What might happen in communities across the country if these churches prayed about starting new groups? What people groups might be reached? How many lost people might have their eternity changed forever? How many leaders might be trained? How many disciples might be made? How many workplaces and communities might have the light of Jesus shine in dark places?
People are waiting to be invited. Many will come if invited. Dr. Thom Rainer of LifeWay Christian Resources reported some research in Surprising Insights from the Unchurched: 62% of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to come if invited. The focus of the invitation in that research was worship, but many will come to our groups if invited as well.
On average a new group will grow to 10-12 in attendance and 20-25 in enrollment in 12-18 months. Some will be larger and some smaller. Home groups will often be smaller. Lost people will attend if invited. In fact, Ed Stetzer of LifeWay Research has stated that new groups will tend to reach 3 lost people.
There are more than 300,000 churches in the United States. Of those churches, more than 46,000 of them are Southern Baptist churches with more than 3,000,000 people in Sunday School each week. More than half of those churches average under 100 in Sunday School attendance.
Do some quick math with me. What if every Southern Baptist Church started one new group for every 100 people enrolled in Sunday School? That would result in more than 100,000 new groups which would average over one million in attendance in 12-18 months. Of those attending an average of 300,000 would be lost people. In my experience in Kentucky, more than half of lost people accept Jesus within 12 months of getting active in Sunday School. That means there would be more than 150,000 lost people to baptize. Can you imagine the impact of 150,000 new believers across our country?
In these classes, imagine a leadership team of 6 people: teacher, apprentice teacher, outreach leader, member care leader, greeter, and secretary. In smaller classes, these roles are combined. Imagine the impact of care with these people serving. Imagine the potential in the church for new church leaders being discovered as these leaders are discipled and learn to lead.
This is a worthwhile goal. Will you join me on the fourth Sunday of January, for National Day of Prayer for New Groups? Will you pray for…
- God’s will to be done
- groups to be started at church: preschool, children, youth, and adults
- groups to be started in our communities: homes, businesses, apartments, etc.
- leaders to be discovered, enlisted, trained, and mobilized
- lost to be invited, loved on, taught, and saved
- class care to be extended because of more leaders providing care
- more people in Bible study and ministry as a result of more groups
- disciples to grow from babes in Christ toward mature, reproducing believers
- ministry needs met and mission impact felt in the community, nation, and world
- and more (see Join Me in Prayer for New Groups Movement).
Will you join me? Set a time that fits your people. Since the date is a Sunday, prayer could take place before Sunday School. It could be during the afternoon. It could be in lieu of a Sunday evening worship service. Don’t rush the time. Pour out your hearts to God. Seek Him.
If you will join me on the fourth Sunday in January in praying for new groups, press Comments below. This can be a personal commitment, a class commitment, or a church commitment. There is power in prayer. There is power in praying together. I look forward to joining our hearts together in prayer. Let’s pray. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!