Part #21 of a study of Fastest Growing Churches in the Georgia Baptist Mission Board

Dr. Tim SmithThis is a series of insights gleaned from surveys and interviews with the most effective churches of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board in reaching and keeping people through Sunday School and Small Groups.

10 Things That Surprised Me About These Churches (part #21)

#10 Question #49: How relevant is the Sunday School/Small Group ministry to the health and growth of your church? (1=not relevant, 5=neutral, 10=extremely relevant) Everybody is looking for something to help their church move from decline to growth.  If your mailbox is like mine, yours is full of flyer and advertisements for all kinds of conference that will “fix” your church.  There are numerous books written each year saying they’ve discovered the answer.  I’ve been guilty of sending those advertisements and writing those books!

But wouldn’t you listen to 150 churches that accounted for 75% of the baptisms and 55% of the total growth in attendance for the entire state of Georgia. These churches are only 5% of the 3,600 Baptist churches in Georgia and yet they account for most the growth.  In these fastest growing churches, 95% of them responded with an 8 or higher to the question of how influential the Sunday School/small group ministry is to the health and growth of their church.  No church responded with a score of 6 or less.  In other words, these churches are saying that the Sunday School/Small Group ministry in the foundational strategic reason for the growth and health of their church.

So if you are looking for the next conference to attend or book to read that will “fix” your church, just start working on your Sunday School/Small Group Ministry.  What does “working on” the Sunday School/small group ministry look like?  Here are the beginning steps.

  1. Establish a mission and purpose for your Sunday School/Small Group Ministry that reflects the Great Commission.
  2. Know that the reason of your enrollment list is to minister to those on the list.
  3. Discover, enlist, train and release some new teachers/leaders.
  4. Start some new classes and/or groups.
  5. Emphasize ministry contacts from the classes/groups to all those on their ministry list.
  6. Provide ongoing training for all leaders.
  7. Make sure that all classes and groups are engaged in outreach and evangelism to reach those that don’t know Jesus or are not attending a church.
  8. Train all teachers/leaders to achieve the goal of reproducing themselves and discipling new leaders.