Re-Engaging Your Sunday School or Small Groups Ministry – Pt. 6

Part 6 – They Called Him “Rabbi”

38 When Jesus turned and noticed them following him, he asked them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” John 1:38 (CSBBible)

Rabbi is a Jewish term which means “Teacher.” Those that began following Jesus early in His ministry knew He was no ordinary Teacher. To be a Rabbi was a Jewish custom. It meant to train, equip and prepare His disciples to become Rabbis, themselves. The objective of a Rabbi was to make disciples who would make disciples. Sound familiar?

6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6 (CSBBible) Jesus did more than just teach them information or “knowledge.” He taught them wisdom. Jesus spent more time with the 12 disciples than He did with anyone else. He spoke to the multitudes. He preached to the crowds. But, He “taught” the disciples. He was preparing a rag-tag group of misfits to change the world. That sounds a lot like your job description as a Sunday School Teacher or Small Group Leader!

Your role in today’s church is increasingly critical. I know you have a full-time job, are raising a family, taking care of others and involved in the community. I understand that you are busy. Even so, God has chosen you and me to make disciples. This responsibility is too great to just spend an hour or two a week in preparation. You see, we have the privilege of making disciples who will make disciples. And, just like Jesus, we are preparing them to change the world.

Whether it is in person or online, you are exactly what the members and prospects for your class/group need right now. For such a time as this, He has called you to lead.

Need more ideas?

Join us on Monday, August 10th and Tuesday August 11th, for Louisiana Baptists first ever, Digital ReGroup Conference. Not only will this be a timely message for those who lead the Sunday School and/or Small Group Ministry in their church, but ESPECIALLY for all those who lead a class or small group every week. We need to prepare the wonderful lay people who have the responsibility of making disciples through their class or small group, for the New Normal.

We are asking you to commit to one hour. Below, you will see the schedule and the people who can help us better understand the opportunities and challenges we face for the next few weeks and months.  All you have to do is register and watch.

This is a free event and registration is open now at www.LouisianaBaptists.org/ReGroup20 (Note, you may participate in any or all of the sessions, just register individually for each one.)

Go to this event page and click on your session of interest, a registration box will pop up.  Upon completion for this free event, you will receive a confirmation/invitation link via email for each session registered.

If you can’t participate in the live webcast, you can view it online. The recording will be available at our website by Friday, August 14th.

Here is the Digital ReGroup schedule:

  • Pastors/Staff/Key Ministry LeadersMonday, August 10th, 6:00-7:00 PM

With Special Guests Steve Bennett, Pastor, First, Moss Bluff; Matt Endris

Pastor, Fairview, Coushatta; Sean Keith, Sunday School/Discipleship Strategist, Louisiana Baptists; and Host, Dr. Stewart Holloway, Pastor, First, Pineville.

  • Adult LeadersMonday, August 10th, 7:30–8:30 PM

Special Guest David Apple, Adult Ministry Consultant, Nashville, TN;

Jeff Ingram, Adult Ministry & Church Administration Strategist, Louisiana Baptists; and Host,    Dr. Stewart Holloway, Pastor, First, Pineville.

  • Next Gen/Preschool/Children’s LeadersTuesday, August 11th, 6:00-7:00 PM

Special Guest, Mark Jones, Children’s Pastor, Quail Springs, Oklahoma City, OK; David Anderson, Children’s Strategist, Louisiana Baptists’ and Host, Dr. Steve Horn, Executive Director, Louisiana Baptists, Alexandria.

  • Next Gen/Student LeadersTuesday, August 11th, 7:30-8:30 PM

Special Guests Blake Lewis, Middle School Pastor, First, Haughton; Ray McCon, Minister to Students, Walker, Walker; Brandon Lewis, Youth Strategist, Louisiana Baptists; and Host, Dr. Steve Horn, Executive Director, Louisiana Baptists, Alexandria.

Mark these dates and times on your calendar and make every effort to join us live.

Remember, you are called to lead. Now, let’s prepare to change the world.

A Virus Changes Everything

I don’t mind change. Actually, I even like some changes. However, what has been most troubling lately, is that the Coronavirus has changed almost everything. And it is still changing things. It is changing our culture, our families, our relationships, our education, media and even—dare I say it, the church. I have a word for you–ADAPT. That five letter word is the answer to the six letter word CHANGE.

Our world is facing a serious plague. What this pandemic has caused is uncertainty, hopelessness and so much more. This virus is being blamed for all the riots, politics and raw emotions people are expressing.  I’m sure you understand that the turmoil in our nation may be “caused” by Coronavirus around the world but the root of the problem is not actually caused by the Coronavirus. It is simply the symptom that has brought to light the real issue—SIN. Without God, there is no hope. People who do not have hope do strange things. Nothing we do can make Covid 19 go away. Nor can we go back in time to the way things were.

When I was young, around 9 or 10, I vividly remember lying on the concrete driveway and in our front yard, staring up into the sky. I wondered what I would be when I grew up. Would I be a police officer, a fireman, a soldier, a businessman, etc.? The possibilities were endless. Being an optimist, I imagined myself making a difference in the world.

Reality as an adult is quite different than the imaginations of a child. I have to make decisions every day. I must decide what is best for my life and those whose lives I impact. Sometimes I make good decisions and sometimes I make bad decisions. The difference in my life is my relationship with God. I am forgiven. I am loved. I am redeemed and a child of Almighty God. I don’t deserve it nor could I earn it. Because of God’s grace and mercy, I am saved.

Because of my relationship with God, He called me into the ministry. As a child, I never imagined that I would be a Baptist Minister. Today, I’m grateful that I am. God has not only saved me but called me to a task that I cannot do on my own. Every day, God teaches me. He disciplines me and guides me. He has prepared me for Covid 19 and all the things that come with it. I was called for such a time as this.

So were you. God has prepared you for this. There is hope. God will see us through. Together, we will be stronger, wiser and better prepared to face anything that life and/or Satan may throw at us. Our life is eternal because of what Jesus did for you and me on the cross. In this life or the next, we are firmly in His hands.

With that being said, God has prepared us to ADAPT. We can and we will become what God desires us to be. He has not left us alone. He is faithful. He WILL finish what He has started. The changes that we are experiencing are simply curves in our journey of faithful living for His glory. One thing remains, while we are still on this earth living this life, there are still people who need hope. There are people who need to know that God loves them and has a plan for them. They do not have to walk in fear. Jesus is still the answer.

Re-Engaging Your Sunday School or Small Groups Ministry – Pt. 5

Part 5 – It’s About the People

Jesus died for you and me. The Gospel has been, is, and will always be about Jesus offering salvation to all people. The church, our ministry, and our focus is and should always be about reaching people with the Gospel, equipping them with the truth of God’s Word, caring for and ministering to one another and with those whom God places in our path.

Why should we reach and enroll new people? Because people need to know that Jesus died for them. They need to know they can be a part of a small group of people who will love them, guide them and lead them to share Christ and live for Christ. That is why small groups are so important.

Why should we regularly, consistently teach people God’s truth from His Word? Because people need to know what Jesus can and will do for them and through them. God’s Word is our guide to living for Jesus and allowing Him to live through us. Most Christians don’t open God’s Word on a regular basis. They need someone to show them how to read, study and memorize God’s Word. We teach them how to feed themselves spiritually through God’s Word. How amazing it would be if every believer was reading, studying, and memorizing God’s Word every day?

Why should we care for one another and for those God places in our path? Jesus said in John 13:35 (CSBBible), 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Our actions matter. Jesus died for people. I think He considers people worthy of our time, attention, and treasure. We must love others, even when they are not loving towards us or others. That makes us different. When we love people, the light of Jesus shines through us.

Re-Engaging your Sunday School or Small Group ministry matters because people matter. That’s not a political or racial statement. God has been saying that a whole long longer than any organization or political group.

Still need more ideas?

Join us on Monday, August 10th and Tuesday August 11th, for Louisiana Baptists first ever, Digital ReGroup Conference. Not only will this be a timely message for those who lead the Sunday School and/or Small Group Ministry in their church, but ESPECIALLY for all those who lead a class or small group every week. We need to prepare these wonderful lay people who have the responsibility of making disciples through their class or small group for the New Normal.

We are asking you to commit to one hour. Below, you will see the schedule and the people who can help us understand the opportunities and challenges we face for the next few weeks and months. The webinar is free. All you have to do is register and watch.

This is a free event and registration is open now at www.LouisianaBaptists.org/ReGroup20

Go to this event page and click on your session of interest (under the Register Here header), a registration box will drop down. Upon completion for this free event, you will receive a confirmation/invitation link via email.  You may register for any or all of the sessions.

If you can’t participate in the live webcast, you can view it online. The recording will be available at our website by Friday, August 14th.

Here is the Digital ReGroup schedule:

  • Pastors/Staff/Key Ministry LeadersMonday, August 10th, 6:00-7:00 PM

With Special Guests Steve Bennett, Pastor, First, Moss Bluff, Matt Endris

Pastor, Fairview, Coushatta and Sean Keith, Sunday School/Discipleship Strategist, Louisiana Baptists, with Host Stewart Holloway, Pastor, First, Pineville.

  • Adult LeadersMonday, August 10th, 7:30–8:30 PM

Special Guest David Apple, Adult Ministry Consultant, Nashville, TN, and

Jeff Ingram, Adult Ministry & Church Administration Strategist, Louisiana Baptists, with Host Stewart Holloway, Pastor, First, Pineville.

  • Next Gen/Preschool/Children’s LeadersTuesday, August 11th, 6:00-7:00 PM

Special Guest, Mark Jones, Children’s Pastor, Quail Springs, Oklahoma City, OK and David Anderson, Children’s Strategist, Louisiana Baptists, with Host Dr. Steve Horn, Executive Director, Louisiana Baptists, Alexandria.

  • Next Gen/Student LeadersTuesday, August 11th, 7:30-8:30 PM

Special Guests Blake Lewis, Middle School Pastor, First, Haughton; Ray McCon, Minister to Students, Walker, Walker and Brandon Lewis, Youth Strategist, Louisiana Baptists, with Host Dr. Steve Horn, Executive Director, Louisiana Baptists, Alexandria.

Mark these dates and times on your calendar and make every effort to join us live.

Facing Uncertainty

As I have talked with leaders across the State, I have heard a common concern, and I’ve heard it at my own church, as well. We have faced difficulties before. We know how to ride out a storm. We know how to survive a downturn in our economy. We have seen riots, faced racial division and political tension before. What almost all of us are struggling with now, is UNCERTAINTY.

When will things get back to normal? Can things even be normal again? How do I trust the information I am getting? Who can I trust? People desperately want to get back to some resemblance of normal but our Government, the news and the doctors all tell us that we must slow down, protect ourselves and others. Some people don’t have jobs right now. There are questions about school. Will they open? How will they operate? Will kids practice social distancing? Will they wear a mask?

Everything is different now. Human beings like some sense of normal. We need something to count on. We need something to depend on. What is going to happen to our country, our state, our jobs, our schools, our economy, etc.? The answer; nobody really knows. The “so called experts” don’t really know. They are making educated guesses, but they still don’t know for certain if and when everything will go back to normal.

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 (CSBBible). BUT WITH GOD. The first time I finally stopped long enough to read those words, it profoundly changed how I viewed God. Regardless of what is happening around me, there is always a “But With God”. This is not some cheap slogan or catch phrase; this is a truth. No matter the uncertainty, “With God” all things are possible. God knows what has happened, what is happening and what will happen. He is in control. He is at work. 28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (CSBBible)

Knowing this truth probably will not relieve you of the stress that uncertainty brings. But with God, it is enough to know that He is in control and working out His will to accomplish His purpose. This truth helps us to know that we can and we will get through this. I don’t know what is going to happen. I don’t know if and when things will get back to normal. But With God, I do know that HE is in control and working on our behalf. Because, With God, all things are possible.

Re-Engaging Your Sunday School or Small Groups Ministry – Pt. 4

Part 4 – Ministering and Caring for One Another

34 “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (CSBBible). The weekly Worship Service is designed to show our love for God as we Worship and praise Him together. It is in the small group or Sunday School class is where the church is organized to care for one another. This critical aspect of your small group or class is key to a healthy, growing church.

During this pandemic, we have learned how truly important it is to stay connected and look for opportunities to pray for one another, encourage one another and help one another. Jesus described this as how the world (everyone) would know we are His disciples. At the same time, the Bible describes the church as a family. Family takes care of family. We are also described as a body; working together to accomplish the work of God, for His glory.

The secret to a healthy, growing church is a vibrant, healthy, growing small group or class. Don’t miss the opportunities this “slow down” has created for us. We need each other; even more so as we face the task of “making disciples” who will make disciples. We can’t accomplish our mission without God or each other. Let us Love One Another!

Still need more ideas?

Join us on Monday, August 10th and Tuesday August 11th, for Louisiana Baptists first ever, Digital ReGroup Conference. Not only will this be a timely message for those who lead the Sunday School and/or Small Group Ministry in their church, but ESPECIALLYfor all those who lead a class or small group every week. We need to prepare these wonderful lay people who have the responsibility of making disciples through their class or small group for the New Normal.

We are asking you to commit to one hour. Below, you will see the schedule and the people who can help us understand the opportunities and challenges we face for the next few weeks and months. The webinar is free. All you have to do is register and watch.

Registration is open now at www.LouisianaBaptists.org/ReGroup20

If you can’t participate in the live webcast, you can view it online. The recording will be available at our website by Friday, August 14th.

Here is the Digital ReGroup schedule:

  • Pastors/Staff/Key Ministry LeadersMonday, August 10th, 6:00-7:00 PM

With Special Guests Steve Bennett, Pastor, First, Moss Bluff, Matt Endris

Pastor, Fairview, Coushatta and Sean Keith, Sunday School/Discipleship Strategist, Louisiana Baptists, with Host Stewart Holloway, Pastor, First, Pineville.

  • Adult LeadersMonday, August 10th, 7:30–8:30 PM

Special Guest David Apple, Adult Ministry Consultant, Nashville, TN, and

Jeff Ingram, Adult Ministry & Church Administration Strategist, Louisiana Baptists, with Host Stewart Holloway, Pastor, First, Pineville.

  • Next Gen/Preschool/Children’s LeadersTuesday, August 11th, 6:00-7:00 PM

Special Guest, Mark Jones, Children’s Pastor, Quail Springs, Oklahoma City, OK and David Anderson, Children’s Strategist, Louisiana Baptists, with Host Dr. Steve Horn, Executive Director, Louisiana Baptists, Alexandria.

  • Next Gen/Student LeadersTuesday, August 11th, 7:30-8:30 PM

Special Guests Blake Lewis, Middle School Pastor, First, Haughton; Ray McCon, Minister to Students, Walker, Walker and Brandon Lewis, Youth Strategist, Louisiana Baptists, with Host Dr. Steve Horn, Executive Director, Louisiana Baptists, Alexandria.

Mark these dates and times on your calendar and make every effort to join us live.

Re-Engaging Your Sunday School or Small Groups Ministry – Pt. 3

Part 3  – Teaching a Life-Changing Bible Study

Now more than ever, people need to hear from God. 22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like someone looking at his own face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who works — this person will be blessed in what he does.James 1:22-25 (CSBBible)

Life-changing Bible study doesn’t just happen. People need to earnestly seek God. The leader of a class or group needs to spend time engaging in God’s Word and putting together the best plan possible to engage his or her members in the study and application of God’s Word. It is an honor and a privilege to guide people in their walk with Christ. Our goal should always be to make disciples who will make disciples. That is our mandate, our purpose.

Whether the people you lead are meeting in person or online, you need to pray for them and encourage them as servants of the Most, High God. People are struggling with their faith as they live in challenging and difficult times. People need to be reminded that God’s Word can and will be an encouragement to them as well as a guide for life.

People need to:

  • Engage God daily through His Word
  • Memorize Scripture to guide them daily through life
  • Weekly engage with others the truths of God’s Word and love one another

Still need more ideas?

Join us on Monday, August 10th and Tuesday August 11th, for Louisiana Baptists first ever, Digital ReGroup Conference. Not only will this be a timely message for those who lead the Sunday School and/or Small Group Ministry in their churches, but ESPECIALLY for all those who lead a class or small group every week. We need to prepare these wonderful lay people who have the responsibility of making disciples through their class or small group for the New Normal.

We are asking you to commit to one hour. Below, you will see the schedule and the people who can help us understand the opportunities and challenges we face for the next few weeks and months. The webcast is free. All you have to do is register and watch. If you can’t participate in the live webcast, you can view it online. The recording will be available by Friday, August 14th on our website at www.LouisianaBaptists.org/ReGroup20Recap.

Here is the Digital ReGroup schedule:

  • Pastors/Staff/Key Ministry LeadersMonday, August 10th, 6:00-7:00 PM

With Special Guests Steve Bennett, Pastor, First, Moss Bluff, Matt Endris

Pastor, Fairview, Coushatta and Sean Keith, Sunday School/Discipleship Strategist, Louisiana Baptists

  • Adult LeadersMonday, August 10th, 7:30–8:30 PM

Special Guest David Apple, Adult Ministry Consultant, Nashville, TN, and

Jeff Ingram, Adult Ministry & Church Administration Strategist, Louisiana Baptists

  • Preschool/Children’s LeadersTuesday, August 11th, 6:00-7:00 PM

Special Guest, Mark Jones, Children’s Pastor, Quail Springs, Oklahoma City, OK and David Anderson, Children’s Strategist, Louisiana Baptists

  • Student LeadersTuesday, August 11th, 7:30-8:30 PM

Special Guests Blake Lewis, Middle School Pastor, First, Haughton; Ray McCon, Minister to Students, Walker, Walker and Brandon Lewis, Youth Strategist, Louisiana Baptists.

Mark these dates and times on your calendar and make every effort to join us live.

Re-Engaging Your Sunday School or Small Groups Ministry – Pt. 2

Part 2 – Reaching New People

In the midst of trying to stay connected to the membership of our congregation, we must not forget or neglect those in our community who STILL need to hear the Gospel unto salvation and know that there is a church that cares about them. The Great Commission is still our mandate to Go and Make Disciples. The needs of those in our community without Christ or a church home, are similar to those in our church. Let’s not lose focus on the Main Thing. Besides, what our church probably needs more than anything is fresh perspective from new people. Also, new people know other people who may need Christ or need a class or group to minister and care for them.

Whenever your church begins re-engaging your classes or groups back on campus, or, into regular, weekly meetings, make sure you have a plan to reach out and connect new people. Let’s face it, maybe your classes or groups have become complacent or comfortable. This might be a great time to offer an opportunity to “mix things up”. Invite some new people. Take a chance and start a new group, join a different group or try a different time or location.

Here are three tips to make it happen when you re-engage your class or group.

  • Make a list – Make a list of people that you and the members of your group know that are not connected to a church or small group. Collect contact information for each person.
  • Pray for them weekly – Engage your class in praying for those people BY NAME every week. Ask God to speak to their heart about their relationship with you. Ask God to work in your life to connect with them in some way.
  • Invite them – Why not invite these new people to join you as you re-engage your class or group? It is a great time to connect new people. The worst that could happen is they say no.
  • Continue to pray and connect – Some people just need to know that you really care. If you do, then continue to call, email, text and visit. After a while, it may become apparent that they would rather you didn’t contact them so much. If so, just back off a little and continue to pray and focus more on those who are open to your contact. God’s timing is ALWAYS perfect.

Is it worth the time and energy to reach out, connect with new people and invite them to be a part of your class or group? Yes, Yes, Yes. It’s worth it. Need more ideas?

Join us on Monday, August 10th and Tuesday August 11th, for Louisiana Baptists’ first ever Digital ReGroup Conference. Not only will this be a timely message for those who lead the Sunday School and/or Small Group Ministry in their church, but ESPECIALLY for all those who lead a class or small group every week. We need to prepare these wonderful lay people who have the responsibility of making disciples through their class or small group for the New Normal.

We are asking you to commit to one hour. Below, you will see the schedule and the people who can help us understand the opportunities and challenges we face for the next few weeks and months. The webcast is free. All you have to do is register and watch (registration will open mid-July). If you can’t participate in the live webcast, you can view it online. The recording will be available by Friday, August 14th on our website at LouisianaBaptists.org/ReGroup20Recap.

Here is the Digital ReGroup schedule:

  • Pastors/Staff/Key Ministry LeadersMonday, August 10th, 6:00-7:00 PM

With Special Guests Steve Bennett, Pastor, First, Moss Bluff, Matt Endris

Pastor, Fairview, Coushatta and Sean Keith, Sunday School/Discipleship Strategist, Louisiana Baptists

  • Adult LeadersMonday, August 10th, 7:30–8:30 PM

Special Guest David Apple, Adult Ministry Consultant, Nashville, TN, and

Jeff Ingram, Adult Ministry & Church Administration Strategist, Louisiana Baptists

  • Preschool/Children’s LeadersTuesday, August 11th, 6:00-7:00 PM

Special Guest, Mark Jones, Children’s Pastor, Quail Springs, Oklahoma City, OK and David Anderson, Children’s Strategist, Louisiana Baptists

  • Student LeadersTuesday, August 11th, 7:30-8:30 PM

Special Guests Blake Lewis, Middle School Pastor, First, Haughton; Ray McCon, Minister to Students, Walker, Walker and Brandon Lewis, Youth Strategist, Louisiana Baptists.

Mark these dates and times on your calendar and make every effort to join us live.

Rethinking Care Teams

Many Sunday Schools have organized the class to better meet the needs of the group. The goal of care teams usually centers on making sure specific needs of group members don’t go unmet, or they function as a tool for keeping up with all the people in the group. There is nothing wrong with these objectives, and they both have value.

Let’s look back at Flake for a moment. Flake emphasized that everyone can serve in some way in and through the Sunday School. What if we thought of care teams as a means of providing a vehicle for people in the group to serve as opposed to only as a way of discovering needs?

If we begin to think in terms of finding ways for people to serve, then we may also realize the fallacy of the teacher doing it all. We may be able to keep up with everyone in the group, but at what expense? We have people in the group who can serve, and we are cheating them out of the opportunity by not letting them do so. The greater goal is not about keeping up with the group. The greater goal is helping the people in the group develop and grow spiritually, and serving is a means of accomplishing that.

Creating Care Teams

Let’s look at the steps we may need to take to establish, re-institute, or redefine care teams.

We need to begin by defining what we are trying to do. In the past we may have defined the purpose in terms of keeping connected with everyone on the ministry list. Instead, we need to find a way of bringing serving to the forefront. We might use terms like providing a vehicle for serving, for making a difference in the lives of others, and growing through serving others.

The purpose of care teams is different from the prayer partners suggested in Chapter 2. Prayer partners are about building community while care teams are about providing a means for serving. Both involve prayer, but they do so with a very different focus in mind. We could combine the two with prayer partners being assigned within care groups, but doing so may impact the fostering of community within the group as a whole.

How can you redefine for your group the purpose of care groups in terms of serving?

After we articulate the purpose, we can then focus on the specifics. We need to define the expectations for each care group leader. Do we expect them to simply contact the people on their lists and offer to pray for them or will we expect them to do more? What do we consider a contact—text, call, or personal visit? We may want to incorporate a monthly prayer time at the end of the group time for care groups to pray together. If we do that, then potential care leaders will want to know that they are responsible for facilitating that prayer time. Communicating clear expectations to potential care leaders helps them know when they succeed.

Next, we can focus on determining how many care groups we will need. If we lead a co-ed group, we need at least two care groups, one for the men and one for the women. A good rule of thumb would be one for every four to seven group members of the same sex. The number of people assigned to each care group needs to be manageable and allow for more to be added as the group reaches more people.

Some may choose to exclude those who never attend, missionary members, prospects who have yet to attend, or those who attend every Sunday. It makes sense that we include everyone on the ministry list. The smaller the number of people we include, the less the opportunity to serve. We may want to create a care group made up of only missionary members (people who would be in our class if they were not teaching elsewhere), but we need to include them in some way.

If we have nineteen on our ministry list, plus four missionary members serving in other groups, we will need four to six groups (if starting with groups of seven, 19 + 4 + us = 24; 24 ÷ 7 = 3.4 so we round up to 4; if you start with groups of four people, 24 ÷ 4 = 6).

Once we know how many care groups we need, we can then consider how we will secure these care leaders. Every option comes with pros and cons to each. We can present the idea of care groups, asking for volunteers to approach us. Some who we never thought would be interested will express interest, which can be a pro or a con. We can identify people who could (and should) serve and approach them individually until we secure the number we need. This puts the burden on our backs, but we know the people we approach will be vetted. We might even consider a three or six month rotation system, giving everyone the opportunity to serve as a care leader in the course of one or two years. The only problem is not everyone will want to serve, so this leaves some holes. Some have even utilized an alternating month approach to involve more, but this also can create an inconsistent atmosphere.

What approach of selection do you believe will best serve your group and why?

While we are on the subject of rotation, we need to consider the length of time we are asking care group leaders to serve. Providing a set end date makes it more inviting for the recruit. In most cases, a commitment of one year works best. We can give them the opportunity to do it again after a year and may even give them a different group for which to care. If a group has a difficult time committing to a year, we might even consider a six-month commitment. The issue is setting a time that works for the group and then sticking with it.

Re-Engaging Your Sunday School or Small Groups Ministry – Pt. 1

Part One – the Introduction

Are you like me, growing weary of hearing or talking about Covid 19? When are we ever going to get back to normal? Even so, it is our current reality, and we talk about it because it affects our everyday lives.  But, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be talking about and planning for Sunday School and Small Group Ministry to resume on our church campuses. “When” and “how” are important questions that we must use to address, plan, and prepare.

In our planning and decision-making, we need to be mindful of the following: 1) Sunday School and/or Small Group ministries in our churches’ are foundational to the health and growth of our churches. The longer we go without regular, on-campus or online meetings, the harder it will be to re-build our ministry. 2) It is important to make sure that our members and guests are able to come back to a safe, clean and healthy environment. 3) As we maintain or restart our ministry, we must ensure that it is biblically-based, ministry-focused and continues to connect new people to the Gospel and a small group of people that will teach and minister to them.

So, on Monday, August 10th and Tuesday August 11th, Louisiana Baptists will host our first ever, Digital ReGroup Conference. Not only will this be a timely message for those who lead the Sunday School and/or Small Group Ministry in their church, but ESPECIALLY for all those who lead a class or small group every week. We need to prepare these wonderful lay people who have the responsibility of making disciples through their class or small group for the New Normal.

We are asking you to commit to one hour. Below, you will see the schedule and the people who can help us understand the opportunities and challenges we face for the next few weeks and months. The webinar is free. All you have to do is register and watch. If you can’t participate in the live webcast, you can view it online. The recording will be available by Friday, August 14th on our website at www.LouisianaBaptists.org/ReGroup20Recap.

  • For Pastors/Staff/Key Ministry Leaders – Monday, August 10th from 6:00-7:00 PM
  • For All Adult Leaders – Monday, August 10th from 7:30–8:30 PM
  • For all Preschool/Children’s Leaders – Tuesday, August 11th from 6:00-7:00 PM
  • For all Student Leaders – Tuesday, August 11th from 7:30-8:30 PM

Mark these dates and times on your calendar and make every effort to join us live…you’ll be glad you did!  Stay tuned for more details!

Scattered

COVID 19 Update—Be a lamp.

When the Stay at Home order was first given in March of this year, I was anxious and fearful. What kind of impact was this going to have on me, my family, my work, my church, and our world? I was not prepared for all that would happen. But, I do trust God, don’t I?

God has a way of getting our attention. In the midst of this pandemic, I focused on doing one thing every day–“to just keep going and trust God.” I do not control my circumstances, but I do control my actions in the midst of them. I determine who I trust and in whom I place my faith.

In my daily Bible reading and prayer time, I searched for purpose and meaning to it all. Then I remembered that in the book of Acts “the church was scattered.” I saw lots of parallels to what was going on in my life and in our world. I re-read Acts chapters 6, 7, and 8 and was struck by the boldness of the early church. The church was growing daily, in spite of all that was happening around them. In these chapters of the book of Acts we are introduced to the story of Stephen. At his death, persecution broke out and the church was scattered.

Of course, I would not call the Coronavirus a persecution, but it is a pandemic. It scattered us to our homes. We became isolated and separated. But, the church didn’t close. We are the church. We began to meet as a congregation in our living rooms. We met in groups via Zoom or on the phone. We prayed for each other and checked up on one another. We found hope in the midst of a pandemic! The church was still open and doing His will.

Change is not fun. But ask yourself, what is God wanting us to focus on? Did God allow us to scatter so that we could focus on spreading the Gospel to our families, to our neighbors and to our peers, like never before? Has God strengthened you spiritually? Is He working in the lives of your family and friends? What is God preparing us for, in the days ahead?

Acts 8:1,4 (CSBBible)

1 Saul agreed with putting him to death. On that day a severe persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the land of Judea and Samaria. 4 So those who were scattered went on their way preaching the word.

My Sermon Outline

  1. The Cause for the Scattering – a severe persecution.
    1. The opposition came from the religious leaders.
    2. The Church grew in-spite of the opposition – In Acts 2:41, 2:47, 5:14, 6:7, we learn that the Gospel was spreading.
    3. Stephen Stoned to death – All restraint was removed and Saul led an all-out attack on the church.
  2. The Act of Scattering – Separated, set apart.
    1. They scattered – Some because of grief and some because of fear
    2. They left everything.
    3. Everywhere they went, people were hungry for the gospel, for the truth.
  3. The Action of Those Scattered – They preached the Word.
    1. The Gospel was spread throughout Judea and Samaria
    2. When the persecution started, it moved the spread of the gospel to parts it had not reached before.
    3. One author described the movement as lamps. As each lamp scattered, more lamps were lit.
    4. They left because God called them to be a light in a dark world.

Note: This past weekend, I preached this sermon at Philadelphia Baptist Church in Deville, LA. You can view the entire sermon on Facebook at facebook.com/pbcministry. Soon, it will be online at video.pbcministry.com/.