Born2Serve Ministries O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Ps 107:1


11 Characteristics of a Healthy Sunday School Class

I believe that every adult Sunday school class should be a greenhouse of dynamic spiritual growth.

Our church recently hosted our annual Open House and saw a large number of people saved. Whenever there is a surge of new Christians it is a great time to put renewed effort into the health of the Sunday school department. Every new Christian needs loving growth and discipleship, and the best way to insure this is happening is to encourage the health of the Sunday school.

What are the characteristics of a healthy Sunday school class?

A compassionate teacher—There is far more to being a Sunday school teacher than preparing and delivering a weekly lesson. A compassionate teacher will see the needs of people and care for members of their class. Especially, they will reach out to those who are new and work to quickly assimilate them into new relationships in the class.

Biblically practical lessons—People who are new in the Lord come with lots of questions—about the Bible, about the Lord, about church, about life, about their current set of problems. We must be prepared with Bible answers to their many questions. And, as a teacher, remember that new Christians need more than biblical knowledge—they need immediate ways to apply biblical principles in their current life situations.

Soul-conscious members—The only way to truly integrate new people into a Sunday school class is at the member level. The most compassionate teacher will likely be unable to reach a prospect who doesn’t feel welcomed by the rest of the class. One of the greatest challenges for long-time class members is to watch for guests and leave whatever conversation they are enjoying with their friends to welcome the guest and introduce him to others. I challenge our church members to see every guest as a stewardship entrusted by the Lord to their class.

Attentive class helpers—From taking attendance to watching for when a teacher may need help distributing handouts, to leading music, to greeting guests, to visiting absentees, to assuming ownership of the tidiness of the class, a helper can be an invaluable asset to a teacher. On the other hand, a helper who is habitually tardy, loitering in the back of the room, or talking through the lesson is a great handicap to a teacher. If you are a class helper, make it your mission to do all that is within your power to encourage respect for the teacher and to help care for the class.

Concerned and involved care group leaders—At Lancaster Baptist, we divide our classes into smaller care groups to facilitate times of fellowship and oversight of needs. Whatever you call the “care group leader” and whether they be the teacher or another class member, it is vital that each member is included and cared for. A care group leader should be attentive to members’ needs and should watch for special physical or spiritual needs to help meet when possible and to bring to the teacher’s attention.

Obvious enrollment process—A guest should be encouraged to enroll in the class on the very first week they visit. This is not making them a member of the church, so it is not even necessary that they are saved and baptized. It is simply letting them know that you want to include them and that they belong in your class. It encourages them to feel somewhat committed to the class as well. Ideally, there would be a table with a class secretary in the class room so it is obvious where and how the enrollment takes place. Whatever setup you use, there should be an obvious entry point to being “in” the class.

Obvious discipleship process—A newly saved Christian needs to be discipled as quickly as possible. At Lancaster Baptist, we do this through our adult Sunday school classes. Teachers coordinate mature Christians to disciple new believers on Wednesday evenings. Every new Christian should quickly be encouraged by the teacher and class members, “You should enroll in discipleship—it’s awesome and will help you grow in the Lord!”

Respect for the teacher—This may look and sound a little different in each church, but the principle is vital. We should respect those who labor among us in the Word of God. As a class member or helper, give the teacher your respect and your heart. Share your needs, and allow them to pray with you and for you. Be open and accountable.

A genuine loving spirit—Most classes begin with this spirit, but it easily slips without our noticing. Guests notice, however! Every member and guest of your class should feel genuinely welcome and wanted. (And genuine is a key word there. We all resent fake enthusiasm or care.) This is an indispensable ingredient in growing a class.

Activities and fellowship—I believe our closest friendships should be with those within the church. Christian friendship provides a God-ordained stimulus and accountability for spiritual growth. And scheduled class activities help to facilitate time and organization for this camaraderie to develop.

Accountability and concern—Although this is in the first line of duty for the teacher or a care group leader, a spirit of compassion is vital for every class member. Is there someone who was a recently enrolled guest but hasn’t been back? Is there a member going through a difficult time? What could you do to encourage them in the Lord and in faithfulness?

How could you add health and vitality to your Sunday school class? In whatever role you serve—teacher, helper, or member—look through this list and pick a few points that you could assume as your personal responsibility. These needed ingredients will make a difference in any class in which they are added!


God FIXES that which is Broken!

This September will mark over 41 years in local church ministry. I know it sounds like such a long time, but really it seems like just yesterday when my wife and I headed down the road to our first ministry at Capital Baptist Church, in those days located right in SE Washington, DC. Since that September of 1971, we have ministered among literally thousands of people and watched God work actively in the hearts and lives of so many. We have come to see the Lord as the One that has been in the business of fixing all the things in us that are broken. Let me point out a few of those things in this Pastor’s Page.

First, since Adam fell in the Garden of Eden, man’s relationship with God has been broken. Not only was that first couple removed from such a beautiful garden where they had routinely walked and talked with God, but their fellowship with God was marred by their sin. Every generation and every person since, with no exception, has faced the same problem – a broken relationship with God because of our sin. Note that Romans 3:23 declares, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Earlier in that same chapter Paul stated that “There is none righteous, no, not one.” So onto the scene comes Jesus Christ and His coming was with a very specific goal. Luke 19:10 says specifically. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” John the Apostle declared that “The Father sent the son to be the savior of the world.” Every man, woman and child has the same opportunity to restore a broken relationship with God as they seek God’s forgiveness and the complete and total payment for their sin that Jesus paid at the cross. John 3:36 says, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Make sure you get this; God has gone out of His way to help us restore our eternal relationship with Him and if we do, He gives us the gift of everlasting life and the hope of spending all eternity with Him in His home called Heaven. Have you made certain that your relationship with God is fully restored by placing your faith in the accomplishments of the cross at Calvary?

God also has an interest in helping us repair broken human relationships. Too many parents and children, siblings or even husbands and wives are living with broken relationships when they don’t have to. God has always been in the business of helping us repair them. The solutions are spiritual and they are the result of all involved seeking to walk with the Lord, but the results are always a blessing and such an encouragement to others around them. Here are some steps to follow:

a. Decide that there is a problem and that you aren’t satisfied to see it remain a problem but want to do whatever you can to fix it.

b. Determine to make the reparations a spiritual matter. Bathe the problem in prayer and seek the face of God so that He can give you a sense of direction in making it well.

c. Pray for the problem – pray and even fast (give up a meal or two a week to give yourself just to prayer and seeking God’s healing.

d. Work to solve the problems that are within your power to heal. So often we create the problems and except others to fix them. I suggest you spend some time in Colossians 3:12-25 and Romans 12:9-21.

e. When God opens a clear do to repair the broken relationship, go through the door and do not be satisfied until the relationship totally gives Him the honor and glory (Col. 3:17; I Cor. 10:31)

f. When He has restored the relationship that was broken, publicly seek to give Him glory as you testify to the great work He has done. This is clearly the right thing to do!

Conclusion: So. . .don’t be convinced that the thing that is broken has to stay broken. God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die for our sin and re-establish an eternal relationship for us with Him. But He is equally interested in spearheading the repair of all of our human relationships. Why not let Him have a go at it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. He is faithful and He is well qualified. Are you willing?

Please call me or write to me if we can help you. We serve a mighty God – an awesome God, but a deeply loving Savior!


Pastor Richard Jones, First Baptist Church of Elmer



Life – Like a Vapor!

There probably are not a lot of times that we routinely think about our own deaths, after all, what we are all about every day is called “living” and “living” seems to be the farthest thing in our minds from dying. Actually, death is very much a part of life. Just recently, we lost a dear friend and church member to a disease that so quickly took his earthly life from him. It seems like just a few weeks ago we rode in a golf cart and enjoyed a great day on the links and now we have had to say a tearful goodbye and on this side of glory I’ll never be able to speak with him again. There have been tears of sorrow and sadness and there is going to be a period of adjustment for all of us, but especially his dear family.

I can well remember someone saying to me years ago that I shouldn’t get too comfortable holding tightly on to things, because you never know when God will ask for them back. As a pastor I have seen moms and dads lose a little baby or a young child and while it seems all too unfair, in God’s own wise providence, God makes no mistakes. So often we have lost friends and relatives, seemingly in the prime of life and while we can’t begin to know the reasons, it is a reminder to all to make the most of every moment you have, especially with others, for life is all too short.

The writer of Hebrews made it quite clear in chapter 9 and verse 27 when he said, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Barring the very soon return of Jesus Christ (as He has promised He will come at any moment) all of us are going to experience the truth of this Hebrews passage. Note also in James 4: 14b it says, “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” It makes no difference what your age or the current status of your health, it is best to remember that, at best, life is short – like a vapor of steam from the teapot -- and that very life that God has entrusted to each of us should be lived to the best of our ability to the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31 declares, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” In Colossians 3:17, Paul writes this truth. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” You see, God has some expectations of each of us that include investing every moment He entrusts to our care for His glory. Every moment we enjoy is another moment God has blessed us with. I can’t spend another moment with my friend either on a golf course or sitting to dinner or even working on a project at church. His life has not ended, but in Heaven with Christ it has only begun; but for me and for you, we need to be challenged to use each day as a wise investment and to do it all for Christ’s glory.

Everyone is going to exist forever someplace. For my friend, he is “living” forever in Heaven because he had a personal faith in Jesus Christ. Far too many, however are going to be “dying” forever, separated form God because they refused to accept Jesus Christ’s offer of full payment for their sin. Please, make certain that your eternal destination is settled. I have included some key Bible verses below that will help you make the right choice. Then, use each day and every moment as if it were entrusted to you by God to be used for His glory, because that is exactly what it is. Life can be so good, but Heaven will be more than we can begin to imagine.

Romans 2:10; 23 – “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. . . For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:8 – “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 10:9-10 – “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Romans 10:13 – “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Remember, that life you possess is both a gift from God and to be treated as a “vapor” that appears and then almost as suddenly is gone! Keep looking up, for our redemption draweth nigh!

- Pastor Richard Jones, First Baptist Church of Elmer, NJ