Right now you have a choice of being prepared for the upcoming year or starting behind and probably never catching up. You may be thinking, “It is way too early to start thinking about 2012!” Actually, if you do not get some critical things set in place right now, you will be playing catch-up the rest of 2011 and the first half of 2012! Getting these seven steps done now is the difference between having a successful 2011/2012 or wasting a valuable year God has given your church to make disciples.
For many churches, the new year does not start January 1. It begins in mid-August with the beginning of the new school year! The key organization that has got to be ready at the end of the summer is the Sunday School. If the Sunday School is not organized and ready, the rest of your church’s ministries will probably lag as well.
Steps to take to prepare for now for a strong Sunday School year!
1) If you have not done so already, register to train your Sunday School leaders at One Day Live, an equipping strategy that just about any church; metro, rural, suburban, or county seat, can do itself. One Day Live also features a live simulcast with Dr. Johnny Hunt on August 28, at 5:25 pm. One Day resources were mailed to every pastor in Oklahoma this week. Register your church for One Day at www.bgco.org/oneday. It is vital that your Sunday School workers not only receive proper training, but also get some strong motivation as well. One Day can help the local church accomplish these two needs.
2) Re-enlist your Sunday School leaders. Do not take your Sunday School teachers and directors for granted. Personally re-enlist every one of them as soon as possible and share what you expect them to accomplish in the upcoming year.
3) Start some new groups. Study your Sunday School rolls. Where could some new groups be started? Is there a people group or area of town that is not being reached with the Gospel? Start new groups for them. You will not reach people you are not prepared for.
4) Enlist new leaders. You will need new leaders to start these new groups, plus you are going to have some leaders this year who will choose not to teach this year. Enlist these leaders as early as possible and train using the “New Leaders” seminars, found on the One Day Live CD-ROM.
5) Plan a powerful promotion day in August. People have been away this summer on vacation, camps, trips to the lake, etc. Your Sunday School leaders need to call every person enrolled in their class the week that you promote and start the new Sunday School year. Make it a big day and get a great start to the new year.
6) Follow up on guests and families that attended Vacation Bible School, camps, or church during the summer. Each guest should receive a minimum of a phone call, and preferably a personal visit.
7) Put dates on the calendar this fall for weekly outreach and commit yourself and your leaders to be bold with the Gospel. Personal visitation is hard work, but if you are going to have a growing, evangelistic church – shoe leather is required! Consider a “Centerpoint” project, a monthly outreach into the community surrounding the church. For more information about Centerpoint, go to www.bobmayfield.com/centerpoint.
Finally, commit to the Sunday School as your church’s primary evangelism strategy. Small groups of people committed to God’s Word and making disciples across the street and around the world is one of the most effective evangelistic strategies of a local church. A few hours of sweat equity now in the heat of the summer will provide a valuable base to start a new Sunday School year!