Many kids are getting used to new rooms. Students are getting acquainted with new leaders. Some adults have returned to their classes while others have left their groups to become missionaries to kids. There is new energy and enthusiasm. Here are a few tips to sustain momentum throughout the new year:
-- Recognize the new team of Sunday School leaders in worship.
You can make this as creative as you like. But at least ask all the new leaders to stand and be recognized by the congregation or have them come down front for a commissioning charge and/or prayer. Preparing a bulletin insert listing the classes and names of the leaders would be another way to recognize these folks. You might even wait until mid- or late-September to make sure everybody is included, especially those who have signed on after the beginning of the year.
-- Acknowledge workers from adult classes who are helping with kids and students.
Make a poster, decorate a bulletin board, or create a portable display (think science project tri-fold board) with names -- or even better, photographs -- of the members who are serving as "missionaries to kids" from your class during the new year. If you prepare a bulletin insert as suggested above, consider including the designation of the leader's adult class in parenthesis behind their name. Make sure every member of your adult group serving with kids and students is assigned to a care group leader. If you can only enlist one care group leader, enlist one for them!
-- Assign members to care group leaders.
A new year is a great time to divide adult classes into care groups of 5-7 men or women and enlisting someone to stay in touch with the assigned members. The job description is simple: contact every member every week. It doesn't have to be a long conversation. A quick call will do. Also, I suggest care group leaders seldom mention attendance. The goal is simply to check in, even if the person was there last Sunday. Stuff happens to attendees during the week, too!
-- Encourage social activities.
Help people get to know each other. In a children's class, think of an activity that will help the parents get to know each other. In an adult class, don't forget to invite the missionaries to kids from your class.
-- Give leaders a small gift.
A book is always good. A personal note inside each book would make it extra special. If it's not too big a task, ask the pastor to sign it, too. You might do this at Christmas. Start shopping now. The all-time favorite among my teachers was the book "Easy for You to Say!" -- a guide to pronouncing Bible names. One year I gave "Serendipity" Bibles. Another year, when the budget was tight, I bought an inexpensive devotional book and wrote personal notes to each person.
-- Rediscover the practice of literature distribution.
Churches used to make it a normal practice to deliver a copy of the personal study guide to each member on the class roll. It only requires a short visit at the member's door. Try not to get in -- just drop by for a quick chat and hand the member a copy of the book as a tangible demonstration that the class is not complete without them. Take a copy to prospective members, too. You may be surprised how many will show up as a result of the personal visit. That's momentum.
David Francis is director of Sunday school for LifeWay Christian Resources. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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