What are you doing to help those in worship to move into Sunday School/small groups. This transition has been the subject of much discussion recently. It is the focus of the Stanley/Joiner/Jones book, 7 Practices of Effective Ministry. It is also broached in the Rainer/Geiger book, Simple Church.
This transition is important for several reasons. For one, classes/groups are more personal. They encourage relationship-development. They also tend to produce more growth in knowledge and practice as a disciple. Application and accountability are encouraged. This transition also strengthens considerably the assimilation efforts of the church. Evangelism efforts are also undergirded. In addition, this transition into classes/groups tends to prepare and encourage transition into ministry.
With that background, how can we move people out of worship and into Sunday School/small groups? What have you found to be successful in helping people make this transition? I have seen many transitional actions work well. Consider some of the following:
- regularly preach about the value and importance of Sunday School/small groups;
- provide class/group registration cards in worship at the conclusion of a message about Sunday School/small groups;
- regularly share testimonies from the pulpit about the benefits of Sunday School/small groups;
- change your church membership policy so that it requires new members to join and become active in Sunday School/small groups;
- practice Zone Offense as suggested by Josh Hunt in You Can Double Your Class in Two Years or Less (spread your class/group around the worship space and make friends with any guests which might fit into your group);
- at least once each month set up a booth outside your sanctuary for people to sign up to become a part of a class/group;
- as often as needed, invite worshippers to a small group launch event (after worship or another time) in which new classes/groups will be formed during the event;
- announce the birth of every new class/group in worship, inviting worshippers to pray, join, and invite people to join; and
- every week obtain a list of all worshippers who completed a registration card who might fit into your class; invite these prospects to your next fellowship, to class/group; ask them to share prayer requests.
For additional ideas, check out Increasing Interest and Attendance in Sunday School, Part 1 and Part 2 and How Can We Get New Members in Sunday School/Small Groups. Prayerfully consider your current strategy for moving people out of the sanctuary and into classes/groups. What is working? What could work better? Which of these actions might supplement or replace pieces of your current strategy? Where do you need to start? Take a step this week in that direction! Be revolutionary!