The church is reopening! In some places.
My church reopened Sunday School three weekends ago. Attendance has been robust compared to pre-COVID numbers. For that we are thankful. But we still have people who cannot or will not return just yet. As your church begins to reopen Sunday School groups, how can you minister to those people who are not back on campus? One of the greatest things you will do is to make sure that people have Bible study materials in their hands. “Discipleship doesn’t take a week off,” said one friend of mine. Nor does it take months off, like has happened in some churches during COVID-19. If you are reopening groups or about to, here are 6 ways to get Sunday School materials into people’s hands.
- Mail them. This is the most expensive of the suggestions I have, but it makes sure that people who are AWOL stay connected to your church and to their Bible study groups. Use a large envelope, slide in a Personal Study Guide (up to 2 for married couples…one each!), and write a short hand-written note of encouragement. Many churches have not seen senior adults return in significant numbers, and younger couples are also waiting it out because of concerns for their children. Mailing study guides to these people provide a way for them to (1) keep up with their group members who are on campus and (2) provide them a study tool that helps them self-feed.
- Drop them off. This can be done via porch visits. You’re not trying to get inside a person’s home, you’re just spending a few minutes on a person’s porch, having a quick conversation, and giving them their Personal Study Guide. It’s also good to offer to pray for the person, and to give them any updates about the church family.
- Hand them out on Sunday. If your church hasn’t started groups again, but you have re-started on-campus worship, distribute Personal Study Guides before and after the worship service. Place stacks on tables, or hand them out at a guest center. It’s a good reminder to members and guests that your church values groups, Bible study, and the value of Personal Study Guides that provide commentary, questions, the insights of authors who help us navigate sometimes complicated passages in the Bible.
- Hand them out on a Saturday. Man churches (including mine) have resorted to a fun way to hand out curriculum on a weekend day. Drive-through distributions are becoming more popular with congregations who are “on the go.” A person sits outside underneath the church’s covered driveway during set hours (I did this from 1-3PM on a Saturday) and hands out Bible study materials to teachers and group members as they drive through. It takes about 30 seconds per car, and you can distribute a lot of curriculum quickly!
- E-mail them. If you have access to the digital versions of the Personal Study Guides (my company produces digital versions of everything it creates in print), you can e-mail those copies weekly. To learn more about that, click here.
- Have copies in the church office. People who are reticent about returning to a worship service or a Bible study group may feel much more comfortable dropping by the church office during the week when very few people are around. Keep Personal Study Guides handy and within reach at the church office, and invite people to swing by and take their copy home with them.
You may have another idea about how to get study materials into people’s hands. What did I miss on this list?