David Apple

If someone were to ask you, “What are the wins for an adult Sunday School group?” how would you respond? How can we tell if we’re successfully accomplishing what a group should be accomplishing?  Let me suggest ten things:

  1. Help people grow in love with Jesus and His Word. Ours is a head and heart and hands assignment.  Oftentimes we learn to love Jesus more during our own times of crises, transitions, and valleys.  It’s a WIN when we help believers experience the power of the gospel throughout transitions of life.  People in our group will more easily follow our model than merely our instructions.
  2. Help your class identify, invite, and connect with adults so they are part of an ongoing Bible study experience. It’s important to help each person feel part of the group when they can attend and during times of absence.  It’s important that we see our opportunity through the eyes of those who do not know the experience of Christian message, ministry and fellowship.  It’s a WIN if you help believers be on the receiving end as well as the giving end of Bible study, ministry, and fellowship.
  3. Help believers find ways to serve Christ. It’s a WIN if you help people minister to others individually and through those in the group.  It’s a WIN if God leads someone to leave the group to serve elsewhere.  It’s also a WIN if you multiply the ministry of the group.
  4. Help the group get larger by getting smaller. It’s a WIN when you start one or more new classes, start new ministry, impact new people, and send out new workers.  We often measure the success of a group by its attendance or enrollment.  Actually, the impact is best measured by how many groups of various ages and affinity groups we help start and strengthen.
  5. Help the class and the church discover new workers. It’s a WIN to identify people God is cultivating as well as people God has already gifted in areas of service.  Be on the lookout for those who can help with hospitality, with inviting others, with ministry skills and Christian disciplines, as well as for those who can help engage others in Bible study.
  6. Help the class send out and support “missionaries” to other adult groups, to Preschool, Kids, or Student classes and ministries. This helps change our mindset as a group.  We are intentionally part of a Kingdom strategy; we are a missionary training and missionary sending center!
  7. Help the class discover and build relationships with (new) people or affinity groups. Sometimes these may be people who are already targeted by the class.  Other times these people groups may be new or increasing in your area of ministry influence.  I’ll never forget when an older couple married and determined to discover and connect with people in their community who were newlyweds or nearly weds.  They focused primarily on adults in their sixties, seventies, and eighties who were getting married for the first time as well as those who were getting married after death of a spouse.  They discovered an affinity group that many others had not noticed.
  8. Pray for and support ministries through the church and not merely our own class. It’s a WIN when members connected with your group become interested in, involved with, and passionate about ministries God is leading through your church and through other Christians.  We get to help people discover opportunities to serve and to encourage them as they grow as followers of Christ.  It is energizing to be part of a group that routinely has one or more ministry projects such as adopting a family, a school, first responders, local or national ministry based opportunity.  We get to raise up prayer warriors as well as ministry leaders.  Believers grow in a passion for ministering by being ministered to as well as by ministering.
  9. Build time each session to focus on purpose. It’s a WIN to stay focused on teaching God’s Word, on ministry to members and prospects, to celebrate people with whom we are building relationships.  It’s a WIN to focus on prayer as well as hospitality during and apart from group gatherings.
  10. Help adults grow and multiply as disciples. It’s a WIN to intentionally help people grow as followers of Jesus and to help them invest in the lives of others.  As we focus on encouraging believers to engage in Christian disciplines (reading God’s Word, worship, ministry, giving, and prayer), we are helping them – and us grow as following of Christ.  That’s our job!

So these are ten “wins for a class – no matter how many or how few people are participating in the life of the group. Perhaps you could add additional wins to your list. The bottom line is, we win when we stay focused on our assignment and help other people to be focused on the work of God’s Kingdom.

David Apple is a BACE member and an Adult Ministry Specialist, LifeWay Christian Resources, Nashville, Tennessee