What are you doing to help those in worship to move into Sunday School/small groups. This transition has been the subject of much discussion recently. It is the focus of the Stanley/Joiner/Jones book, 7 Practices of Effective Ministry. It is also broached in the Rainer/Geiger book, Simple Church.
This transition is important for several reasons. For one, classes/groups are more personal. They encourage relationship-development. They also tend to produce more growth in knowledge and practice as a disciple. Application and accountability are encouraged. This transition also strengthens considerably the assimilation efforts of the church. Evangelism efforts are also undergirded. In addition, this transition into classes/groups tends to prepare and encourage transition into ministry.
With that background, how can we move people out of worship and into Sunday School/small groups? What have you found to be successful in helping people make this transition? I have seen many transitional actions work well. Consider some of the following:
- regularly preach about the value and importance of Sunday School/small groups;
- provide class/group registration cards in worship at the conclusion of a message about Sunday School/small groups;
- regularly share testimonies from the pulpit about the benefits of Sunday School/small groups;
- change your church membership policy so that it requires new members to join and become active in Sunday School/small groups;
- practice Zone Offense as suggested by Josh Hunt in You Can Double Your Class in Two Years or Less (spread your class/group around the worship space and make friends with any guests which might fit into your group);
- at least once each month set up a booth outside your sanctuary for people to sign up to become a part of a class/group;
- as often as needed, invite worshippers to a small group launch event (after worship or another time) in which new classes/groups will be formed during the event;
- announce the birth of every new class/group in worship, inviting worshippers to pray, join, and invite people to join; and
- every week obtain a list of all worshippers who completed a registration card who might fit into your class; invite these prospects to your next fellowship, to class/group; ask them to share prayer requests.
Those who do not connect in Sunday School/small groups are more likely to drop out. Those who drop out tend to stop growing as disciples and stop serving our Lord by serving others. This is poor stewardship. The body of Christ cannot afford to allow this to happen.
For additional ideas, check out Increasing Interest and Attendance in Sunday School, Part 1 and Part 2 and How Can We Get New Members in Sunday School/Small Groups. Prayerfully consider your current strategy for moving people out of the sanctuary and into classes/groups. What is working? What could work better? Which of these actions might supplement or replace pieces of your current strategy? Where do you need to start? Take a step this week in that direction! Be revolutionary!