Ideas for Impact
What kinds of churches can we become?
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.
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.
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.
My last blog was from the point of view of the student - "What helped you learn and grow?" This time let's look at it from the point of view of the teacher. As a teacher, my greatest desire is to teach something that will then be applied and, as a result, lives will be changed. My train of thought might be something like, "I taught it (gave them a lot of good information) so I don't understand why they are not applying it!"
Sometimes we need to be reminded again about using teaching methods that will help people learn more effectively. Just saying it doesn't mean they learned it.Try one or all of these methods with your small group:
1. Ask group members to read the scripture for themselves, either at home the week before or right now in your group time.
2. Ask them to pick out one or two verses that stood out to them and tell why.
3. Ask a group member to come up with a question he is wondering about and would like answered.
4. Ask several people in the group to write two or three discussion questions about the scripture passage that would be interesting and helpful to talk about as a group.
5. Get a volunteer to be ready to tell a scripture story or passage in their own words when you get together next week.
6. Make time for your small group to have discussion about their understanding of a scripture verse and some of the best ways to apply it. Prepare 6 to 10 discussion questions or allow at least 30 minutes for discussion each time you meet.
7. Stretch the thinking of your group. Instead of a question like "What is one way that we could apply this verse?", instead push their thinking with "What are ten ways that we could apply this verse to our lives?"
8. Ask several group members to lead in prayer about the topic you are studying. "Help us to understand." "Help us to find the best ways to apply this."
9. As a group, memorize a scripture verse from the chapter you are studying.
10. Ask for a volunteer to be ready each week to tell a real life story about what he or she is learning in this area of their life.
11. Once a week, once a month or whatever your schedule allows, plan a service project to do together as a class. Practice, repetition and experience are the best teachers and the best way to learn something. The point of reading and discussing in our small groups is to lead us to the "doing" part.
James 1:22 says "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."