Our marching orders to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) are to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” This demands reaching new people, leading them to faith in Jesus, and helping them grow as His disciples. This series addresses reaching new people This is the twelfth post in a series about twenty methods on How Can I Grow My Sunday School Class Numerically?. The method listed there was this one:
Invite prospects to regular class fellowships.
You can ask many classes, and they will readily agree that are good at fellowshipping. They have fun eating, playing, and travelling together. They laugh, talk, and connect. Many of these experiences include food. And the class is probably good at eating too. So why not use something the class is good at to make more disciples, to reach more people? This is important in new class as well as those who have been together for months.
Jesus partied with tax collectors and sinners, and so should we. Invite them to your parties. If class members enjoy fellowships and partying, they will have more passion about inviting friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors (FRANs) to these fun times. That passion will communicate in the invitation, resulting in more people saying “yes.” These invitations should extend from attenders as well as from the teacher. Invitations by the teacher serve as an example for attenders. But attenders should be led to invite as well.
When connecting with prospects, attenders and the teacher should pay special attention to affinities of prospects–interests they share with other class members, Work to connect these people during fellowship experiences. When possible, plan a fun time that addresses some of these discovered affinities. Have a class member who connected with a friend who loves old cars? Plan a trip to a car show. Have an attender and her sister enjoy creative memories? Gather several in the class and/or church who enjoy this activity. Have a couple of hunters who have connected at work? Plan a hunting trip on someone’s farm.
In You Can Double Your Class in Two Years or Less, Josh Hunt encourages, “Invite every member and every prospect to every fellowship every month.” When class fellowships are planned monthly, you are never more than four weeks away from the next one. There is always one soon to which your class can invite FRANs. (And in the meantime, you can connect with prospects over a meal.)
When you invite and guests show up for a party, spend time getting to know them casually. Focus on listening. Share. Laugh. Eat. Have fun. Spend time with the guest, and introduce the guest to others during the fellowship activity. Especially try to connect any who may share affinities.
Before the fellowship is over, have someone designated to remind everyone about the lesson for Sunday and share any pressing prayer requests. This simple reminder helps the guests to understand that the group connects beyond that one time. Each person who has invited a guest, will want to thank him/her for coming and for the opportunity to get to know each other. When appropriate invite the guest to class on Sunday. But make sure not to say “no” for the guest!
What other ideas about growing your class through parties should be added? Press Comments below to share your experiences and ideas.
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