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

22Feb/16

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!

http://www.paulchappell.com/

9Mar/12

“Depression Antidote”

The local church is one of the best antidotes for depression! I recently heard a message by Bro. John Bishop in which he mentioned that the experts can only vouch for two items that can help depression. Some drugs may help some people, but the experts tell us that "interpersonal behavioral therapy," and "cognitive behavioral therapy" are the only two things that have been proven to help ALL persons who face depression. Brother Bishop went on to say that both of these things are found in the fellowship of a good gospel-preaching, practicing local church. "Interpersonal behavioral therapy" has to do with the way that you are treated, and the way that you treat others.

Folks are often depressed because of the way that they have been treated by others, or their depression may stem from the way that they treat others.  In a BIble practicing local church, obedient Christian people treat others the way that they ought to be treated, and consequently everyone who faithfully attends a Bible practicing church will have all of the interpersonal relational therapy that they need. Interpersonal relationships are not easy come, easy go. You will be hurt by interpersonal relationships, but for God's sake you must learn to relate to others interpersonally. Failure to do so will make you a hermit, and you will not be fulfilling God's purpose of fellowship without interpersonal relationships. Why is it that many depressed people shy away from the very thing that they need in a local church settings? The second needed help for depression is "cognitive behavioral therapy," and this has to do with the way that we think. Depression is often stimulated by bad thinking. We do not think properly about ourselves, about others, about God, or about the Bible. Great Bible teaching will fix this delimma.

One of the purposes for Bible preaching is to proclaim the truth about God, about mankind, and about the Word of God. Let me encourage you, dear reader, that when you feel depressed, not to skip church, but to faithfully attend the church services.

 

Excerpt from:  The Hedgemaker Newsletter, Dr. Lee Henise, Pastor of  Heritage Baptist Church, 126 Doe Run Rd, Manheim, PA 17545-8502