Job Description: Sunday School Class Outreach Leader

Monday 18th September, 2017
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Leadership of class outreach efforts is essential to health and growth. Similarly, a job description for a class outreach leader is essential for encouragement and effectiveness. I offer a suggested job description and encourage customization. What are critical duties of a class outreach leader? Consider the following:

  • Pray: pray for the class people group assignment; for lost and unenrolled people; and for class actions to identify, care for, and reach lost and unenrolled people.
  • Develop a prospect care list: ask for names of friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors in your people group assignment who are lost or not enrolled in a class; determine a plan to pray for and contact prospects 2-4 times monthly; and update the list regularly.
  • Plan and invite prospects to fellowships and projects: plan one of each every quarter; make the event fun and easy to get acquainted; before the event ends, invite everyone to class.
  • Make consistent caring visits and phone calls with prospects: call/visit prospects; follow up on previous prayer requests; share class plans for lessons, fellowship, and projects; ask how you can pray for the prospect and his/her family; pray together; and report nonconfidential requests.
  • Send electronic reminders about class plans: to support caring contacts and class plans, communicate by email, text, and social media.
  • Enlist class greeters to ensure positive first impressions: welcome members and guests, register guests, encourage name tag use, sit with and introduce guests, and follow up with guests.
  • Invite prospects and guests to enroll: ask them if you can add them to the class care list for prayer, ministry, and fellowships; set a God-sized goal for new class members.
  • Offer testimony practice: lead members once a month to write it out, share it in pairs, share it with family, and then share it with prospects along life's path.

This valuable class team member leads the class to point outward. The class outreach leader is a cheerleader for prayer and care focused on lost and unenrolled people. Without new members, every class dies. This team member cannot be successful alone; class involvement is vital. For more ideas about outreach, check out these posts:

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Essential Actions to Increase Sunday School Attendance

Monday 11th September, 2017
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The actions listed will require leadership and intentionality. If Sunday School leaders do not want to work, the actions will simply create stress, resistance, and division. But in a revolutionary Sunday School, the listed actions will release power and energy, create excitement and momentum, and lead to maturational along with numerical growth. CAUTION: Work is required!

Consider the following if you want to grow your Sunday School:

  • PRAY. Don't overlook this action! Power, direction, and blessing will be missed without prayer. Pray for the following actions. Pray for leaders, members, and guests.
  • START NEW CLASSES. New classes add leaders, reachers, focus, energy, and excitement. On average, new classes grow faster than existing classes. A new class will tend to grow to 20-25 in enrollment and 10-12 in attendance in 12-18 months.
  • MAKE MORE CONTACTS. Increasing contacts with members and guests by 7-10 contacts above your usual number of contacts will result in 1 additional person in attendance. Want 10 more persons in attendance? Make 70-100 more contacts.
  • INVITE MEMBERS AND GUESTS TO FELLOWSHIPS AND PROJECTS. Fellowships (social) and projects (work/ministry) are great tools for developing relationships with each other. Why not invite guests? As guests get to know the people in the class, they will be more likely to attend the class.Offer one of each every quarter. Don't wait for them to attend class. Invite guests to your fellowship or project now!
  • ENLIST A CLASS LEADERSHIP TEAM. David Francis of LifeWay says in an article entitled, Sunday School is a Team Effort, if you are missing members of your team, you become that leader. If you want to increase attendance, you need everyone to do their job. It takes a team to invite, lead participants to discover God and His Word, and connect with each other and God (3D Sunday School).
  • SET NEW MEMBER, ATTENDANCE, AND CONTACT GOALS. Ask every class to set God-sized goals. Privately and publicly affirm classes who reach/exceed their goals. Make total Sunday School progress visual.
  • ORGANIZE TO REACH OUT AND MEET NEEDS. Enlist an outreach leader and a member care leader for every class to involve the class in discovering needs and mobilizing care to class members. Contacts to members and prospects are assigned weekly to listen, pray together, invite to fellowships/projects, and mobilize the class to meet discovered needs. Many Sunday Schools will increase in attendance if they work to keep people from dropping out. Classes will grow when they enroll more people than drop out. But care really matters!
  • LEAD MEMBERS TO SHARE A SUNDAY SCHOOL TESTIMONY. Help members assess the benefits they have received from being in Sunday School and practice sharing those benefits with each other in two minutes or less. Then challenge them to share their Sunday School testimony this week. Call for reports next Sunday. We must mobilize the laborers in our classes to be in the harvest.
  • START GROUPS AWAY FROM CHURCH. Some will never come to the church building. Surveys have shown that many who live in apartments are unchurched. Why not take Bible study to them? Research has shown that as many as 40% cannot attend on Sunday. Why not offer Bible study on weekdays at times and places when people can attend. Bible study groups can be an effective part of your Sunday School ministry.

Pray. Start new classes. Contact. Invite. Enlist a team. Set goals. Organize. Share testimonies. Start off-site groups. Make disciples. Be revolutionary! For more information about growing your Sunday School, check out these blog posts:

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Relationships (Plural) Matter in Sunday School

Tuesday 5th September, 2017
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In my doctoral research, I discovered that Sunday School dropouts tended to have two or fewer "friends they can call on in time of need." Those who had six or more friends, tended to be the most frequent attenders. Relationships (plural) matter!

Want to keep new people connected? Want to keep long-term members connected? Your group members need more than a relationship with you. They need relationships. What can you do to encourage multiple friendships? Consider the following:
  • Teach about the importance of connections. Don't assume they know. Don't try to sneak it in without them realizing it. Be open and honest. Understanding and ownership of the need are great steps.
  • Have private conversations. Seek out individuals you fear may disconnect. Share your concerns and ask how you can help.
  • Enlist a member care leader to help. This individual encourages contacts with absentees, plans fellowships and projects, encourages serving, and works to deepen and multiply relationships.
  • Offer fellowships and projects. Offer social and serving activities in order to enrich relationships beyond group Bible study time.
  • Observe interactions. When individuals appear to have few connections with your group, enlist group members intentionally to befriend them.
  • Spend time in smaller groups. Break your group Bible study time into pairs, triads, quads, etc. Give them assignments. While this is not enough for relationships to develop, it can help in affinity discovery and trust-development.
  • Notice when absent. Make contact with an absentee--even when you know why they are not present. Let them know they were missed. Express your care--without producing guilt.
  • Minister when in need. When there is a need, respond in care. Listen. Be present. Help. Relationships grow or drift apart during times of stress and need--depending on how we respond.

Teachers need help. Pray. Enlist a member care leader. Then together lay out a play for improving connections. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!

For more ideas, check out these posts:

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Sunday School: Reigning in a Talker

Thursday 31st August, 2017
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Does your Bible study group have a member who talks too much? How is it impacting your group? Are members starting to avoid your group or join other groups?

What can you do with someone who is overly talkative? I want to encourage you to watch a video by my friend, Josh Hunt. In the video entitled, How to Muzzle a Talker, Josh offers many practical suggestions.

I also want to encourage you to check out three blog posts in which I addressed this topic:
Watch and listen to the conversational dynamics during your group time. If one person tends to talk much more than everyone else, work to balance the experience. The more others are involved, the more satisfaction they will receive from the learning experience.

One final suggestion, make sure you are not the one who is overly talkative. If you talk more than half of the time, work to decrease your talking and to increase that of group members. Get them into groups. Ask questions. Give assignments and ask for reports. Instead of answering every question yourself, ask the group to answer them.

Keep everything you do centered in God's Word. Lead them to listen more to Him than to you. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!

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Starting a New Year of Sunday School, Part 2

Monday 21st August, 2017
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A new year of shepherding the disciples in your Sunday School class is near. What will you do to get ready?

In Part 1, I mentioned that my wife is a middle school math teacher. For her, there are four important areas of preparation for the new school year:  training, planning, room preparation, and relationships. In this four-part series, I want to focus on those four areas of preparation as they relate to Sunday School. In Part 1, I focused on training. In Part 2, we will examine planning.

Our Lord and His sheep in our care deserve our best efforts. That means planning is needed. Gather a team. Pray. Evaluate. Set goals. Make plans. Provide training. What is there to plan? Consider a few ideas:
  • LEADERS. Study your Sunday School organization. Are additional leaders needed? Which ones? Where? Prayerfully plan to enlist those leaders.
  • CLASSES. Study your organization. Are some age groups missing? Plan to start a class. Are some age groups too full? Plan to start another class. Is there an affinity group in the community that needs to be reached? Plan to start a class. Each class you start usually will grow to 10-12 in attendance and 20-25 in enrollment in 12-18 months.
  • CLASS LEADERS. Study your classes. Which classes need additional leaders in order to improve the span of care? There should at least be one leader for every five persons on the class list. Prayerfully plan the enlistment of needed outreach leaders, member care leaders, apprentice teachers, and greeters.
  • TRAINING. Study the needs and practices of your teachers and workers. What training is needed? What focus is needed? Who will lead the training? When will it be scheduled? What method of training will you use? Prayerfully plan for training at least twice each year.
  • ENROLLMENT. What can be done to enroll new people? Sunday School does not grow without new people. How will you challenge your members to invite people? How will you train your people to invite people to be added to your class care lists? Prayerfully invite and enroll new people.
  • GUEST FOLLOW UP. How will you ensure that guest follow-up is consistently done in a timely fashion? How will you train your classes to make caring contacts? How will you check on progress and affirm good work? Prayerfully plan guest follow-up.
  • FELLOWSHIPS/PROJECTS. To keep members connected, they need to know each other better than Sunday only. To lead guests to get to know us better, they also need opportunities beyond Sunday. Prayerfully plan fellowships (social) and projects (work) and invite members, absentees, and guests.

What would you add to this beginning list? Gather your team to pray and plan. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!

For more ideas about planning, check out these posts:

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Give Away of 100 SMALL Sunday School Changes

Monday 14th August, 2017
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In the Foreword of this book, David Francis, says:

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 book may seem inconsequential taken alone. But put 50 or 60 or 70 or 80 into practice and see what happens!

The book is divided into ten parts: teaching and learning, evangelism and reaching out, enrolling new people, caring for members, enlisting leaders, mobilizing the class of mission, leader development, making disciples, using classroom space well, and administering the class well. The 100 SMALL Changes articles came from the Sunday School Leader blog and were written by Sunday School champions across the country.

The book is available on Amazon Kindle for 99 cents. But for those who Subscribe to the blog during the month of August 2017, you will receive a PDF version of this book. Only NEW blog Subscribers are eligible. Those who Subscribe will receive my new posts by email about once a week.

To receive 100 SMALL Changes, you must COMMENT to this post with your email address. DO NOT ENTER YOUR EMAIL WHERE IT SAYS SUBSCRIBE OR YOU WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE. In August when you comment with your email, I will subscribe you. All previously subscribed emails will be ineligible.

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Starting a New Year of Sunday School, Part 1

Monday 7th August, 2017
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A new year of shepherding the disciples in your Sunday School class is near. What will you do to get ready?

My wife is a middle school math teacher. For her, there are four important areas of preparation for the new school year:  training, planning, room preparation, and relationships. In this four-part series, I want to focus on those four areas of preparation as they relate to Sunday School. In Part 1, I will focus on training.

Your Lord and His sheep in your care deserve your best efforts. That means training is needed: for new ideas as well as improvement of current practice. What kind of training will help you become even more effective? Consider these six ideas as you start this new year of Sunday School:
  • FOCUS. Determine your area(s) of greatest need. Start by addressing priorities. If you need help thinking of the most important areas needing focus, talk to a friend, your Sunday School director, or your pastor.
  • READ BOOKS. Read books and commentaries which help you better understand the context/background of Bible books you will be studying. Read books about teaching, reaching, and member care. I would encourage you to get a copy of my book, Disciple-Making Encounters: Revolutionary Sunday School. For free help, check out the great short downloadable books (PDF) by my friend, David Francis. Read books about the generation(s) in your age group: Silent, Boomers, Busters, etc.
  • READ ARTICLES/BLOGS. There are many sources for help here. There are many blogs offering devotionals and teaching plans that accompany LifeWay curriculum series and others. Sunday School University offers video previews of LifeWay series lessons for reasonable prices. This blog with over 1,200 posts is very searchable. You can also search the web and find much useful information--just be careful to check out the reliability of the source.
  • ATTEND CONFERENCES. Ask your pastor/Sunday School director to bring in a trainer or training team for your church. Share a topic or a need with your pastor or director. Attend an associational, state, or national conference. Super Saturday is an example here in Kentucky. LifeWay will offer an On Track Sunday School conference in March 2018.
  • MEET WITH A FRIEND OR GROUP. Share ideas. Determine priorities. Read and discuss chapters of books. Take turns preparing or leading the conversation. Add food and childcare as needed.
  • OBSERVE. When you are away from home, attend a Sunday School class. Pay attention to everything. Look at room arrangement. Look at the greeting process. Listen to announcements and prayer requests. Observe the teaching-learning process. What are areas your class does well? What could you or your class learn from this class?

What would you add to this list? Press Comments and share your ideas. Check back for Part 2 where I will focus on the important preparation areas of planning. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!

For more ideas about training, check out these blog posts:

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Developing New Sunday School Teaching Habits

Monday 31st July, 2017
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Habits are usually developed over time. To become a habit, actions must be repeated. Some habits are chosen and others are encouraged (think brushing your teeth). Some habits are good, and others are bad. Consider this question: how do you establish good habits and end bad ones?

When you discover better ways to teach, how do you make sure they become part of your practice? How do you ensure they become a regular part of your preparation and presentation routine? How do you end bad practices and start better ones? Consider these ideas:
  • talk about the practice with a friend
  • practice the new behavior
  • set a goal with a deadline
  • write out a flexible weekly plan outline
  • ask someone to hold you accountable (to encourage your progress)
  • ask someone to help you with the new practice/behavior
  • make it a regular part of your preparation routine
  • introduce the new action to your class in small doses and watch for feedback
  • evaluate your experience and work toward improvement on the behavior.

From your experience, what ideas would you add to this list? Continue to learn. Continue to try new teaching preparation and presentation behaviors. Give God and His people in your care your best effort. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!

For more ideas about teaching, check out these posts:

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Sunday School Conferences at Super Saturday 2017

Monday 24th July, 2017
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Training Is Needed

I pray that you have seen lives changed, leaders developed, new people reached, unsaved introduced to Jesus, and new classes started through your Sunday School this year. As you plan for the start of another Sunday School year, I am sure you recognize the value of training every Sunday School leader to carry out this vital work. The Kentucky Baptist Convention provides high quality, practical training for all areas of ministry through Super Saturday.

What You Will Learn

Training offered addresses: Church Finance, Church Revitalization, Collegiate Ministry, Discipleship, Evangelism, Preschool & Children, Sunday School, Women’s Ministry, WMU, Worship & Music and Youth. Click here to download a complete list of training being offered.

2017 Dates & Locations

All six Super Saturday events run from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM, local time:
  • AUGUST 19, Lexington, Immanuel Baptist Church, 3100 Tates Creek Rd, Register
  • AUGUST 26, Erlanger, Erlanger Baptist Church, 116 Commonwealth Av, Register
  • AUGUST 26, Paducah, First Baptist Church, 2890 Broadway St, Register
  • SEPTEMBER 9, Owensboro, Walnut Memorial Baptist Church, 519 W. Byers Av, Register
  • SEPTEMBER 9, Pikeville, First Baptist Church, 126 4th St, Register
  • SEPTEMBER 16, Louisville, Highview Baptist Church, 7711 Fegenbush Ln, Register

Sunday School Conferences

Here are Director and age group Sunday School conferences offered this year:
9:00 - 10:00 AM:
  • Directors:  Grow by Praying and Planning
  • Adults:  Your Example and Time with God Matter (conferences divided by age groups)
  • Youth Ministry:  Sunday Morning Strategy
  • Preschool & Children:  Keeping Kids Safe
10:15 - 11:15 AM:
  • Directors:  Grow by Adding Classes
  • Adults:  Lead Your Class to Care for Others, Lead Your Class to Care for Each Other, and Grow by Adding New Members (Lexington and Louisville only)
  • Youth Ministry:  Twelve 24: Reaching This Generation of Students
  • Preschool & Children:  Impact Young Lives for God
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM:
  • Directors:  Grow by Adding Workers
  • Adults:  Plan for Increased Interest and Retention, Lead Adults to Apply the Lesson, and Continue Learning Beyond Class Time (Lexington and Louisville only)
  • Youth Ministry:  The Life of a Youth Worker
  • Preschool & Children:  Keeping Kids Safe, Impact Young Lives for God
For descriptions/benefit statements for these conferences, look for the link in the "What you will learn" section above.

Cost Is Very Affordable

Individuals can be trained for $15. A maximum church cost of only $75 means bringing a large group fits every budget. Sign up your group now. Press the Register button above next to your location of choice.

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Help, I Need More Sunday School Teachers, Part 2

Tuesday 18th July, 2017
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Replacing teachers who are stepping aside and discovering teachers for new classes can be tough. What can we do in those moments? In this two part series, I want to offer a response to the crisis of teacher shortage. In Part 1, I shared ideas for when the teacher shortage crisis comes with little or no notice. In Part 2, I will share ideas for planning ahead to be prepared for these unexpected times.

Life happens. We never know when some teachers or workers will choose to step aside. But some are easier to anticipate. A teacher is talking about retiring from work soon and relocating. Another is selling her home to move closer to her children. A teacher in failing health has been talking to his class about stepping aside at the end of the year. A couple teaching a coed class share with you about their burnout and need for a year off.

What can we do to ensure leaders are ready and available to step into vacated positions as well as to help start new classes that are needed? Consider these possibilities:
  • invite selected individuals to a potential teacher class six months in advance of when you will need new teachers,
  • ask current teachers to write down the name(s) of 1-3 people they believe would make a good teacher,
  • look through the list of VBS teachers and workers,
  • ask current teachers to apprentice a teacher before they step away,
  • ask current teachers to apprentice a teacher to be sent out to start a new class,
  • ask a potential teacher to read a book and talk about the chapters with you,
  • send a potential teacher into a class to observe a class for a month and debrief the experience weekly, and
  • help a potential teacher to prepare a lesson to be presented with the current teacher present followed by debriefing the experience.

These are but a few of many ideas. Keep your eyes and ears open. Observe. Listen. Ask. Invite. Don't make mass announcements about teacher needs. Be proactive about training one or more. Apprentice. Read. Work together. Be prepared before there is a need. Develop your leadership pipeline now. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!

For more ideas about raising up new teachers and workers, check out these posts:

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