I believe every adult and youth Sunday School class or small group should seek to have care groups because of their benefits: prayer, ministry, assimilation, and invitation. Now, how in the world can care groups accomplish all that? I’m glad you asked!
ORGANIZATION OF CARE GROUPS. I differ slightly in the way I suggest care groups be organized. Care group leaders should be assigned 3 members and 3 prospects to pray with, contact, care for, lead the class/small group to meet the needs of, and invite to fellowships. In my experience, when a care group leader does those things consistently over time with prospects, some of them will attend and join the class, and some will be saved.
- PRAYER. Ideally, care groups should be given 5 minutes on Sunday morning (or at the small group meeting) to meet together to share needs and pray together. In addition, the care group leader calls the members and prospects in his/her care group each week. One of the things he/she does during the call is to share prayer requests of the class/small group and ask for prayer requests from the care group member/prospect. If appropriate, the care group leader may even pray by phone with the individual.
- MINISTRY. When needs of care group members/prospects are discovered, the care group leader seeks to meet those needs. This may be accomplished through the resources of the care group, the class/small group, the Sunday School, the church, or even the community. With a seeker, stressful times of life can be ripe opportunities to extend the love of Christ in a concrete way.
- ASSIMILATION. If a leader touches base with care group members in class/small group meeting, and he/she contacts members/prospects each week, that leader is going to know what is going on in the lives of his/her care group. The leader is going to notice when a member is absent or becoming irregular in attendance. Members will receive immediate care rather than floating away without receiving attention. Also, such caring, consistent contact will naturally lead to relationship-development.
- INVITATION. When classes are being cared for, they will be more likely to invite guests to class/small group meetings and fellowships. Attenders will also be more likely to suggest adding the name of a friend, relative, associate, or neighbor to a care group if they know someone will pray with, contact, care for, invite to fellowships, and lead the class to meet the needs of the individual. Furthermore, that loving, patient, consistent contact with prospects will lead some of the prospects to want to come to fellowships, to the Sunday morning experience, and to Jesus.
If you don’t have care groups, start working on them now. But be patient. Some classes have never seen them at work and take a while to catch on to the possibilities. Others quickly catch on. Release the power of care groups on your members and prospects, and watch what God does in your Sunday School or small group. Pray. Contact. Care. Be revolutionary!