I love those commercials on tv where seemingly unconnected people do a small good deed that inspires a person watching nearby to do another good deed for someone else. It eventually returns full circle to the original person.
Has your Sunday School class or small group considered how your group is “paying it forward”? All too often we hear people at church state that they have “already put in their time”. Honestly, is that really a good enough reason not to serve in the preschool, or lead extended session?
Consider the potential in the following things that your group could do to pay it forward that would have huge impact on future generations of people.
Start a new group
Yes, let’s start with the big one first. Most groups are totally self-centered when it comes to starting a new group. For the most part, few people in the group realize that sometime in their church’s past someone ventured out to start the very group that they are a part of today. That’s right, your group would not exist if some people in your church’s history had not had the faith to pay it forward and start some new groups then, so that you could belong to your group today. Starting a new group is one of the most important pay it forward decisions that your group could ever do. So go on and dream a little and pay it forward by starting a new group.
Leave your group and serve
Leaving your group to teach, lead, or serve in other ministries of the church is another pay it forward moment. Just think, if you attend a group today, the reason your group is able to meet is because of the willingness of your group leader to step out and lead. He or she is paying it forward… and paying it to you. Keep paying it forward by stepping out to lead and serve. Read 2 Timothy 2:2 and capture an essential biblical concept in paying it forward.
Invest in Kids
The original Sunday School movment was about the kids. In reality I suppose, Sunday School itself is a pay it forward movement. Concerned Christians in Great Britain and later the United States wanted to change the future course of their country’s children by teaching them to read and teaching them the Bible. Even if God has not gifted you with the ability to teach children or teens, you can still do a lot! Here are just a few ideas:
- Participate in your church’s Disciple Now by bringing food to host homes;
- Open your home to youth fellowships;
- Adopt a children’s Sunday School teacher;
- Adopt a children’s Sunday School class;
- Include children and youth leaders in your group fellowships;
- Mentor teenager;
- Be a tutor at a local school.
Make disciples of your group
If you are a leader, make disciples of your group members. One of the biggest temptations we all face as leaders is making fans rather than making disciples. It is too easy for us to get swept up with the accolades and appreciation from well-meaning people in our group so that we forget that ultimately, these people need to leave and serve.
Pay the Gospel forward
I don’t know about your community, but Oklahoma is impacting fewer people with the Gospel than 75 years ago. Our groups should not sit in a circle (or rows) and cluck our tongues about the spiritual state of our nation. We must pay the Gospel forward! Opportunities to pay the Gospel forward are everywhere in our communities.
- Offer to pray with people when they share personal needs;
- As a group, adopt an unreached people group;
- Build relationships with neighbors and co-workers;
- As a group, adopt a needy family or do some mission work in your community;
- Pray for unreached friends and family members to receive Christ;
- Look for opportunities to put the Gospel on display.