Spouses who desire a vibrant marriage, intentionally commit to each other and invest communication, time, love, care, patience, and more in the relationship. Similarly, no class can experience significant growth while at the same time lacking commitment and ignoring the needs and relationships of members of the class. This post is number twenty of twenty following up How Can I Grow My Sunday School Class Numerically?. The twentieth method suggested there was this one: Don’t forget to maintain good connections with people already on the class enrollment (care) list. A desire for obedience to Jesus’ command to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20) expects growth and must address maintaining current connections.
What can your Sunday School classes do to lead attenders to commit and take steps to maintain great connections with each other? In Part 1, we will consider the first five of ten suggested areas:
- COMMITMENT. Talk about the ideal environment for growing as disciples. Talk about the ideal learning and ministering environment for a Sunday School class. Both require commitment to each other and to time spent together and with God. Consider adopting a class covenant and including several of these issues in the discussion. Keep absentees involved in this discussion. Seek their commitment as well.
- FELLOWSHIPS. Spend time having fun with each other. Eat, bowl, travel, have a hay ride, or watch a game. Gather as a group. Plan fun times regularly (ideally at least twice quarterly). Involve the class in suggesting ideas as well as in carrying out the plans. Plan and encourage spontaneous fellowship.
- PROJECTS. Often deeper and different relationships form when a group moves from having fun together to working together. Sometime the work is fun, but the group learns different things about each other. Often the project is memorable and forms relationships around the common experience. Share water at the soccer fields, share your appreciation with firemen, help at the soup kitchen, prayerwalk your community, or provide a meal for needy people at Thanksgiving. Consider short term and long term projects. Involve attenders in the planning and carrying out of the project. Plan projects at least quarterly.
- PRAYER. Pray together often. Share requests. Listen well. Pray as partners (two or three). Pray in chains or care groups. Pray in person. Pray by phone. When you promise to pray for someone, do it! Write it down. Check on the person and the outcome of the situation for which you prayed. Prayer together forms lasting bonds.
- EATING TOGETHER. You are going to do it anyway. Why not invite other class members (and absentees) to join you? Share lunch. Meet for breakfast. Invite them to your home. Meet at a restaurant. Plan a picnic. There is something relaxing about eating and talking together. Encourage the class to plan some spontaneous meals with class attenders.
Along with these five areas, what additional actions, big or small, would you add? In Part 2, we will consider five more areas. Challenge your class to take steps toward even more meaningful connections with each other. Commit to grow. Commit to care. Commit to communicate. Commit to have fun and learn together. Be revolutionary!