My friend, Rick Howerton of NavPress, has written a great blog post entitled 4 Reasons Why Your Group Isn't Evangelistically Missional. In Rick's post, he states:
Not every group is going to experience leading the masses into a relationship with Jesus. Every group should be evangelistically effective at some level though. So, why is it that some groups are ineffective when it comes to being evangelistically missional?
Rick then shares four reasons why groups are not "evangelistically missional" or outwardly focused. In the post, Rick is more focused on small groups than on Sunday School, but I will share his four reasons in all capitals followed by my commentary about the Sunday School.
1. THE LEADER ISN'T PRAYING ENOUGH. How can you follow Him when you fail to talk to Him? If you are praying, you will be in agreement with a great God. If you are praying, how can you help but have His compassion for lost people? The prayer life of the teacher will show. It will naturally result in conversation about the relationship with God. It will naturally produce response. Encounters with God in His Word and in prayer result in change in the life of the individual. Pray for a personal and a class outward focus.
2. THE LEADER OF THE GROUP ISN'T DIRECTING THE GROUP TO HAVE AN OUTWARD FOCUS. How can you expect the class to have an outward focus when they have not been led in that direction? Pastors and Sunday School directors have the responsibility of leading teachers in this direction. But even in the absence of regular reminders from the pastor and director, teachers have responsibility for leading the sheep they steward for God. Lead the class to pray for lost people. Lead the class to see needs in the community and world. Lead the class to identify needs on which to pray and focus attention and ministry. Lead the group toward an outward focus.
3. THE GROUP LEADER DOESN'T CONSISTENTLY REMIND THE GROUP THEY EXIST TO BRING OTHERS INTO A RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST. Even with prayer and leadership, sometimes groups forget. It is easy to get caught up in life, personal priorities, and current agendas. Classes need regular reminders of their purpose. They need to be reminded often about the needs of people around them. They need reminders about the consequences of not "going." You could set aside a regular time, perhaps monthly, to give emphasis to the need for an outward focus for the class and individuals in the class. You could enlist a class Mission Leader whose responsibility is to keep the class focused outwardly on a regular basis. Remind your group regularly about why an outward focus is needed.
4. THE SMALL GROUP LEADER ISN'T MODELING AN EVANGELISTICALLY MISSIONAL LIFESTYLE. Leadership is more caught than taught. It is more impacted by example than by words. Take some with you when you minister to others. Invite them to your home when you entertain lost neighbors. Invite them to assist you on a mission project in the community, state, nation, or world. When they see your focus, it will be natural for them to realize that the focus should be theirs as well. Your example really does make a HUGE difference. Personally model an outward focus.
Wow! Rick provided a great challenging reminder of how to build momentum for our classes to become outwardly focused. Check out his entire post: 4 Reasons Why Your Group Isn't Evangelistically Missional. Pray. Point. Remind. Model. Be evangelistic. Be relational. Be missional. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!
For more idea about leading your class toward more outreach, check out these blog posts:
- Steps Toward a Sunday School Outreach Lifestyle
- Sunday School Outreach Ideas
- Reaching Lost/Unchurched Sheep Through the Sunday School
- Calendaring Sunday School Growth
- Grow Sunday School by Inviting People in the Sanctuary
- Flake’s Formula for Sunday School Growth: Go after the People, Part A
- Helping Sunday School to Focus on Prayer for Outreach
- Ideas for Making Friends Through the Adult Sunday School Class
- Thanksgiving Sunday School Class Projects
- Sunday School of Irresistible Influence
- Creating Sunday School Class Outreach Momentum
- Sunday School Partnering Together with Vacation Bible School
- Pray for God to Use Sunday School
- Grow Sunday School by Reaching out to Family Members
- Do You Pray for Sunday School?