This past Friday night, my wife and I hosted a fellowship in our home for our Sunday School class at Northwest. We had a great group (21 people) and a great time together, even though some of our group members drove over 40 miles to get to us (we live in the country). During the course of our fellowship, I discovered that another guy in our group and I share a similar appreciation for history and biographical books. While we were having a share time, one of our ladies told us of a need of a young boy at her school. We gathered around her and her husband prayed for them and for this young boy.
I’ve been very concerned lately about the lack of fellowship among many Sunday School groups. Apparently, church leaders have been assuming that their groups are having regular fellowships. Now we find ourselves in a position where fellowships are not as frequent as perhaps they should be.
Let me share some reasons why your group needs to fellowship frequently:
First, it’s just fun! But it is more than just fun. My friend David Francis shares that Sunday School provides much needed “social space”, a place where people can meet and get acquainted. Without Sunday School and class fellowships, many churches would not have a way for people to connect and begin forming valuable relationships.
Second, the better your group knows each other, the more open and honest they will be with each other later. Prayer requests will become more personal. The group can and will discuss deeper biblical issues. If you want to have transparency in your class, a good way to help create it is by having frequent fellowships.
Third, I generally find that classes that fellowship together often have some deeper friendships emerge. Some men discover they all like to golf at a fellowship and a few weeks later, they’re on the golf course. Some ladies discover some common interests and the next thing you know, they are meeting for lunch. Part of what social space does is create opportunities for people to get to know each other so that they can develop deeper friendships.
Here some some ideas to help your group have better, more frequent fellowships:
- Put them on the calendar. I recommend monthly, but plan them several months out so that people can adjust their calendars.
- Plan them. At our fellowship, we provided baked potatos and people signed up to bring the extras, plus desserts and drinks. Enlisting people to bring food encourages their attendance.
- Have some share time. Our group’s department director is just awesome at this. Ron asks the group a couple of questions that leads people to share. This is how we discovered the prayer need of one of our group members.
- Offer an option. Although our group fellowships in a different home each month, we also meet in the church foyer one Sunday a month and go out to eat together.
- Nametags. Assume that you will have newcomers, and there is nothing worse than being new, having a conversation with someone, and you don’t know their name!
I would encourage you to make fellowships a top priority in your group…