This is part 15 of a series of posts from David Francis’ Transformational Class: Transformational Church Goes to Sunday School . Click here for a free download of the book, as well as training materials to help you present the material to your leaders.
- Transformational Church Goes to Sunday School
- Missionary Mentality, Part One
- Missionary Mentality, Part Two
- Vibrant Leadership
- Two Key Principles: Open Groups Practicing Open Enrollment
- Relational Intentionality
- How Care Group Leaders Model Relational Intentionality
- The Absolute Necessity of Prayer Before, During, And After Small Group
- Prayer Requests: The Best Indicator of a Transformational Class
- How does Worship Impact a Transformational Small Group?
- Which Comes First: Conversion or Community?
- Community: Connecting People With People
- Are Small Groups Asking the Wrong Question?
This excerpt is adapted from the conclusion, pgs. 42-44.
Members of Transformational Classes “believe that Christ is busy in their midst, building a church for His glory, the good of the city, for calling the lost to salvation and the believer to a thriving relationship with the King.”
But where does our class start? Anywhere you want! That’s the unique principle of connection discovered in the TC research. The process is not linear. You can start at any point and move to any other.
The principle of catharsis is used to describe that event, insight, crisis, awakening, or some other dynamic that jolted a church toward a transformational path. Convergence is the term used to describe what the diagram above attempts to illustrate. The various elements are not discrete with clear boundaries between them. Stories of connection and community inevitably include accounts of mission activity in an environment of prayerful dependence prompted by the challenge of a vibrant leader that produces relational intentionality and causes people to worship!
So it doesn’t really matter where you start. Just start! My prayer is that your group will choose to be a Transformational Class, a class where Transformational Church really goes to Sunday School!
Sandy’s Story: Women with Purpose Class
Sandy Maddox is a speaker for women’s events. She’s married to Jim Maddox, LifeWay’s Florida consultant. And she’s a Sunday School teacher. A few months ago, I asked our consultants about stories of Sunday School classes that reflected the seven elements in TC. Jim told Sandy about my request. Her story is a fitting conclusion to this book. Thanks to Sandy for sharing it!
I recently read Transformational Church. I was so pleased to learn that our scorecard had an actual name/method assigned to it (our approach was relational and intentional; who knew?). This should be suggested, if not required, reading for everyone who holds a position of leadership in the church. Especially anyone who teaches.
Three years ago, in May 2007, at First Baptist Church Orlando, I was asked to start a women’s Sunday School class. With a core of six ladies, Women with Purpose was begun. My challenge to them from day one: first and foremost, to be purpose-focused, to bring honor and glory to God, and to serve Him only (missional/worship and prayerful dependence).
Secondly, we would reach out to all women (relational/community) without regard to needs, baggage, or experiences. We want every woman who walks through our door to feel as though her presence is a gift to us and we are honored she came our way (embrace: to transform lives by transformed lives). Their stories and how WWP members have ministered and discipled them is a
book of its own!
In an effort to keep this concise, a few facts…
- Over the past three years we have averaged enrolling one a week. Many have matured in their faith and God has led them to various areas of service within the church and beyond.
- We are in the process of starting a second class for the women who attend the first worship service. We will have WWP at 9:15 and at 10:45.
- Some employees at McDonald’s (not members of FBC Orlando) asked if we could offer a Bible study as their shift changed in the afternoon. This class, meeting in McDonald’s, affectionately became known as McWomen with Purpose!
- A recent survey revealed that WWP members serve in over 30 ministries and volunteer opportunities in our church, community, and home as well as foreign missions (leadership with missionary mentality).
- WWP members carry and distribute specially designed business cards and postcard invitations with pertinent information about Women with Purpose: when, where, and so on. This has been a very effective (intentional) outreach tool.
- Just over a year ago, God called one of our ladies with a passion for intercessory prayer to begin Women With Purpose Prayer Ministry. This ministry is now worldwide with satellite WWP prayer partners/groups in Italy, Australia, Spain, Jamaica, Africa, and Canada as well as points across the United States.
In a recent meeting with some leadership in this class, I shared excerpts from Transformational Church. They were moved and inspired. They identified and aligned themselves with one particular quote: “We pray because our vision exceeds our ability” (p. 142, prayerful dependence).
What God has done through these ladies is beyond my words. It is through
God and God alone. Ephesians 3:20.
David Francis is Director of Sunday School at LifeWay Christian Resources. Before joining LifeWay in 1997, he served as minister of education at First Baptist Church in Garland, Texas. David and his wife, Vickie, love teaching preschool Sunday School and are helping start a new adult class in their church in Hendersonville, Tennessee.