Sunday School, Small Groups, and Online Groups

Groups are essential to the church’s strategy for discipleship, evangelism, fellowship, and ministry. Group discussion about God’s Word helps participants understand, own, and live out the truth.

Group study time, intentional activities, and caring ministry build strong relationships. Through research, Dr. Thom Rainer while at LifeWay Christian Resources discovered that when someone joins the church, 83% of those involved in groups were connected to the church five years later while only 16% of those not involved.

And groups are very effective in evangelism. In recent years, pastors across Kentucky have told me that 50-100% of lost persons who get active in Sunday School accept Jesus within 12 months. God can use caring outreach, relationships, and discussion about His Word to change lives! Allow me to help you with your ministry and strategy for Sunday School, small group, and online groups. 

Learn more and find opportunities and sources of help:

Consultations

Consultations are conversations designed to help you move forward in your plans. They involve listening, questions, and coaching. For your convenience, consultations can be in person, on the phone or Zoom, by email or text, and even through social media.

Topics for consultations depend completely upon your needs, big or small. They can range from starting Sunday School or small groups to setting up classrooms, from leader enlistment to improvement, from starting new groups to organizing to care for each other, and much more. Needs will determine the length and number of consultations required.

Let’s get the conversation started! Contact me at sundayschool@kybaptist.org or by calling 502.489.3341 or 866.489.3341 (toll free in Kentucky).

Training

Training almost always begins with a consultation. That is because most of the training provided is customized to your needs. For your convenience, training can be provided in person at your church, at a shared location (such as the associational office) or on Zoom. When scheduling your training event, begin by considering a day/time when you will be best able to gather your people, and we will work to find a date that will work.

Customized training focuses on the needs you have identified as priority. The length of training sessions depends on the number and complexity of the needs. For instance, a discipleship and assimilation planning retreat might require 5-6 hours while focusing on a single topic (such as resources, discipler meetings, coaching, or tracking disciples) may require 1-2 hours.

Topics, as mentioned in consultations, can be big or small. Training can focus on teaching by discussion, learning styles, making caring contacts, Sunday School records, writing job descriptions, adding a second Sunday School, setting up classrooms, inviting and enrolling new people, starting new classes, apprenticing new teachers, and much more.

Events

Typically events are statewide, regional, or associational. Events may include a statewide tour where content is delivered to multiple locations. An example of an event is EQUIP which provides training in a dozen ministry areas to ten locations across Kentucky.

Sunday School or small group events would follow a similar pattern but focus on issues related to groups. Some examples of recent events include MULTIPLY (leaders and groups), Rebuilding Sunday School (post-pandemic), Disciple-Making Encounters (lesson preparation and presentation), iCare (caring contact with members and prospects), Blueprints for Sunday School Growth (focused on growth actions), and more. Like Rebuilding Sunday School Post-Pandemic, events typically are responses to needs identified in multiple churches.

Resources

Here I want to share a few of the many resources available to help you in your Sunday School and small group work:

Blog

I hope you find much encouragement from more than 1,400 posts which have been written to help you with your groups. Let’s make our groups great! Let’s make Sunday School and small groups revolutionary. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!

Access Sunday School Revolutionary

Learn about the Discipleship Network of Kentucky

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Discipleship Network of Kentucky

Discipleship and Assimilation

Jesus commanded His disciples (including you and me) to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, CSB). Making disciples was not an afterthought for Jesus. He lived it out. For Jesus, evangelism and teaching obedience were not two separate things; they define discipleship.

In a 2017 webinar, Thom Rainer, who was then president of LifeWay Christian Resources, defined “discipleship” by saying:  “My simple definition of discipleship is when a follower of Christ becomes more like Christ.” I like simple. That is a great definition because there is room for every person to become more like Christ.

In Matthew 4:19 (ESV), Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” He did not say, “Follow me, and on your own you will become fishers of men.” He did not say, “Follow me, and study hard to become fishers of men.” He did not say, “Follow me, and the church will make you fishers of men.”

What did He say? “I will make you.” The change comes from Him, from following Him. The change comes by spending time with, walking together, listening to, and observing the life of Jesus. The more time you spend with Him, the more like Him you will become. Your thinking, attitudes, and habits will change. You will reflect His love and agenda.

Did I say agenda? The verse even includes His agenda: “make you fishers of men.” Luke 19:10 (ESV) states, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” When we follow Him, we become like Him. Being similar to Him is not enough. Our lives and agendas have a purpose: to seek and save the lost. Our goal is to carry out His Great Commission “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). The evidence of the change in our lives is in the fruit of our lives.

Assimilation is vitally connected to discipleship. Assimilation is not about numbers. No, this is a concern for individuals. It is a conviction that those who drop out stop growing to be like Him and stop serving Him. They cease growing as disciples. And the harvest needs more laborers (Matthew 9:37-38).

Thom Rainer, when he was president of LifeWay Christian Resources, identified four essential areas of assimilation: expectation, involvement, relationships, and small groups (check out Rainer’s Four Legs of Assimilation). Disciple-makers share expectations, encourage involvement and relationships, and seek to lead disciples to get connected in small groups. These four essential areas are the legs of a stool. All four are essential or the stool falls over.

 

Learn more and find opportunities and sources of help:

Consultations

Consultations are conversations designed to help you move forward in your plans. They involve listening, questions, and coaching. For your convenience, consultations can be in person, on the phone or Zoom, by email or text, and even through social media.

Topics for consultations depend completely upon your needs, big or small. They can range from discipleship materials to discipling steps, from launching a discipleship ministry to fine tuning disciple multiplication, from training greeters to developing a comprehensive assimilation system, and much more. Needs will determine the length and number of consultations required.

Let’s get the conversation started! Contact me at discipleship@kybaptist.org or by calling 502.489.3341 or 866.489.3341 (toll free in Kentucky).

Training

Training almost always begins with a consultation. That is because most of the training provided is customized to your needs. For your convenience, training can be provided in person at your church, at a shared location (such as the associational office) or on Zoom. When scheduling your training event, begin by considering a day/time when you will best be able to gather your people, and we will work to find a date that will work.

Customized training focuses on the needs you have identified as priority. The length of training sessions depends on the number and complexity of the needs. For instance, a Sunday School team planning retreat will require 5-6 hours while organizing for outreach may take 1-2 hours.

Topics, as mentioned in consultations, can be big or small. Training can focus on starting small, materials, practices, spiritual disciplines, greeters, encouragers, new member class, serving, discipling meetings, discipling coaches, multiplication, barriers, trust, and much more.

Events

Typically events are statewide, regional, or associational. Events may include a statewide tour where content is delivered to multiple locations. An example of an event is EQUIP which provides training in a dozen ministry areas to ten locations across Kentucky.

Discipleship and assimilation events would follow a similar pattern but focus on issues related to groups. Disciple-Making Encounters, Discipleship Trends, Groups-in-Person: Coming out of COVID are three recent examples.

Resources

Here I want to share a few of the many resources available to help you in your discipleship and assimilation work:

Blog

28Nineteen is a blog about disciple-making and assimilation. Its name come from the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20. More than 500 posts have been written to provide encouragement and help as you make disciples of all nations.

Access 28Nineteen Blog

CONTACT US:  sundayschool@kybaptist.org  (502) 489-3341 or  (866) 489-3341 (toll free in Ky.)