Two days ago I released Part 1 of 2 posts on the top 10 goals for groups in 2021. We’ll have a short window of opportunity this year to restart and possibly reset Sunday School (insert whatever name your church calls it!) in our churches. This is the year that we will emerge from COVID-19. Will your group be ready? Going back to “business as usual” won’t be a great strategy, so now is the time to set goals and begin taking steps to improve the Bible study ministries in our churches. And we will do that one group at a time.
I believe there are 10 important goals for groups in 2021. You can read the first five by clicking here. Today’s post will present the last 5 goals that pair with the first five from the blog post on 1/5/21.
Goal #6: Release group members to start a new group. Sunday schools are not growing in part because new groups are not being started. Send a guest to a group that has been together longer than 2 years and chances are they will have a hard time being assimilated into the group. New groups are the places you want to send your newest members and guests. And remember, your teaching ministry will grow by 10 people on average for every new group you start. If you want to grow by 30 people in 2021, start 3 new groups. You’ll also want to start enough groups to cover your “churn,” which is the number of people who die, leave, or relocate. To extend this illustration a bit, if you want to grow your teaching ministry by 30 people like I said before, you’ll also have to start new groups to make up for the people who leave the church during the year! If you have 20 people who leave, you’ll need to start a total of 5 groups to grow by 30 people – 3 groups to grow by 30 people, plus 2 more groups to cover your churn.
Goal #7: Send “missionaries” into preschool, kids, and student ministries. As a group leader, hold onto your group members with a very loose grip. Your goal is not to build the biggest kingdom in the church. Your goal is to build the Kingdom. The volunteer leaders that teach preschool, kid, and student groups come straight from adult groups. Gently encourage (poke, prod, or push!) your group members to step out of your group for a year and become Bible teachers to the younger members of your congregation.
Goal #8: Serve the people in your community regularly. If your group hasn’t had a regular time each month or each quarter to get together for a ministry day in the community, let 2021 be the year you do that. Schools, shelters, crisis pregnancy centers, clothes closets, and food banks are just a few places that always need volunteers. And serving together will build camaraderie between your group’s members as they serve together. You’ll make a difference while you make memories.
Goal #9: Teach your group members to share their testimonies. People will engage others in gospel conversations if they feel equipped. Start by helping your group members write out their testimonies, sharing them with one another for practice. A person’s testimony can be broken down into three parts: life before knowing Christ as Savior, how the person came to Christ, and life after coming to Christ and beginning a life of discipleship.
Goal #10: Teach your group members a simple gospel presentation. Once you’ve helped your group members articulate their testimonies, go one step further and teach them a simple gospel presentation. I’ve used the One Verse Evangelism model with success – it’s a simple, one-verse presentation that is a “back of a napkin” conversation you can have quickly (most people won’t sit with you for hours to hear a gospel presentation, so we have to be ready to quickly give people a reason for the hope in us). Using Romans 6:23 (“the gospel in one verse”), most people can memorize it and use it as their go-to plan for sharing Christ.
If your church’s groups would swing for the fence in 2021 and meet many, or most, of these 10 goals, your church’s Bible teaching ministry will benefit greatly, and you’ll see people grow as disciples.
As we start a new year and begin to emerge from the COVID crisis, may you and your group be ready to do things differently for the sake of the gospel!
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Prayers for a better 2021!