By Ken Braddy
It’s safe to say that any church leader would want their group ministry to go well. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned.
In fact, “Murphy” and his unfortunate “law” seems to show up at the most inopportune times. Mistakes happen, and they can set us back with members and guests. Here are four mistakes we make, mistakes that can be avoided so we represent the Lord well each week.
1. We don’t prepare like we should.
Last-minute preparation is the enemy of group Bible studies. If you wait until late in the week to begin your study and preparation, you are almost assured of delivering a sub-standard experience to your group members and guests.
Great teachers know that the key is preparation. Legendary football coach Tom Landry once said, “The will to practice must be as great as the will to win.” He knew that preparation was essential to winning. That’s a truth that works on the football field and in the Sunday School classroom.
2. We don’t ask the right question in enrolling guests.
To change Sunday School, we must change one question we ask guests. Frequently, we hand a guest a guest information card and asking them, “Would you fill this out?” Instead, we should change the question to, “May I enroll you in our group?”
Enrolling guests places them on our ministry roll, and that means we have an opportunity to involve them in in our groups at a deeper level. In essence, they’ve given us permission to involve them in new and deeper ways.
3. We don’t teach with variety.
Too many teachers are in a teaching rut. They teach the same way week after week, and they are highly predictable. If asked, most group members could write out the schedule the group will have during Bible study.
That’s not an exciting experience for the group members. Savvy teachers know they need to keep their group members slightly off balance by varying their teaching procedures each week.
God has wired us differently. We learn in different ways. Teaching one primary way prevents us from communicating effectively with people who learn differently than we do.
4. We don’t recruit other leaders.
This is one of the biggest mistakes we make that negatively affect the ability of our Bible studies to grow. Like Moses in Exodus 18, we need to develop other leaders who can share the load of leadership with us.
Every teacher should have an apprentice teacher who is being groomed to start another group. And group members should be recruited to leadership roles like prayer leader, fellowship leader, prayer leader, and outreach leader, to name a few.
Which one of these do you struggle with the most? And what are some steps you can take to make positive change in your group ministry?
KEN BRADDY (@kenbraddy) manages the ongoing adult Bible study department at Lifeway and disciples a group of adults at his church in Shelbyville, Tennessee. He is the author of several books, including Breathing Life Into Sunday School. He blogs regularly about Sunday school and groups at kenbraddy.com, from which this article was adapted.