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Tony Brooks: Four Ways to Increase Participation and Excitement in Sunday School/Small Groups

Posted: 1/2/19 at 2:30pm. Post by Tony Brooks.

As you come to him, the living Stone–rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him–you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5)

It is about attitude and theology! One of the primary doctrines for Baptists is the “Priesthood of the believer.” Teachers, you have the ability to emphasize this doctrine and see your class come alive! Here are four ways that it will happen:

  1. We each have direct access to God, not just pastors/teachers. We need to help each person recognize that God can use them through prayer to make a difference! Encourage them to partner with someone else in the class throughout the week. Share prayer concerns beyond those for people who are sick—to needs and vision in the church.
  2. The doctrine clarifies the ministry of the church including priests to each other. 1 Peter 2:9 reads, But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Every follower of Christ is a minister! Each one should be a minister in the class as well as in the world around them. Helping them understand their role leads to more people in Bible study and God’s Kingdom. (Care Group leaders help here. Email me at tony.brooks@bgav.org if you want some documents for this idea.)
  3. Each person under the Holy Spirit can interpret Scripture for themselves. Help individuals recognize that God speaks to them as well, as they study God’s Word. Based on their experience and God speaking to them, they may shed light on the passage that teachers do not see. This application leads to more participation in discussion of the Bible. Discussion throughout the class leads to a common purpose of discovering how God’s Word can be applied to life. I always add a prerequisite here: Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 NIV)
  4. We are priests who are called to servant ministry (towel and baptism). Every member is a servant minister. One of the ways that I make this clear is with baptism. When someone is baptized, we offer them a certificate of baptism as a reminder—and a towel. The towel is a symbol of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. It is a reminder that we are called to serve in the community even in the lowliest of positions. (Keep in mind Philippians 2 here.) If Jesus was willing to do the most humbling acts of service, so should we. Every class should have an ongoing service project for this idea to come to fruition.

Brooks-TonyTony Brooks is our Sunday School/Discipleship Specialist and Field Strategist for the Southside Region. You may email him at tony.brooks@bgav.org. Follow Tony on Twitter: @TonyBrooks7