When I started this series, I only envisioned two parts. In fact, I had to go back to change Part 1 and Part 2 upon finishing Part 2 when I realized how long the post was. I had promised in Part 2 to close with a simpler version of the two-part system for small classes (under 15). Thus, that simpler version became Part 3. But upon finishing Part 3, I realized that the series is still not complete. An additional "elaboration" of one small but important piece of the two-part system is still needed. Allow me to review.
Part 1: Each class has at least two greeters to welcome and register guests, sit with and introduce them, and after class walk guests to find children, restrooms, and worship. In worship, they sit with and introduce guests to those nearby. At the end of worship, class greeters thank guests for attending, ask if they had any questions, and walk them to find preschoolers and the parking lot. Then in 48-72 hours, greeters call guests to let them know how much they enjoyed being with them in class and worship, invite them to a class fellowship, share and ask for prayer requests, and pray together. After the call, greeters pass the baton (contact information and responsibility to continue care) to class care group leaders.
Part 2: Care group leaders care for 3-5 enrolled members and 3-5 guests/prospects. They make contact weekly: invite to an upcoming class fellowship or project, share/ask for prayer requests, share about the upcoming lesson, and pray together. On Sunday, care groups gather for five minutes to take roll, share prayer requests, pray together about needs and assigned guests/prospects. Care groups plan two class fellowships and one class outreach/ministry project each quarter. Also, care group leaders pray for, enlist, and train apprentices. They meet monthly to check on care and apprentice progress, hold groups accountable, handle problems, and prepare for communication. When lesson plans call for group work, the teacher gathers care groups with the care group leader or apprentice serving as facilitator. The care group also holds each other accountable to practice a daily quiet time, employ spiritual disciplines, and participate in discipleship experiences.
Part 3: To adjust the two-part system so it works even more simply in a small class (under 15), add one more responsibility to those of care group leaders: to serve as class greeters. In other words, the two-part system becomes one-part.
In Part 2, I mentioned the importance of care group leaders praying for, enlisting, and training an apprentice care group leader. This enlarges the care of the care group and class. But here is the Part 4 elaboration. The teacher has a responsibility to grow the class and to start another class. Thus, the teache r, like the care group leader, pursues an apprentice. In fact, as the teacher observes the care group leaders and their apprentices, one or more of them will likely rise to the teacher's attention. Since many of the responsibilities of the teacher are being carried out by the care group leaders, they are already being trained and held accountable for much of the job.
Thus, the teacher prays for a potential apprentice and identifies and enlists him/her. Then the teacher begins additional training of the candidate(s), especially focusing on teaching, group leadership, and growth. Assuming the teacher apprentice was one of the care group leaders, he/she works through the year to prepare his/her care group apprentice to take over leadership of the care group by the time of the new class start. In fact, the teacher apprentice may also prepare the apprentice care group leader and/or the care group to go with him/her to start the new class.
Because of relationships in the care group, it would be natural for the care group to desire to be willing to go with the care group leader as he/she starts the new class. New classes are best started by a trained teacher/apprentice and a seed group of 1-5 other people. A care group would work well. In fact, it may be a great time to attract some of the guests/prospects since some find it easier to enter new groups than established ones. The teacher watches and prepares for the moment when care group leaders have trained their apprentices and have led their groups to multiply in order to launch new groups.
For response to some input on the two-part system, check out A Simple Two-Part System for Getting Sunday School Class Ministry Done, Part 5: Early Adjustments. If you have ideas or suggestions for improving this plan, let me know by pressing the Comments button below. What are you doing to pray for, enlist, and train an apprentice? More workers are needed in the harvest. It requires more shepherds to care for more sheep. A body which stops producing "new" cells stops growing and begins dying. Care well for people. Multiply yourself. Lead your care group leaders to do the same. When apprentices are ready, launch new classes. Be revolutionary!