Ideas for Making Friends Through the Adult Sunday School Class

Tuesday 4th September, 2007

I have written about the importance of developing friends before, but the subject is just so important that I couldn't resist sharing another resource with ideas. My friend, Bill Alphin, has written a great article entitled Basic Adult Sunday School Ministry. On the second page, he shares a section entitled Helping Attendees Make New Friends in the Adult Class.

Here are the ideas he shares there for making friends:

  • Provide opportunities for fellowship. Sunday morning coffee time before the Bible study is an excellent forum for developing friendships.
  • Provide once a quarter a class fellowship activity/outing. This might be a picnic, a dinner, a bowling party, or any activity that gets people together in a relaxed and fun environment where there is opportunity to talk.
  • Invite the new attendee to join the class as soon as there is opportunity, preferably on the first visit.
  • Connect the new attendee with a class care group where there will be constant monitoring of attendance and needs.
  • Make new Sunday School members aware of ministry opportunities in the life of the congregation.
  • Provide a time for announcements about discipleship development or missions opportunities.
  • Encourage new members to become involved in learning beyond the Sunday morning experience.
  • Encourage those who want a deeper faith in God or a better understanding of the Bible study to participate in an appropriate small group where there is accountability and encouragement from small group members and leaders. These groups would meet at times other than Sunday morning.

Earlier in the document, Bill shares some ideas for assimilating guests in the above article in a section entitled How to Assimilate a Guest Who Attends the Sunday School. If we fail to make a good impression, guests will never become friends or members. Consider these suggestions Bill makes:

  • Take responsibility for getting them to the right place to be properly introduced.
  • Obtain information about guests and their family (if applicable) on the first visit.
  • Contact the guest within thirty-six hours of the first visit (according to John Savage). This contact is coordinated by the class outreach coordinator.
  • Follow-up contacts are coordinated by the class outreach coordinator with the help of others.
  • Make assignments during the fellowship time before or after class. Assignments can also be made by phone.
  • The class outreach leader receives a written report of all contact assignments the following Sunday, which helps with future contacts.
  • Continue the cylce because it sometimes takes many contacts to attend again and/or join.

For additional ideas about friendship-development, check out Ways Sunday School Can Encourage Friendship-Development and How Can You Invigorate Your Sunday School Class? and Helping New Sunday School Members Stay and Helping Sunday School Guests FEEL Welcome. Friendship development is an investment worth making. Put care systems in place. Take time with new faces. Be genuine. Follow up. Pray. Connect. Bef riend. Be revolutionary!

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