What is an associate member? That’s a good question. For some of us, this is an old term. For others, it may be brand new. An associate member of an adult group is one who has identified himself/herself with a particular adult Bible study group, but has left the group to serve elsewhere. Perhaps it is the 40 year-old person who has left a woman’s Bible study class to teach in the kids’ Sunday School ministry. This new teacher would be an associate member of the woman’s Bible study class she just left. Associate members are in reality “missionaries to kids” or “missionaries to students and adults” because they have chosen to answer God’s calling to lead and teach somewhere in the Sunday School.
These associate members of adult groups normally have one big complaint: the adult groups they left forget about them! This is why it can be difficult to recruit new adult leaders throughout the Sunday School – the word gets out that if you volunteer to serve, you’ll be forgotten and you’ll lose all adult contact you once had. Since this is a problem in almost every church, here are 4 ways that adult groups can help their church by keeping associate members connected:
- Create a “hero” board in your classroom – Take a picture of the associate member and place it on a cork board or focal wall in your classroom. Identify the person by name, and by the age group they teach. Use this as a way to visually remind your group members
- Pray for them weekly – Don’t forget to lift up your associate members in prayer. Send them a note letting them know you prayed for them and their specific needs.
- Invite them to every fellowship – Again, this is the #1 reason why most adults do not want to leave their group to serve – they know they will be forgotten and left out of important fellowship opportunities.
- Serve in their place occasionally – Once or twice every three months, sign up people in your group to switch places and teach an associate member’s group so that person can rejoin the adult Bible study group for the day.
- Include them in your group’s emails – As you send out weekly emails detailing prayer requests, the group’s calendar, and other ministry opportunities, always include your associate members. They’ll appreciate staying connected to what’s happening in their former adult class.
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[…] Associate group members – These heroes deserve your group’s appreciation and remembrance when it’s time to get together and socialize. Associate group members may have left your group to serve other people in the church’s kids or student ministries, and they often miss adult fellowship. Keep these folks on your ministry role and invite them to every fellowship your group has. Associate members need to know they haven’t been forgotten, and they need to be affirmed for using their spiritual gifts elsewhere in the church and community. See my blog post on 5 Ways to Keep Associate Members Connected to your Group. […]