Many churches have good intentions when it comes to the Gospel and disciplemaking. However, few churches actually have a plan! There is a huge difference between good intentions and a strategy. But even a strategy is one step short, and the step that can still be missing is executing the strategy.
At the BGCO, we have developed a strategy that we believe is biblical and can be adopted by an evangelical church. You might use different terminology, but we believe that the best strategy for evangelism and discipleship is reflected in our new ReConnect Sunday School initiative. In this strategic initiative, we have four vital connections that a church makes in order to effectively make a disciple.
The Key Components of the ReConnect Strategy
We have found that many churches lack focus and alignment around a primary strategy (Go here for a post and short podcast about alignment). As a result, the church’s ministries and programs lack alignment and purpose. Ask your average church member to share their church’s primary strategy. I doubt you will find that they will able to state a clear, concise plan or that their strategies will even agree with each other. The church needs an overarching strategy that brings the church’s ministries into alignment and gives them direction. The ReConnect strategy is found in the definition. Clearly communicate your church’s strategy by defining the strategy.
Sunday School and small groups is a relationship strategy. We were made for community. Genesis 1:26-27 states that God made us in His image. But to quote it, God said “Let Us make man in Our image.” The Trinity is the first small group, it is the first ever biblical community and we are created to be in community with other people. ReConnect has four primary “connectors”.
Connect people to Jesus
At its very core, the Sunday School movement is evangelistic. A Sunday School or small group must be about connecting lost friends, neighbors, and family members with Jesus Christ or else it is not really a biblically functioning community. Luke 19:10 – “For the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost.” A Sunday School or small group is an outstanding environment for lost people to see the Gospel in action and for the Gospel to be clearly seen. ReConnect is focused on changing groups from being so inward focused that they miss their purpose of putting the Gospel on display.
Connect people to His Truth
Another essential of a biblically functioning Sunday School or small group is the study of God’s Word. As Jesus said in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in truth, Thy word is truth.” It is vital for every group to read, study, and apply biblical truth. The Bible is our primary way of knowing God and living a Christ-centered life. The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to us. If you want to know God, you have got to know your Bible.
Connect people to His community
A real joy of small groups is the sense that you belong. You belong to God and you are also part of a small group. Ministry is best done in an environment of small groups. This community is more than just feeling good about yourself and each other. It is vital to your spiritual development. Hebrews 3:13 – “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” A Sunday School or small group offers accountability to keep our hearts open to the moving of the Spirit and prevent the spiritual hardening caused by sin.
Connect people to His mission
Let’s communicate this clearly. God did not save you to occupy a chair. He saved you to be part of His mission of seeing the Gospel proclaimed to every people group. The ReConnect initiative is a strategy to help fulfill the biblical emphasis that we all are “ambassadors for Christ”. Small groups are incredibly effective at putting people on mission if the church and group leaders recognize that getting people on mission is part of the disciplemaking process. We want to do more than make a disciple – we want to make a disciple that makes other disciples.
We believe that the church is best situated to execute its vision and strategy of proclaiming the Gospel and making disciples through its Sunday School and small groups organization.
Next post: The three primary commitments of ReConnect Sunday School and how they are essential to executing a small group strategy.