LeaderLines – from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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“Fajitas For Your Class?”
by Tom Goodman
April 7, 2005

Program Note:  Wow!  We expected thirty men for our first Men’s Fraternity breakfast last Tuesday and forty-two men showed up!  I think we’ve tapped into a real need!  Join us next Tuesday at six a.m. for breakfast tacos (optional, $3), a lesson, and round-table discussion.  Now here’s this week’s LeaderLines—

Two Adult Bible Study classes will enjoy a fajita dinner in eight weeks, and you can make sure that your class is one of them!

Last Sunday, Herb Ingram challenged his Adult Bible Study leadership to use April and May to increase the percentage of their membership in attendance.  The two classes with the most improved percentage will be treated to a fajita dinner.

The dinner just adds some fun to an important assignment:  Adult Bible Study is as much about building relationships as it is about building knowledge.  Herb’s challenge is for your class to spend a couple of months focusing on the relationship-building part of your class assignment.

A class can improve its percentage of attending members in three ways, and both are important to a viable Bible Study ministry:

First, trim your roll.  As you contact people, you will find some names that should no longer be on your roll.  They’ve either (1) died, (2) moved out of the commutable area, (3) requested to be dropped, or (4) become active in another church.  We encourage you to trim your roll as long as you state the reason you’re asking the office to drop a member from the central database.

This may seem like a nonproductive way to improve your percentage of attending members, but it’s important.  Every time you call absentees from your roll, you need to have the confidence that the absentees will be glad for the call.  I’ve taught Sunday School before, and there was nothing I dreaded more than having to call folks whom I knew had quit coming long before I took the class.  Why give yourself this kind of grief?  Identify those who no longer consider themselves part of your class and we’ll drop them.

Second, contact every absentee every week.  Folks, this isn’t a campaign slogan.  This is “Sunday School 101.”  If you aren’t doing this, your class has fumbled the ball behind the line of scrimmage.  Herb will be contacting you about your contacts, so recommit to this fundamental part of Sunday School work.

The best way to make regular contacts is by phone or e-mail.  A lot of people prefer to be contacted by e-mail these days—have you noticed on our pew Communication Cards that the e-mail address is now the first thing we ask people to give us?  So, make sure you have current e-mail addresses from your class members.  However, you should only contact absentees by e-mail if it’s a personal note and if you’re getting responses back.  Group e-mail distribution is great for announcing parties but lousy for saying, “I missed you.”  If you’re sending personal notes and not getting responses, it’s time to try the phone or a personal visit.

We don’t recommend that you rely too heavily on postcards as your primary way to contact unless it actually gets your absentees back into attendance—few classes could say it has.  We do recommend that you make a personal visit to homes of absentees who may have special ministry needs, and to homes of absentees who have become chronically absent.  Your personal visit will mean a lot in these cases, but your regular weekly contacts to absentees shouldn’t take more than an hour by phone or e-mail.

Third, enroll your unenrolled attendees.  Several of our classes have people who attend somewhat regularly and yet they haven’t been asked to join.  We see this on the records in the office and just scratch our heads in confusion.  Identify these folks and enlist them!  Their attendance isn’t helping your percentage of members attending until they become members!

If you’re not a teacher, here’s where you come in: your Adult Bible Study leader needs help with this work.  A class teacher is responsible to see that two things get done in his or her class: Bible teaching and relationship-building.  Your teacher spends enough time on the first part.  While he or she is responsible to see that the second part gets done, we want your teacher to find help in getting it done.

Would you be willing to take “point” on this work?  An hour a week could make a big difference in the lives of people God loves!  Contact your teacher today and tell him or her that you’re willing to step into this role!

I can hear those fajitas sizzling already.  Are they sizzling for your class?


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