Why are we content to write a “0” in the column “Outreach Bible Studies this week” on our Sunday School reports?
I remember a period of time many years ago when I served as the Sunday School secretary at church. I completed the attendance summary reports after they were turned in and it always bothered me when I had to write a “0” in the column “Outreach Bible Studies”. Week after week, I would do my job, but that lingering “0” just stuck in my head and I couldn’t shake it. Why was our church not involved in penetrating our community with opportunities for Bible study beyond the walls of the church? I made a commitment to change that in the years that followed and would seek out creative locations that could host a small group. It became a hobby of mine to look for unconventional places where community (verb) was already happening; it just needed an influx of discipleship and bible study. I would encourage my teachers to take their class to local fast food restaurants on Sunday morning and invite customers and employees on breaks to join them for a few minutes of class time as they taught the lesson right there in the dining area. A couple of my teachers started a truck stop ministry out by the interstate where they would share the Sunday School lesson to drivers who were passing through.
I also researched what other churches had done in the area of missional ministry and I found a few of the examples hit close to home. I remember my grandmother who would spend Sunday afternoons in a nursing home near her church in Shreveport to re-teach her lesson to any of the ladies there that were interested. In my home church, my dad would lead the singing and take turns teaching the Sunday School lesson at a local campground early Sunday morning prior to leading the same lesson on the local radio station one hour later.
I challenge you to make a point this next week to look around your city while you go about your routine and think of ways you can start missional small communities right where you live. Here are some ideas to help prime the pump.
- Hospital/ICU waiting area
- Coffee shop
- School teacher’s lounge prior to school starting
- Company break room during lunch hour or before work day
- City park/playground pavilion
Comment on this post and share your own ideas how you have penetrated your city with missional small communities.