Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. (Luke 15:3-7 NIV)
In our final step for starting new classes, we need a deep commitment and passion for reaching people for Christ much like Jesus’ parable above. Every adult class ought to pray weekly in class to find ways to reach the lost and start new classes as a missionary endeavor. As you prepare to “go after the people,” I encourage you to consider the following:
Six months before starting a new class:
Enlist the workers (three- Teacher, Fellowship/Care Leader and Outreach Leader to begin praying and preparing- looking for prospects, deciding on the age group to reach and build relationships with prospects they know for this class. Meet with experienced workers in other classes to learn from them. Go to a training session in the association or in May at the Leadership Gathering at Eagle Eyrie.
Ask another class to begin praying for God to work in a mighty way through the three leaders and to open doors for prospects. This adult class should see the new class as an adoption on their part.
Three months before starting a class:
Continue to pray and have the entire church praying.
Decide on the first quarter’s curriculum as you talk to prospects and what their needs are.
Begin promoting the class in your church newsletter, worship bulletin, and in the community you are targeting with the topic you will start teaching. Use social media like Facebook and your website to help get the word out. There may be a specific neighborhood or group you are targeting. Get the adult class that adopted you to help spread the word.
For instance, in previous churches we started new classes specifically for parents of preschoolers, or parents of children or parents of youth. The first 8 weeks was focused on Biblical parenting. You may want to bring in a specialist in the age group to talk about developmental stages for the child- physical, emotional and spiritual in one of the sessions.
One month before the class:
Continue to pray.
Plan a social event and have the adult class that adopted you to host and help promote the event. Having a larger crowd for interaction would be great for both the class and prospects. Send letters, use e-mail, Facebook and other means to spread the word.
Commission the workers for the new class in worship. This is significant in two ways. It will validate the importance of these workers and their work. It will allow other classes to see the need to begin thinking about Sunday School’s significance as a missionary movement.
First day of class:
Have a breakfast for that class 15-20 minutes before the Sunday School hour to build fellowship. The sooner this new group can bond the better. Breaking bread together brings a different level of intimacy.
As we plan to start new classes, may we embody Luke 15 as we seek to reach the lost for Christ!