Wed. Jan 27th, 2021

STARTING ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL ELECTIVE CLASSES

 

THE EMPHASIS IS UNDERWAY!

The Adult Start-A-Class Emphasis, officially a part of the Bold Mission Thrust, began as a denominational program in October 1976. However, for a year before that time, pilot projects were conducted to determine the effectiveness of the emphasis.

The first pilot class was a Married Young Adult Class in Paradise Hills Southern Baptist Church, San Diego, California. This class began with a new enrollment of 25 and had 25 present on the first Sunday. Fifteen preschoolers and children came with their parents.

Since the first pilot class, hundreds of other classes have started with equally good results-that is, with a full class of 25 enrolled and present on the first Sunday. However, the vast majority of the new classes have had a slower growth. Six to eight new members enrolled and present on the first day is about average. Within six months most classes have enrolled about fifteen new members, thus reflecting a good, steady growth. Children are added to the Sunday School at a ratio of about two children for three adults enrolled.

The total number of new classes in the emphasis runs into the thousands and increases every week. In 1977-78 churches reported the organization of 9396 new Adult classes. Usually, churches have a good
experience with the Adult Start-A-Class Emphasis. Seldom, if ever, can it be said by a SAC class team, “We enrolled no one, attendance was zero, no children came with their parents, no one was saved in Bible
study.” Gratefully we acknowledge that no such report has ever been heard about the Adult Start-A-Class Emphasis. On the other hand, just as long as classes are reaching, teaching, and winning some people,
the Adult Start-A-Class Emphasis deserves our support. It is a plan that ought to be used by more and more TEAMS to start more and more classes. Here is the third Adult Start-A-Class emphasis guide. Use it
to help you start more Bible study stations for spiritually needy adults.

 

What’s New In SAC

National Adult Start-A-Class Sunday, which will be October 7, 1979, and again the first Sunday in October 1980, are two days to get excited about.

Southern Baptists do not need convincing that people can be reached for Christ and church membership through Adult Sunday School classes. For years Adult classes have been a strong outreach arm for the
church, but getting the best use from this outreach medium is more than just recognizing its worth. It involves using the proper tools at the correct time and in the best manner.

Here is how the National Adult Start-A-Class Sunday emphasis works. Usually, more new Adult classes are begun on the first Sunday in October than at any other time of the year. For most churches this is the beginning of the new Sunday School year. As a matter of course a large number of new Adult classes will be started on this Sunday, and a concerned emphasis could produce more.

Things that are moving keep on moving more easily than similar things that must break the inertia of a dead stop before beginning to move. Selecting the first Sunday in October for a new class emphasis makes
good sense. By increasing what would be done anyway, it is possible to start an unusually large number of new classes.

 

Cooperation is the Key

Naturally, no denominational emphasis works apart from the desire of church leaders to see it succeed. This emphasis is largely dependent on the vision and dedication of pastors, ministers of education, and
Sunday School directors who see it as a live option in the outreach program of their churches.

 

What Can Churches Do?

In preparation for starting new Adult classes on National Start-A-Class Sunday, or at any other time, church – leaders should read arefully this entire booklet. If available, the guide that preceded this one (Adult Start-A-Class Emphasis Church Guide, 1978-79) should also be read and studied as a helpful guide in starting new Adult Sunday School classes.

In this guide book, note the procedure for determining what classes are needed. Look at the sections that describe TEAMREACH and TEAMTEACH. Study the portion of the guide that describes the contribution of the general officers to the success of the emphasis. This entire church guide is designed to help church leaders start new classes with a minimum of effort and a maximum of results.

 

What Can YOU Do?

A large part of the new classes organized in the last three or four years have been the result of individual commitment and promotion by concerned Adult department directors, teachers, and outreach leaders.
These people have taken it upon themselves to sell the need for more classes in their Sunday Schools and have urged that the TEAMREACH-TEAMTEACH concept of the Adult Start-A-Class Emphasis be used as a
method of getting new classes started. The SAC movement would be seriously handicapped without the support and participation of these individuals.

Surely such a widespread interest as that manifest for the Adult Start-A-Class Emphasis proclaims the beginning of a new day for Adult Sunday School work.

 

AN OVERVIEW OF THE EMPHASIS

The Adult Start-A-Class plan is projected on three assumptions:

1. Reaching and ministering to adults is a prerequisite to reaching and ministering to other age groups in significant numbers.

2. The Adult Sunday School class provides a unique structure for Bible study, evangelism, ministry, fellowship, and reaching those not involved in Bible study.

3. Most Southern Baptist churches have within their reach many adults who will respond to a warm Spirit-led witness and an opportunity for meaningful Bible study on Sunday morning.

 

The Adult Start-A-Class plan has as its goal:
For the church–Enough Adult classes to reach all the church’s potential.
For the denomination–100,000 new Adult Sunday School classes.

 

The Adult Start-A-Class plan outlined:

* Sunday School Director, Pastor, Minister of Education, and other  staff members become aware of the plan.
* The church leaders should guide the church to adopt the Adult Start- A-Class Emphasis.
* Select Adult Start-A-Class teams using the best qualified persons  available.
* Identify target groups for whom new Adult classes are needed.
* Provide appropriate curriculum including new special units of study.
* Train the Adult Start-A-Class teams by studying this church guide.
* Designate the second Sunday in each quarter (or some other Sunday) as Adult Start-A-Class Sunday.
* Call for an enrollment week just prior to each Adult Start-A-Class Sunday.
* Use an Adult Start-A-Class team or teams to begin new units.
* Use the TEAMREACH-TEAMTEACH concept.
* Call for follow-up activities by the Adult Start-A-Class teams.
* Respond to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

 

WHAT IS A NEW ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS?

A new Adult Sunday School class is defined in this emphasis to be an Adult Bible teaching-learning unit not previously in existence, a part of the Sunday School program, led by a church-elected teacher and workers, and using the Bible and study materials in keeping with the church policy and program.

 

THE TEAMREACH IDEA

The heart of the Adult Start-A-Class Emphasis is the team. The leadership team is composed of the Adult teacher, Adult class outreach leader, and two or more Adult class group leaders as needed. The reason for using a church-elected team is illustrated by the story of an education director in North Carolina. He said, “I started two new Adult classes. One I began with a team of four leaders. At that time I didn’t think of them as `team.’ We didn’t call them a ‘team.’ In my mind they were just a teacher, class outreach leader, and two group leaders. They were simply asked to work together to start a new Sunday School class. Without really trying to, they developed a `teamness’ and in a few months had enrolled 40 new people. In reality they were a team and as a team they succeeded.”

“The second class was started by a teacher working alone. He was a good teacher-one of our best. He had plenty of prospects but he didn’t have a team with which he could work. At the end of the year, the
highest attendance this teacher had was two. He resigned–disappointed, discouraged, despondent.”

This experience does not explain why a team succeeded while a teacher failed. However, it does support the idea that teams are more likely to succeed than teachers alone. Hearing the illustration above prompted some research and inquiry that revealed a significant bit of information. A study of several classes that had presumably been built by “a great teacher” revealed that these teachers had surrounded themselves with an inner circle of class members and treated them as a team. Sometimes it was an official group of elected class leaders and at other times it was simply an unofficial group. But in both cases they acted as a team to plan and implement the class outreach program.

Experience shows that TEAMREACH has the desirable characteristic of magnifying the strengths and minimizing the weaknesses of each member of the team. Each person serves in some way as a support and
encouragement to some other member of the team. The result is a continuing enthusiasm for meeting problems and solving them rather than letting them become agents of doubt and discouragement. Years of
experience with teams leads us to believe that TEAMREACH is definitely a beneficial factor in growing a new Sunday School class and revitalizing an old class.

 

WHAT DOES THE TEAM DO?

Have you ever watched a televised football game? The next time you do, listen carefully to the commentators. Even though you may never have played football, if you listen carefully you will become aware of the fact that each player has a specific task to perform. Not just a task in general, but each has a task for every play. It is so clear that the commentator will often call attention to a player who did or did
not do his job. This assignment and the conducting of tasks is called teamwork.

The leadership team for a new Sunday School class needs to begin by determining what each member of the TEAM will do and how it will be done. In determining these overall assignments, help will be found in
Working with Adults in Sunday School and in the Adult Class Leader Administration Kit. Additionally, determining each team member’s week to week activities is a continuing need. On each activity,
responsibilities of the team members should be spelled out and carefully followed. The work of class leaders is described in detail in the book Reaching Adults Through the Sunday School.

Becoming a team is more than simply knowing one’s job. It involves working together. It calls for putting common needs above personal need. It requires each TEAM member to try to complete his task while at the same time helping a teammate.

A newly elected team should spend considerable time just talking, reacting, and interacting until TEAM members know one another. To become a TEAM is to feel you can depend on one another to perform on
time every time. Get to know your teammates. Help them get to know you. Using the undated curriculum unit, Toward Oneness in Christ, would be useful in developing a team understanding of each other. A
class or team meeting would probably be better for this purpose than a Sunday morning session.

Let’s consider several specific things TEAM members should do:

As a team, review your concern. You are embarking on an exceedingly demanding journey. Why? Is it just because you were asked or do you really care about enrolling more in Adult Bible school? Study Bible
passages such as John 20:21 and 2 Corinthians 2:1-16.

Renew your commitment and prepare to reach out to others.

 

1. Locate Prospects.

This is the most demanding requirement for starting a new Sunday School class. When a team has successfully completed this task, the hardest part of building a Sunday School class will have been
accomplished. The team will, of course, be primarily concerned about the age group or target group that has been determined by the Sunday School leadership. How do you locate prospects? Try any reasonable way that comes to mind. The best way to discover prospective members hasn’t been discovered. Or, perhaps more accurately, changes in the social order make new ways necessary. Maybe you can find a new way.

Some old tried and trusted methods of locating people should not be overlooked or cast aside simply because they are old. As a team, discuss the following methods and make plans to use all of them at one
time or another:

* Use an Adult Start-A-Class Prospect Card. This is a simple card
which can probably be duplicated in the church office.

 

_________________________________________________________________
| Sunday School Adult Start-A-Class Emphasis |
| |
| Prospect Card |
| |
| Name ____________________________________________________ |
| |
| Address _________________________________________________ |
| |
| _________________________________________________ |
| |
| Phone ___________________________________________________ |
| |
| Approximate Age ___________ Marital Status ______________ |
| Submitted by _____________________________________________|
—————————————————————–
(Sample Card)

 

The new class leadership team should circulate the card as widely as possible through the church membership. The distribution of the card should be accompanied by announcements about its purpose. Inform the membership about the specific age group or target group with which you are primarily concerned. Use every means possible to get the widest use of the card. Make announcements during the worship service and through the Sunday School. Print the card and explain it in the weekly church bulletin. Don’t be content with one announcement. Repeat it on several different occasions. Explain that the church members are to use the card to identify unenrolled family or acquaintances who would  be good prospects for the new Sunday School class. Design a recoverysystem so that the cards will be returned to the TEAM as promptly as possible.

TEAM members should recognize that the returned cards represent only possible prospects. A personal visit to each individual will be necessary to determine if that person is really a prospect. Follow up on each card.

Another helpful aid leaders may use is Adult Class Prospect Visitation Kit, available through Baptist Book Stores.

* In Raleigh, N.C., a church started two new Adult classes using only church members not enrolled in Sunday School as prospects. Unenrolled church members and Sunday School members who are totally inactive are good prospects for a new Sunday School class. If your church has a church secretary, that person could most likely guide you to the names of several church members not enrolled in Sunday School. A church in Nashville, Tennessee, started a thriving class by contacting only church members not enrolled in Sunday School. Also a large class with inactive members could be regrouped into two classes in order to
recapture the interest of inactive members.

* Use existing prospect information. In many church offices there are lists of one kind or another that represent prospects who have not been sought in a long time, if ever. Persons such as the parents and
other family members of children enrolled in Vacation Bible School are prospects. Bus riders, who are usually children, offer a similar opportunity for contacting parents and other relatives. An often
overlooked source of adult prospects is the parents of children enrolled in Sunday School. Even children who are faithful in attendance are not necessarily accompanied by their parents.

* From door to door and house to house, new class teams must go in their search for prospects. Here is TEAMREACH in its most challenging form. The class leadership team working under the guidance of the
class outreach leader should make a territorial survey in search of prospects and members. Select a territory of a few blocks which most likely houses the age group of adults you are seeking. Let the teacher
and one group leader work one side of the street while the outreach leader and another group leader work the opposite side. Go from house to house, explain that you are beginning a new Bible Study class, and
ask adults to join you and others in an exciting Bible study experience.

* Locate prospects through fellowship activities. Men and women are social beings. Why not take advantage of this desire on the part of people to seek out others in social groups? Many Adult class leaders
have discovered fellowship as a means of locating prospects for Adult classes.

Begin with the class leadership team. The class outreach leader should be responsible for involving the entire TEAM in planning a prospective fellowship activity indeed, plan several such activities since one
social gathering is hardly enough to produce the results you want.

You may find some help for planning the fellowship in the Church Recreation Magazine. If the church Library has none, order the magazine each quarter with your regular Sunday School literature. Using this magazine or other available materials, plan a “coffee,” brunch, or “dessert” for the time of day best suited to your needs. Remember, your purpose is to interest adults in your new Sunday School class. First, have some activities that are designed to help people relax and get acquainted. Second, share your dream about having an exciting Bible study class. Don’t apologize! Be positive! Act as if you believe Bible study is important for all people. Display a Sunday School quarterly and Sunday School teaching kit materials. People are impressed by seeing the teaching tools. Caution: don’t turn people off by trying to explain what is in the material. That’s what the class is for. Display the material and make only a brief reference to it unless someone sincerely asks for more information. Even in that circumstance, be brief.

Have a short, meaningful devotion and pray. This doesn’t always have to be at the beginning. It would probably be better to have such an activity in an unusual manner at an unexpected time. But keep it
informal. Let the Bible devotion grow naturally out of what is happening. One suggestion would be to say, “While we are having coffee and cake, let me share some Bible thoughts. . . . ” Then continue in a natural, calm, everyday tone. Details are important and informality is hard to plan so that it comes off as something natural. If you use the suggestion above, don’t leave the coffee service to chance. Plan it. Serve each person quickly so that everyone can make it through one cup of coffee without the disturbance of a refill. During the time when everyone is refreshing, have the devotion briefly and then serve the refills.

How do you get prospects to come to the fellowship? Well, of course, that depends on you. You were selected as a TEAM member because of your leadership ability. So take courage and proceed. List your
friends and neighbors. Write the list. Don’t just think a list. Check and recheck the list. Make it complete. Remember, you are searching for people of a particular age group or target group. What next? Think
about each person and think about other people you are reminded of as you consider each name on the list. You see, you may become aware of your friend’s friend as you think about names on the list. Your
ultimate prospect may be someone you don’t know –the friend of a friend. In any event build your prospect list as broadly as you can reach into the community.

As other members join your class, sit down with them and help them build a prospect list of their friends.

Don’t forget the names of persons on the Adult Start-A-Class Prospect Cards. These are the cards distributed to the entire church membership as discussed earlier in this booklet.

Who is invited to the fellowship activity? Friends! Your friends! Your friends’ friends! Make the invitations personal. Act excited about the fellowship. If you can’t get excited about it, how can you expect prospects to get excited about it? And if you find it clearly impossible to get excited about your prospect fellowship, discard the plans and start all over with a new idea. Reaching men and women for Christ is worth being excited about.

 

2. Enroll Prospects

Once prospects have been located and identified by name, address, probable age, and spiritual condition, they must then be enrolled in Sunday School. Like many other things in life enrolling men and women
in Bible study can proceed with varying levels of intensity. The difference largely depends on the attitude and ability of the team members. Some TEAM members will try once to enroll a prospect and failing, will try no more. Other team members will cultivate slow-to- respond prospects by building bridges of concern between themselves and their prospects. Some TEAM members make friends of prospects by showing their love in friendly ways. Sincere expressions of Christian love will go a long way toward impressing a prospect to join a Bible study class.

The actual enrollment of men and women is the purpose of the TEAMREACH process. In the world of the salesman, enrollment is equal to getting a customer to sign a purchase agreement. Considering how much time, money, and effort businesses put into getting a customer to sign a purchase agreement, this action must be rated as extremely important in business. If this is true, and it is true, then getting men and
women to agree to join a Bible study class is one of the most important things we do. Preparing to enroll people deserves careful attention.

Adults will respond to what they believe will benefit them. Hence, your approach in asking people to enroll in Bible study could be a presentation of benefits. It will not be necessary to memorize an entire speech but it would be wise to write out and memorize a number of benefits adults might reasonably expect if they join your Sunday School class. Each team will need to write a list of benefits that realistically reflect their class. Some basic suggestions are:

* Our class will be a concerned, caring fellowship.
* Our study will be what God has said to you and me.
* Our study guides (quarterlies) will be the best Adult Bible study guides available today.
* Our teacher will help you understand how the Bible offers solutions to your daily problems.

Use these ideas to write a list of benefits that men and women might reasonably expect from being a part of your Sunday School class. Use the benefits to support your invitation to adults to join your class.

The actual enrollment of men and women in a Sunday School class involves getting them to agree to join. When you stand face to face with a prospect telling him the benefits of belonging to your class, there is only one thing left to do. Ask the prospect if you may enroll him in the class. This may be done any place (at home, at church, at work, at the service station), anytime (by appointment or in an unexpected meeting), under any set of circumstances. The only requirement is that the prospect agree for you to enroll him in Bible study.

Carry enrollment cards with you at all times. By design and by chance enroll people in Bible study. Any type enrollment card is satisfactory, but the ACTION enrollment card is recommended. It is listed on the Sunday School literature order form. Using the ACTION card, enroll anyone who agrees to be enrolled, at any time, at any place.

After each person has been enrolled, right then, without delay, give the new class member a Sunday School quarterly. Show him how to locate the lesson for the following Sunday. If you fail to have a quarterly
with you, make an appointment to deliver the quarterly to the new member before the following Sunday. Tell all newly enrolled members you are expecting them in the new class on the following Sunday morning and give them a map and other written material describing your class or church. On the following Saturday call each member you have enrolled expressing excitement about their presence in Sunday School the following day.

What happens if this procedure reveals likely prospects who are not the right age for your new class? If they are agreeable, by all means enroll them in the class in which they should belong. The enrollment
card for this kind of new member should be passed on to leaders of the appropriate class or delivered to the church office for processing. If you can determine the names of the leaders in classes to which such new members or prospects are assigned, urge the class leaders to provide the new members with a quarterly before the following Sunday or in the case of a prospect, to make a personal visit.

 

3. Adult Start-A-Class Sunday and Enrollment Week

TEAMREACH requires that the TEAM make careful plans for Adult Start-A-Class Sunday which is the first Sunday the class meets regardless of the time of year. A new class can be started at any time. Another team
concern related to the calendar is Enrollment Week. It too must be planned by the TEAM. Enrollment Week is a time, immediately prior to Adult Start-A-Class Sunday, which is devoted to intensive enrollment
visitation. Several new members should be enrolled and present on the first Sunday of the new class. Intensive enrollment during the week just prior to the first Sunday makes it possible to have a good
experience on the first Sunday of the new class.

 

4. Prepare for the First Sunday

Prepare for the first Sunday the class will meet. Be prepared to welcome new members. Watch for them to arrive in the church parking lot. Guide them to the class or department meeting area. Smile! Be friendly!

If the new class is located in an existing department, arrange for the group to sit together in the department period. Introduce new members to each other and to regular members. Provide name tags for team members and for each new member.

The class outreach leader will take charge in the class session. He  will welcome new members and orient everyone to the new Bible study group. This should be done quickly. Remember, you promised the new
members you would have Bible study.

The teacher will lead the Bible study period. He should do the best he can and depend on the Holy Spirit to make it effective.

If you choose to use TEAMTEACH as a regular procedure for Sunday morning Bible study, read and discuss carefully the section of this guidebook that deals with TEAMTEACH. The use of the TEAMTEACH
procedure is highly recommended.

 

5. Publicize the New Class

The team should not hesitate to publicize its work.

Church–Let the whole church know what you are doing. Get everyone’s support. Use every means possible to gain support. Use posters, bulletins, and announcements. Leaders in other classes and departments
need to know what you are doing so that they can follow up on enrollees you may add to their classes and departments.

Community–Tell the public what you are doing. Use every means available such as posters, outdoor church bulletin board, and community newspapers.

 

6. Follow-up is Urgent

One of the most important activities of the team is to plan for follow-up. Follow-up is important enough to merit major consideration. After the first Sunday, several things should be done:

* Assign each member to a group leader.
* Continue to enroll new members.
* Contact new members and absentees each week. (In addition to the usual methods of follow-up such as visits and phone calls, the Adult Start-A-Class Enlistment Cards will be helpful. See the resources page
at the back of this booklet for a list of all resources.)

* Use the two tracts designed to help the follow-up ministry with new members. Use How to Have a Full and Meaningful Life when dealing with a lost person. Use Claiming Your Christian Heritage when dealing with an inactive church member. Each is designed to be read with prospects as you try to share with them and involve them in the life and witness of the church.

See the leaflet Sharing Christ with Adult Sunday School (available free from your Sunday School secretary) for further guidance.

* Conduct the work of the class in accordance with the concepts set out in Working with Adults in Sunday School. Plan the following things in your activities: (1) Become a part of the church’s weekly or monthly workers’ meeting. For guidance, see each month’s issue of Adult Leadership. (2) Plan for an ongoing program of good Adult Sunday School work. (3) Plan for continuing fellowship activities that cause
class members to be concerned about one another spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

 

7. Rely on the Holy Spirit

As a team, you have surely been praying for the leadership of the Holy Spirit during all these stages of preparation and planning. Now the time has come to do the three things that will produce success:

* Depend on the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
* Conduct warmhearted visitation and enrollment.
* Conduct meaningful Bible study.

With these three actions constantly in mind, follow through on the church’s intent to start new classes. Carry out the plans made by the team to conduct an Enrollment Week and to begin a new class on an
Adult Start-A-Class Sunday. Do not minimize the importance of a week of intensive enlistment of new members preceding Adult Start-A-Class Sunday. Persons enrolled during the week will form the new class and will join the class leadership in enrolling other members. Curriculum material should be delivered to all new enrollees.

Careful preparation should be made for the reception of newly enrolled persons. Every effort should be made to create a warm, informal atmosphere.

Use TEAMTEACH if possible; but whether you use TEAMTEACH or not, use any good procedure to have meaningful Bible study from the first session of the class.

Bold Bible study is a team effort. The day of solo performances in Adult Sunday School classes is passing. Challenging Bible study demands the expression of every spiritual gift of every member. What is TEAMTEACH? How is TEAMTEACH? Where is TEAMTEACH? This section of the Guide is devoted to answering these questions.

Be definition, TEAMTEACH in a new Adult Sunday School class is joint planning and shared teaching by the Adult Start-a-Class team.

TEAMTEACH is experienced when all team members, led by the teacher, are actually involved in guiding the lesson study on Sunday morning.

TEAMTEACH is expressed when team members take the lead in literature distribution. They help to interpret the basis of the Sunday morning experience-Bible study.

TEAMTEACH is expressed when the class outreach leader and group leaders become sensitive to the members’ needs and express these tactfully to the teacher so that the Sunday morning session might be
improved.

TEAMTEACH is expressed when the team members enthusiastically participate in planning meetings.

TEAMTEACH is expressed when team members initiate a caring spirit both inside and outside the classroom. It is in the context of warm Christian fellowship that biblical truths flourish and transform lives.

TEAMTEACH, a New Focus in Preparation TEAMTEACH planning can help create a spiritual climate, reduce discouragement, and escalate enthusiasm for the Sunday session. The class leaders can add to the
planning experience by contributing their unique insights and abilities for the enrichment of the class session.

TEAMTEACH can contribute toward a sense of group ownership of the class rather than having one individual dominate the session. It is no longer “Frank’s class” or “Sarah’s class” but “our class.” Each team
member has a part in the lesson outcome week by week.

There are many ways in which the team can contribute in the planning sessions. One way in which they can help is through trying out several of the learning activities suggested for the upcoming session. Another
way is to sift through the suggested learning activities to discover ways in which members’ needs can be met. This interaction in discussion can be very profitable to the teacher and other team members. Another way in which team members can help in this planning session is by taking time to write notes to absentee class members encouraging their participation in the next session. An ideal form for this would be the Start-a-Class enlistment cards. Another way in which the team members could prepare would be through accepting assignments for the Bible study leadership on Sunday morning. For example, group leaders may assume responsibility for the portion of the session, “Creating Learning  Readiness.” If the team meets in a department planning meeting with teachers who do not use the team approach, the team should participate in the discussions and then at the end of the period withdraw from the group (figuratively at least) to agree on their leadership assignments for the following Sunday.

In the planning session, team teaching can undergird prayer preparation through a candid expression of needs. Awareness of potential difficulties and the effectiveness of encouragement come “where two or three are gathered together” (Matt. 18:20). Planning sessions can also be used for evaluation. Study related articles appearing in Adult Leadership.

These preparation times can spur the class leaders to truly become a team. There is a priceless advantage to a unified approach and a special awareness of the gifts God has brought together in this mission. Planning and training sessions do not lag in attendance when the Start-A-Class team feels a corporate mission.

TEAMTEACH, a New Style of Participation

Just how can a class leader contribute to Bible study? Think of the various Bible learning activities that need more than one person to participate. You probably have thought of a few such as debates, panel
discussions, small group activities, and role playing.

These and many other Bible learning activities suggest that adult learners attend Bible study to participate rather than just to listen. They want to translate Bible truths into their lives rather than be “taught the lesson.” The alive new Adult class must stress a sense of sharing, researching, exploring, and investigating. Beware of the tendency to discount the needs and abilities of your new class members just because they may not have attended Adult Bible study before.

How can class leaders, such as the class outreach leader and group leaders, assist the teacher in conducting a Bible study session for a new Adult class? Here are some suggestions:

* Personal assignments can take advantage of the unique experiences of the team. One kind of assignment is the use of personal testimonies. Often these personal testimonies add tremendously to the vitality of a
Bible study session and lend authenticity to the Bible session for that morning. Another possible assignment may be a relevant book report given by a member of the team. A class leader may also
contribute toward the effectiveness of a Bible study session by being your silent partner. This person helps in the session by listening, observing, and reacting later in the class session for everyone’s benefit. Or he may react privately to the teacher concerning what took place during the study. A silent partner is a valuable ally in any Bible study session. He can discern moods, evaluate the effectiveness of a learning method, and bring helpful suggestions to the planning session.

* Another opportunity that Start-a-Class team members have is leading teams or groups in Bible study research efforts. Some new class members may be reluctant to enter into small group discussions or
assignments. Here, class leaders take the opportunity to demonstrate their willingness to become involved in Bible learning activities.

 

TEAMTEACH Using Curriculum Materials

New classes have a choice of curriculum. New Life in Christ is an undated thirteen week study especially for new classes. However, any one of the three curriculum lines produced by the Sunday School Board
would be equally acceptable.

After the class has started, there may be a need to study the undated four-week study Toward Oneness in Christ for the purpose of building fellowship.

Each new class using New Life in Christ and Toward Oneness in Christ has a chance to discover important spiritual foundations. Both of the texts and the teaching suggestions offer a fertile opportunity for
multiple leadership of the Sunday morning session. The promise of a new and special Bible study may have influenced the enrollment of new members. Because of this, team members should be alert to opportunities to promote the study and persuade class members to make individual preparation. Be sure that each team member has a copy of the teacher’s edition of New Life in Christ.

Perhaps your leadership team will want to spend several evenings together planning a unit of study. This route of planning is especially important when the new class begins studying Toward Oneness in Christ. Your leadership team might want to “try on” several of the group exercises in the planning sessions.

Perhaps the planning time could be devoted in part to making visuals  for an upcoming session on the unit. In such a case, team members could actually construct a visual during the planning session. Of course, if one of the regular Adult curriculum series is used, team members could research the teaching suggestions in the teacher’s quarterly and explore the resource kits.

 

Training the TEAM for TEAM Teaching

You are probably wondering how you can train your new team in this shared approach to Bible study. Helpful printed materials abound. A self-instructional piece called Teach Tips for You describes the
format and procedures for an Adult Bible study session. It is simple to use and carries the reader completely through the preparation experience. Order one copy for each member of your leadership team. It may be ordered on the church undated literature order form.

The text, Teach Adults in Sunday School, is fundamental in teacher training. The teamwork approach is suggested in chapter 3. Bible learning activities are described in chapters 7 and 8. A personal study approach to this text is found in the Teaching Adults in Sunday School Personal Learning Kit. Team members can improve their teaching skills by completing the Response Manual in the kit as they study the
text. The entire training experienced is paced by a cassette tape. In this way, the Member can approximate a group learning experience. You can order copies of the book and Personal Learning Kit from your
Baptist Book Store.

It is highly important that the new Adult teacher enlist his team with a firm expectation of team teaching. Adults seldom are challenged by trivial or inconsequential tasks. They respond instead to great causes
and large challenges. The teacher of a new Adult class should describe team teaching to prospective team members. In so doing, he emphasizes the team approach at the beginning of the relationship. He enlists a
worker, not a mere figurehead. He calls forth the spiritual gifts of each team member. Would any teacher object to having a well prepared team sharing and leading Bible study? Probably not. Only good can result when team members and class members alike are involved in this way.

No doubt you have already surmised a number of advantages of the team teaching approach to Adult Bible study. Probably first on your list is more participation. Not only is there more participation, but that
participation is purposeful and significant. Team teaching begins or continues the rhythm of team work so necessary to productive Adult Sunday School work. Team teaching therefore complements team reaching.
The expansion of Adult Sunday School, therefore, is assured as more leaders assume larger roles and mol e responsibility. The joy of seeing results in changed lives, improved teaching, the expression of spiritual gifts, and most important, converted adults are all shared by the team, for all have worked together.

Multiplying the teachers of a class magnifies the place of the Bible. In essence, every teaching session is a testimonial. Blended with each expression of a biblical truth is personal conviction. By enlarging the number of “voices” contributing to the Bible study, personal convictions and biblical truths expressed are magnified.

 

GENERAL OFFICERS AND THE EMPHASIS

Southern Baptist churches have flourished by beginning new units of Bible study chiefly for adults. You as a general officer can take on a great growth consciousness by making the Adult Start-a-Class Emphasis
a primary part of your ministry. The pastor, general Sunday School director, minister of education, and other general officers can provide an indispensable ingredient of vision and enthusiasm to help expand a number of Bible teaching units for adults.

 

1. Nurture your growth consciousness

Do you want your church to grow?

Now that is a difficult question. It must be answered positively and energetically by the general officers of the Sunday School before any plans can be made. If you choose to grow, and it is a conscious choice, much work and effort will be required. Look at the Adult Start-a-Class Emphasis as a dynamic tool for reaching people.

What is alive grows. A growing church is an alive church. A growing Sunday School is an alive Sunday School. Conversely, a Sunday School which is holding its own is dying in reality. Pastor, your evangelistic proclamation is not an end in itself. Not mere numerical growth but the multiplication of Bible study units is the test of a growing, healthy church. The biblical ideal is neither to produce a host of new Christians who live unattached, separated lives, nor to expand existing classes until the membership bulges. The biblical pattern is to multiply the number of classes as new converts are added. “Normal growth comes by the division of cells, not by the unlimited expansion of existing cells.” A solid commitment to growth
is the only suitable foundation for engaging in the Adult Start-a-Class plan.

What pastor has not yearned for lost people to attend worship services after careful cultivation in a Bible teaching session? Can there be any thrill to match that of Sunday School workers introducing new
people to Jesus through Bible study? General officers in the Sunday School must enlarge their vision of persons who can be enlisted, taught, and finally converted by beginning new Adult classes.

 

2. Develop a conviction about adults.

Without hesitation, general officers should lead their churches to establish an adult priority. “When the church takes an interest in adults, adults will take an interest in the church.” This adage is true. Adults now compose nearly 70 percent of the United States population. Does your church place a like amount of energy and effort, resources, and time toward this significant group? Placing a priority on adults means that churches have an opportunity to help Christian men and women grow spiritually through an effective outreach ministry. Moreover, church leaders such as general officers make one of their greatest and most long lasting contributions by leading adults to reach more adults. It is axiomatic that churches wait on adults for leadership, finances, and organizational stability. Of course, an added bonus of the adult priority is the probability that many more children and young people will be reached through the parents’ attendance in Bible study.

 

3. Become aware of the Start-a-Class plan.

Numerous opportunities and materials are designed to help general officers learn more about the Adult Start-A-Class plan. Adult Start-a-Class clinics, Pastor-Director Workshops, Convention, Outreach, Adult
Leadership, Adult Start-a-Class Emphasis Guide, and the annual Bible Teaching Program Planbook will alert church leaders to the emphasis and how it works. Be sure to have sufficient copies of this guide to
help members of your planning group, the church council, or the Sunday School council to learn about the emphasis.

Remember, the Adult Start-a-Class Emphasis is not just a temporary project. It should be strongly considered every year by the general officers of the Sunday School.

4. Enlist the new class leadership TEAM.

A key responsibility of general officers is the enlisting of leadership for the new class. The Start-a-Class team is elected by the church as a team. The team is composed of a teacher, class outreach leader, and two or more group leaders. Election is a way to make every member of the team feel important. It is urgent that the team members be compatible and willing to serve as a team! Select capable team members. Select your best leaders for new class TEAMS. Isn’t a new class with new members worth the best?

Team members should be urged to study the material in the Adult Class Leaders Administration Kit. Each team member has a role to play, but these roles complement the total team effort. The outreach leader, for
example, guides the visitation and enlistment work; but the entire team plans and conducts enlistment and visitation activities. The teacher leads out in Sunday Bible study; but each team member, by assignment, assists in teaching on Sunday. The group leaders are primarily concerned about ministering to their group members, but planning and conducting ministry activities is the work of the entire team. When you look at it from the point of view just described, it becomes apparent that the team must be chosen from among the best leaders in the church.

The Start-a-Class plan allows the pastor and Sunday School director to invest a considerable amount of time and energy to a specific group of leaders. This attention in enlistment and training will pay rich
dividends as they are guided in a direct manner by the general officers. It is also obvious that this approach allows the pastor to multiply his ministry considerably. One can liken this approach to that of Jesus, who sought out men through whom he could reproduce Himself. It follows the spirit  of 2 Timothy 2:2 (TEV) “Take the teachings that you heard me proclaim in the presence of many witnesses, and entrust them to reliable people, who will be able to teach others also.” Pastors and other general officers can not only multiply the number of people who “sow the seed” but also multiply the number of “harvesters” as well!

 

5. Introduce the Start-a-Class plan with conviction and enthusiasm.

Begin by calling together the church council and the Sunday School council. Share with them all the available material, including this guide. Challenge them to reach more people for Christ and church
membership. Ask these councils to adopt the Adult Start-a-Class Emphasis as a specific part of the church’s program. Be sure they understand that this effort will continue throughout the year as the need for new classes arises and new teams are enlisted. Many churches have realized that the Adult Start-a-Class Emphasis is quite compatible with other outreach activities including the Growth Spiral. Also this plan may precede or follow an ACTION campaign. In any case the church should affirm the importance of adults and commit itself to work toward building a strong, growing Sunday School program for adults.

 

6. Discover needed classes.

General officers should take the lead in determining the need for a new class. One way to do this would be to total the number of adult members and prospects for your church. Divide this total by twenty- five. Then compare the result in number with the number of classes that you now provide for adults in Sunday School. The difference could give a good indication of the number of new classes needed. Following this procedure, it is necessary to discover where the greatest need and opportunity lies. Leaders need to make a priority of classes which need to be begun.

When church leaders want to make a fast and simple survey to determine where the organization needs new classes, the form, “Adult Start-a-Class Organizational Analysis Plan Sheet” will most likely meet the
need. The form helps to identify the most needy target groups in the adult organization. Answer each of the questions on the following plan sheet yes or no. Any question answered yes may be an opportunity to
begin a new class in the Adult Start-a-Class Emphasis. Reexamine each question marked yes to determine the areas of greatest need plus the situations offering the greatest opportunity.

Specifically identify the new classes that are needed. Use designations such as men, ages 40-44; women, ages 30-34; singles, ages 18-29. Plan to begin the new classes for which you can provide a leadership team. Work your plan. No church ever grew large and strong by simply making plans. It takes both the plans and the successful execution of them to grow a Sunday School.

 

 

 

ADULT START-A-CLASS

ORGANIZATION ANALYSIS PLAN SHEET

 

Determine where new classes are needed in your Adult Sunday School organization by considering the following areas of opportunity. Each “yes” answer indicates a possible need for a new class. Study the
situation carefully to determine which class or classes are most badly needed.

 

1. Do you have a class with a “too-wide” age span? (Possibly more than
10 years.) Yes ______ No ______

2. Do you have too many members enrolled in a class? (More than 25 to
30.) Yes ______ No ______

3. Do you have a class meeting in a room that is often filled?
Yes ______ No ______

4. Do you have young adults meeting with adults over 30 years of age?
Yes ______ No ______

5. Do you have senior adults meeting with adults less than 59 years of
age? Yes ______ No _______

6. Do you have single adult prospects? Yes _______ No _______

7. Do you have college adult prospects? Yes _______ No _______

8. Do you have formerly married members and prospective members?
Yes _______ No _______

9. Do you have parents without partners? Yes _______ No _______

10. Do you have senior adult prospects not being reached by existing
classes? Yes _______ No ______

11. Do you have median adult prospects not being reached by existing
classes? Yes ______ No ______

12. Do you have unenrolled adult church members? Yes ______ No ______

13. Do you have the names of parents of children enrolled in a bus
ministry? Yes _______ No _______

14. Do you have the names of parents of VBS children who are now
enrolled in Sunday School? Yes _______ No _______

15. Do you have other needs for starting new Adult classes?
Yes ______ No ______

Consider organizing or reorganizing departments to accommodate new classes. Departments should have two to six classes with a total enrollment of no more than 25 to 30 in any class. Classes should be started with an enrollment much smaller than suggested above and nurtured in growth to the maximum size.

Identify Needed Classes and Team Members
Team #1 Team #2
Target Group: Men Target Group: Singles
(35-45) (25-30)
Teacher ___________________ Teacher __________________
Outreach Leader ___________ Outreach Leader __________
Group Leader ______________ Group Leader _____________
Group Leader ______________ Group Leader _____________
Group Leader ______________ Group Leader _____________
Group Leader ______________ Group Leader _____________
Team #3 Team #4
Target Group: Women Target Group: Young Adults
(50-55) (18-29)
Teacher ___________________ Teacher __________________
Outreach Leader ___________ Outreach Leader __________
Group Leader ______________ Group Leader _____________
Group Leader ______________ Group Leader _____________
Group Leader ______________ Group Leader _____________
Group Leader ______________ Group Leader _____________

Share the news of your new Adult class!
When you’ve started a new class, please send this information to:
Adult Start-A-Class, MSN 175, 127 Ninth Ave., North, Nashville, TN
37234.

Date: _________________

Name of Church: _______________________________________
Mailing Address: ______________________________________
Street City, State ZIP

Target group for our class: ___________________________
(Examples, singles 30-40, coed 25-30, senior adults 65-75.)
Enrollment first Sunday of the class: _________________
Date of first meeting of class: _______________________
Current enrollment: ___________________________________
Average attendance since the class began: _____________
Other comments: _______________________________________
_______________________________________________________
Your Name: ____________________________________________
Address: ______________________________________________
Street City, State ZIP
Your job in the new class: ____________________________
Note: If you have started more than one class, please send similar
information on each class. Thank you!

 

(The above material is a SAC program (Adult Start-A-Class) inNashville, TN.)

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