In Part 1 , I mentioned that too many disciple-making opportunities are missed in early moments of Sunday School lessons. The teacher and group members arrive late, time is wasted, and expectation and attention are poor. What can be done to fill these critical early moments with life-changing potential?
In this three-part series, I will focus on nine vital disciple-making actions during the early moments. I shared in greater depth on this subject in my book, Disciple-Making Encounters: Revolutionary Sunday School . In Part 1 , I addressed expectation, early arrival, and teaching space preparation. In Part 2 , I will address fellowship, starting on time, and prayer. Evaluate yourself in these three areas:
- Fellowship. Caring, interested, and light-hearted conversation prior to the lesson can help build trust and relationships. Coffee or refreshments are optional. Listening is important. The group is more likely to sense God’s care when it is reflected in care for each other.
- Starting on Time. If we wait for everyone to arrive before we start, they will wait for us to start before they arrive. Offer incentives for early or on time arrival–then put up the refreshments and gets started. Communicate why starting on time is important for group members and their children. Move opening announcements and prayer to the end, and start with the lesson. Address habitually late arrivers privately and lovingly.
- Prayer. If the group is small, there may be plenty of time for sharing requests and praying. In larger groups, it may be necessary to get into smaller groups to share and pray. Or like my class, you may choose to send a clipboard around to write down prayer requests to be sent out in an email on Monday. At minimum, a natural part of leading the group to meet God in Bible study should include leading them to pray together, in subgroups, or privately. Ask God to bless and speak through the Bible study experience.
People arrive with expectation. They arrive early. The space is ready. Fellowship is warm. The group session begins on time with a time of prayer. Wow, I want to be in Bible study with that group! In Part 3, I will address capturing attention, reviewing previous lesson and application, and previewing today’s lesson. Early moments matter. Don’t waste a minute! Make disciples. Be revolutionary!