Ideas for Impact
What kinds of churches can we become?
I've asked this question many times and usually get a similar answer. "Of all the things that helped you to grow spiritually the first few years you began to follow Christ, what were the top two?" The usual answers:
1. "A person who spent personal time with me to encourage, mentor and coach me. It was more than being in a class. It was a teacher, a youth pastor or some other friend who took time outside of a class to talk and listen."
2. "The times when I was actively involved. Instead of just sitting in a class and listening, I was involved in doing something - I served, I memorized, I read, I discussed, I served food at a homeless shelter, I built shelters in a third-world country, I visited a prison, I taught a children's class, I prayed for someone or I told my story of how God is working in me."
There are so many conferences, workshops, seminars, books and other training opportunities and they give so much information! Lots of great ideas! The challenge to me is ... can I condense the things I heard over several hours or days into a few things I can begin to do differently. In 2016 and 2017 our Association interns had the opportunity to lead a youth group Bible study for Middle and High School students at a local church for several months. We were interested - would the new ways of teaching the interns were learning be accepted and would it be more effective (as far as we could tell)?
1. Sit in a circle so we can see each other? - yes, interaction increased
2. Break the large group of 25 students into 4 smaller groups - yes, better participation
3. After the lecture part, have 6 or 8 discussion questions - yes, students liked it
4. Give every student the chance to share prayer requests and be prayed for - yes
5. Were new leaders attracted to come help? - yes
6. Did every student get a chance to read the scripture and make comments? - yes
7. Did students ask questions they were wondering about from the Bible? - yes
8. Did we get several people involved in creating discussion questions each week? yes
9. Were students stretched in their thinking, did they search to find answers? - yes
10. Did students and teachers say they liked discussion better than lecture? - yes
11. Did we involve more leaders and give them leadership training? - yes
Getting fresh ideas and new inspiration.
Most pastors I know read books and articles, attend workshops and join peer groups to challenge themselves with a steady stream of ideas for ministry. We ought to help the teachers in our church to do the same. Why not meet at least once a month with your small group leaders to brainstorm new ideas and let them share what they see God doing in their groups.
Every year, the Mid State Baptist Association offers three ways to encourage your teachers:
1. A once-a-year area-wide conference. (See below!)
2. A workshop at your church custom-tailored to your needs.
3. An opportunity for coaching any teacher at your church individually. I can meet with any teacher once or several times, once a week, once a month or as often as desired.
Strong Groups ‘17
Sunday School & Small Groups Conference
2nd Baptist Church Warner Robins, 2504 Moody Road, Warner Robins
Saturday, September 16 8:30 – 12:00 (8:30am is coffee & snacks)
Cost: No cost to attend
Registration: We will use online event registration for those coming
LifeWay They will set up a book table
Schedule: 8:30 am Coffee and snacks, Bookstore Open
9:00 am Welcome and introduction of speakers
9:20 am Travel to classes
9:30 am Workshop
10:30 am Break
10:45 am Bookstore closes
10:45 am Workshop
12:00 pm Conference Ends
Workshops on Small Groups:
Preschool Leaders –Keeping It Fresh & Creative While Teaching & Leading Preschoolers
Speaker/Leader…………………. Susan Allen, First Baptist, Statesboro
Children’s Leaders – Bringing Creativity To Your Teaching And Leading Of Children
Speaker/Leader……………….. Chris Giddens, First Baptist, Kennesaw
Children’s and Preschool Leaders – Ministering to Parents and Families of Preschoolers and Children through Small Groups
Speaker/Leader……………….. Josh Wilson, First Baptist Church, Moultrie
Student Ministry Leaders – Help, I’m A Student Bible Study Leader!
Speaker/Leader………………. Ricky Smith, Georgia Baptist Mission Board
Student Ministry Leaders – Engaging Students At A Deeper Level Through Bible Study
Speaker/Leader………………. Mike Ricks, Georgia Baptist Mission Board
Adult Leaders – Bringing Creativity and Variety To Your Teaching Of Adults
Speaker/Leader……………….. Kenneth Aycock, Hopewell Baptist, Gainesville
Adult Leaders – Involving Adults In Ministry and Missions Through Small Groups
Speaker/Leader……………….. Matthew Gibbs, Second Baptist Church, Warner Robins
Adult Leaders – Starting and Leading Small Groups in Homes
Speaker/Leader……………… Garry Goodin, Association Missionary, Mid State Baptist Association
Pastors, Staff & S.S. Directors – Developing and Leading A Successful Groups Ministry
Speaker/Leader……………… Tim Smith, Georgia Baptist Mission Board
Summer is almost here and most churches think strategically about having some outreach activities during the summer for children and teenage students - VBS, camps, mission trips, service projects and fellowship/outreach events.
Children and Teenagers
1. If your church leaders would like training or some help brainstorming about ways to reach out to children and teenagers during the summer, please call me at the Association office. I would be happy to assist or coach your leaders and help them get information and connect with leaders in our community who are doing a great job and are experts.
For example: the youth and leaders at your church could join the other 400 students at our Middle School and High School Lockin on May 5.
2. How can your church make the most of the 2 or 3 months when your college students are home for the summer?
3. Don't forget that there are thousands of single adults from 22 to 30 years old around the Middle Georgia area. Who do you have in your church that would have the best chance to connect with this age group? Plan a six-month effort to be intentional and provide opportunities to connect and serve and then see what God might do.
Article on millenials.
Whatever is at the top of your do list gets the most attention. If you are a senior pastor it might be preaching, teaching, preparing sermons, counseling, visiting homes, visiting hospitals, answering emails, paperwork, newsletters, staff and committee meetings.
Sometimes, things we want to do that might help our church to grow and make disciples gets pushed to the bottom of the list, because there doesn't seem to be enough time after we take care of all the weekly urgent tasks.
What are some of the things that get pushed to the bottom of the list?
If you can't find time to work these things into your schedule, find a volunteer who will take one of the above tasks and help you.