After Your Study Is Over
By Benjamin D. Favel
Just because your lesson is over does not mean that your responsibility as a teacher is over. There are many other things that a teacher must do in order to help reach their students. We will go over a few suggestions that I have for the teacher for when the study is over. These suggestions are for in church, outside of church, and new convert care. Each of these areas will help you continue to reach your students even after your lessons have ended.
If your students have accepted your invitation to church then your job is just beginning. For now you are bringing them to your church environment, a place that is probably unfamiliar to them. You must be aware of your students’ emotions while they are at church and do everything you can to make them feel more at ease. If they are uncomfortable during the service then they will not get much out of it. It is your job to try and help them feel welcome in your church.
First you should arrange to sit with your visiting students. If you know that they are coming, you should be waiting by the door to greet them when they walk in. This way the students see a familiar face right away, and do not have to search for you in an unfamiliar place. You should already have reserved some seats for your guests before they arrive. I recommend seats near the middle of the church, not too far forward or too far back
When your guests arrive, greet them, introduce them to some people nearby, and escort them to the seats you have selected. Sometimes your students will strike up a conversation with another member of the church. Encourage the conversation with comments of your own. You are helping your students bond with other members of the congregation. If your guests are uncomfortable sitting where you have selected then move them wherever they want to go, even if it is the back pew. At least they are still in the church. Then when your students are seated, stay with them.
When the service starts it is important that you are a good example to your students. Sing the songs and help the students find the words to the songs. Pray and praise as is appropriate to the service. Be genuine and sincere, do not make anything up. If the service is shouting, then shout. If the service is weeping, then weep. Whichever way the service is flowing, flow with it. You must be an example to your students. Do not be afraid to flow with the service and try not to be too self conscious. Just get into the service and feel after God. Let Him do the rest.
You should be prepared to explain why we do the things that we do in church, to your students. Your students may have never been in a church service like one of ours before. They will have to have things explained to them or they will not understand. Tell them why we clap, why we sing, why we shout, and why we weep. Have scriptures ready to show them for each of these things. (These are just a few specific examples, there are a lot more in the Bible. Clap: Psalms 47:1, Sing: Ephesians 5:19, Shout: Psalms 32:11, Weep: Psalms 34:18) If you are having a really wild service then just take them to Acts 2:12-17, the apostles acted drunk and so do we sometimes. Make sure that your students understand that everything that happens in an apostolic church is straight out of the Bible.
When the alter call comes, you should invite your students to go to the altar to pray. Invite them in a polite but not too pushy way. Make sure that they understand that it is their choice whether to go to the altar or not but if they decide to go that you will go with them. If they do decide to go to the altar, then you should lead the way down to the front. If your students do not express a desire to go to the altar, then you should offer to pray with them right where they are. Some people will not feel comfortable going to the front, but will pray at their pew. I have prayed people through to the Holy Ghost in both the altar and the pew.
When they begin to pray then you should lead them at first. Explain to them about repentance, and then about receiving the Holy Ghost. Encourage them to open their heart to the Lord and to let Him fill them. There are other books on how to pray with people and so I will recommend that you read some of them. If you are still unsure about praying with them then signal someone to come help you, Get someone with a proven track record of praying people through. Then watch and learn from that person, so you can pray with other students later.
When the service is over introduce your students to some key people in the church. The first person that you should introduce them to is the pastor. The pastor can provide all sorts of information about the services of the church such as counseling and the food pantry. The pastor can also start to form a connection with your students and help them feel more comfortable in the church. Having your students connect with your pastor will help them feel like they belong to the church.
Another person that you should introduce your guests to is their group leader. If they are a young couple, take them to the young marrieds director. If they have children make sure they meet the Sunday School superintendent. Introduce the men to the men’s ministry director and the ladies to the ladies ministry leader. The group leader can provide more specific information on upcoming group activities.
Finally, you should introduce your guests to your friends and family that are in the church. If you can help your students to form friendships with other members of the congregation then they will want to come back. If the students feel that they are surrounded by friends at your church then they will desire to return. They will also tell all of their friends and family about how much they enjoyed going to your church. So you are giving your church a good reputation in your city. You are also, helping your guests form a bond with other members of the congregation as well as giving them a good overview of all of the different services the church can provide.
Sometimes it is not possible for you to sit with your guests during the service. Perhaps you are a Sunday School teacher, or like me are on the platform. In these cases you should arrange for someone that you trust to sit with your guests. Choose someone that you know, will be friendly, be a good example, and pray with them. It is important that you pick someone that will be able to help your students during the service.
Make sure that person is with you when you greet your students at the door. Introduce your students to your selected person and escort them to their seats. Sit with your students for as long as you can, then explain the situation. Apologize to your students and tell them that the person you have selected will sit with them and help them in the service. Do not leave them sitting alone. If you cannot sit with your guests then please arrange for someone to sit with them. They will not understand the service, and they may not try to reach out to God if they are left by themselves.
Outside Of Church
Sometimes a Home Bible Study will end without any immediate result. The students did not repent or reach out to God. They did not come to church and showed no interest in having a relationship with God. You may think that your job is over, but those souls are still your responsibility. When crisis hits you are the one they will look for. When they are ready to give their heart to God you must be there and ready for them. You are the one that they are familiar with, and if anyone is going to reach them it probably is going to be you. That is why we must maintain contact with our students.
After your twelve lessons have ended, then you should try to stay in contact with those students. On a regular basis, give them a phone call, send a card, or make a personal visit. You should try to contact them at least once a month in one of these ways. Remember, you are trying to maintain contact without being too pushy.
Do not forget birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special occasions your students may be celebrating. A quick card can go a long way toward reaching a lost soul. If the student desires more contact, then by all means do so. Try to keep notes on each lost student so you will have things to talk about when you contact them. Also, remember to pray for all of your lost students. The Word is in their hearts and God can revive it again.
If we maintain contact with those souls then we stand a greater chance of one day winning them to the Lord. If we let that contact slip away, then we will have missed an opportunity to show our friendship for our students. When we keep in contact with them we are telling them that we will be there for them no matter what. So that when that crisis comes to their lives or when they are finally ready to surrender to God, we will be there to help them.
New Convert Care
Perhaps your students have been baptized and received the Holy Ghost by the end of your study. In that case they can no longer be called just students, they must be considered new converts. They are new in the faith. They are excited about being saved but do not yet understand everything about the church and living for God. There are going to be trials and troubles that will come to them and they need to know how to deal with them. For all of these reasons they are going to need some new convert care.
Some churches offer a new convert care department. If your church is one of these then your job is just to introduce your new converts to the leader of that department. Then the new convert care leader will be in charge of teaching them all the things that they will need to know. You should keep your friendship with them and encourage them when you see them at church. They should be starting to become a part of the congregation and so you will see them regularly at the church. Keep your friendship going and help them as much as you can. They are babes in Christ and might need a lot of help getting established.
If your church does not offer a new convert care department then congratulations! You have just been appointed the new convert care director for your church. It is now your job to teach your new converts all of the things that they will need to know in order to make it to Heaven. There are several excellent new convert courses available. Select one and begin teaching it, maybe even on the same night as you used to do Home Bible Study. Someone must teach the new converts and because of your previous relationship with them you are the best qualified. Help them become great Christians, so they can go out and teach someone else a Bible Study.
Commitment is the key to what happens after the Bible study is over. You must be committed to your students no matter what. You must be willing to be the example that they will need in the church. You must keep in contact even with those that are not showing much interest in the church. Finally you must be willing to take on the responsibility of new convert care if necessary. If you are not willing to do these things then your Bible study will not be nearly as effective as it could be.
Article “After Your Study Is Over” written by Benjamin D. Favel is excerpted from The How To Of Home Bible Study Chapter 10 written by Benjamin D. Favel.
This excellent book, which is written by an Apostolic author, can be purchased from the Pentecostal Publishing House: www.pentecostalpublishing.com