This is part 7 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
This excerpt is adapted from Chapter 3, “Relational Intentionality,” pages 20-24.
Nothing says “relational intentionality” like a Sunday School class with a vital and functioning system of care groups. The job description for a care group leader is simple:
CONTACT EVERY MEMBER EVERY WEEK
Best practice suggests that each care group leader will assume responsibility for five to seven men or women. I recently led training at Cornerstone Church in Madison, Tennessee, a large Assembly of God congregation with a wonderful small group ministry and an unusually strong system of care group ministers. These care group leaders often have 12 or more members in their care. That is probably explained by the fact that care group leaders are required to complete several months of training before assuming their responsibility!
Why not have couples’ care groups? Because usually the women will contact the women but the men won’t. Besides, you don’t want to place people in potential positions that could lead to a compromise. I’m often asked, “Did you mean contact every absentee every week?” No, I mean contact every member every week! We’re not contacting them to get them to attend; we’re contacting them to let them know we care, to learn of needs that may require prayer or care, and to share opportunities for them to participate in praying and caring for others in the group or class. That’s why it is so important to limit the size of the care groups to a manageable number. Most people can contact five or six people weekly.
Bonus Responsibilities for Care Group Leaders
Although the basic responsibility of care group leaders is to contact every member in the group every week, some classes ask these leaders to take on bonus duties. Each of these duties strengthens the element of Relational Intentionality.
In large classes, especially those that utilize a master-teacher approach that incorporates small discussion groups two or three times during the Bible teaching session, care group leaders may be asked to read the predetermined questions and facilitate the discussion. In such a class, chairs may be arranged in horseshoe-style with the open end facing the front: one horseshoe for each care group. And of course, some of the horseshoes have empty chairs for the new people we’re expecting every week. A class that is deliberate about obeying the irreducible law of Kingdom growth will regularly start new horseshoes! Another bonus for a care group leader would be to organize a ministry or mission project of a scale that can be tackled by the members of the care group. We’ll talk more about that pinnacle of relational intentionality in a future blog post. The most common duty for a care group leader, however, has to do with prayer. Let’s talk about that next week!
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.