, “Before the age of six do not accept pupils; from that age you can accept them, and stuff them with Torah like an ox.”
  2. Saturating you mind with the Word of God prepares kids for the challenges of the future. You will have a greater chance to see them remain faithful to God in the years to come.
  3. Scripture is the best tool for prayer. A student who knows Scripture will learn to pray biblically.
  4. Learning how to get around in the Word of God makes Scripture less intimidating to students. Knowing where each book is located will ultimately make them more competent to study God’s word and to participate in Bible studies.
  5. If a student that knows Scripture they will be more likely to share their faith. The basis of our faith is the truth of God’s word. By memorizing Scripture students will feel more at ease with defending and sharing their faith.
  6. Scripture memorization is a necessity for the spiritual warfare they will face in the coming years. Remember the temptation of Jesus? How did Jesus combat Satan? Scripture, Scripture, Scripture and then, you guessed it, Scripture!

So there you have six reasons for Bible memorization and Bible Drill events. You can rest assured there are many other reasons.<

Teach your kids to hide the Word of God in their hearts and watch as it takes root in their soul!

Making Big Plans for Easter

Celebration Church’s St. Bernard Campus has grown from 110 in 2009 to 485 in 2016 in weekly average attendance. Easter Sunday attendance has grown from 206 to 1,380 in that time frame, serving as a great catalyst for overall growth. Patrick Eagan, Celebration St. Bernard’s Campus Pastor, recently spent some time coaching church planters in the Baton Rouge area on how to make the most out of Easter. Get Patrick’s Notes HERE. This can serve as a great playbook for planning Easter or other Big Attendance weekends at your church. Patrick said, “Most of us will not be able to double our weekend attendance by simply praying harder and trying harder.” We need a plan! Here are a few great starter questions for planning from Patrick’s presentation:

  1. What would it look like at your church if the fullness of the power of God met the fullness of the efforts of man?
  2. If you successfully doubled your weekend attendance, would there be room for everyone?
  3. Is it possible to add worship services to your usual line up?
  4. What is the long-term growth vision for your church?
  5. What is the challenging but reasonable goal for your end of year attendance?
  6. How will you identify and follow-up with guests on Easter Sunday?
  7. What specific elements of the worship service will encourage guests to come back?
  8. What post-Easter events can we leverage guests toward?

Get the whole doc and do what you can to get ready for a big weekend of planting seeds and growing God’s kingdom. Always grateful for Celebration Church and their generosity of lessons learned and best practices.