36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:36-38)
Bible study is at the heart of spiritual growth and making disciples. We, however, know there are many people not involved. Today I want to share six ideas to assist you in reaching new people for Bible Study.
1. Try Bible studies in your home at a time other than Sunday morning. There are two reasons for this approach. One, a large population of adults work on Sunday morning. We need to offer studies at other times. Two, persons who are not in church feel less intimidated coming to your home for Bible study. You may get them in church after building relationships with them at your home.
2. Build relationships with worshippers who are not in Bible study and invite them. Get to know them and invite them to Bible study. I am surprised how many people who come to worship on Sunday morning won’t take the initiative to come to Sunday School, but will try it if asked by a friend. Having socials once a quarter and inviting these prospects will make it less intimidating for them to come to Sunday School.
3. Pay attention/build relationships to neighbors, co-workers and persons in your community, and simply ask if they attend a weekly Bible study. (If you ask them if they have a church home, they will more than likely say yes. They may not have been for twenty years, but it is their church home!) Asking about a weekly Bible study is more focused. I have seen this idea work! I know of a person who began coming to the Baptist Church for Bible study (because she was asked), even though she attended worship at the Catholic Church every week. (They did not have a Bible study class for her in the Catholic Church.)
4. Get contact information of new people at all major church functions and follow up. I know of many churches who bring in large crowds for cantatas, VBS, Passion plays, Upward Sports, ministry in the community and other events who are not intentional about getting accurate contact information about new people. It is important to follow up through visits, phone calls and social media and see if they attend a weekly Bible study. Invite them to a home group and Sunday School.
5. Provide new classes for affinity groups. Discover from the persons in worship (who are not in Bible study) what age ranges or affinity groups you may need to start. Perhaps you need to start a young couples’ class, divorced or single parent class. Go beyond just age and look at hobbies as well. Look at the needs and start new classes based on the need. (See the blog- Growing Your Church: Growing Your Sunday School for how to start new classes.)
6. Periodically offer specialized Bible studies. Have a six week class on Biblical Parenting or Marriage with this new class. Have breakfast and fellowship time fifteen minutes before the study with an existing class in their age range. What I discovered was new people who came specifically for the specialized class remained and went to the existing class, because new relationships formed.
There are many other practical ways to reach new people. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will share other ideas. May we be found faithful workers in reaching people for Christ through Bible study.