The week before the first Sunday of a quarter, I deliver to everyone on my class ministry list a copy of the Sunday School curriculum member book, Daily Discipleship Guide (I delivered the Personal Study Guide prior to that). Usually, our conversations are brief and on the front porch since they know I am trying to make it to everyone’s house in a set time period. Sending out a group text before hand gives everyone a time window, so they know my plans.
Digital copies could be sent with a simple click of a button, but I have my reasons for carrying a print copy to each person.
1. Makes me a better teacher.
Visiting someone on their turf helps us get to know the people in our group better. We will discover hobbies, projects they are working on, and other things that help us teach the group better. Knowing these types of things can help us know where to go and not go in a discussion, especially if we have people who proudly display a banner for their favorite sports team or have a Christmas decoration in their flower bed even in May. Even if they are not home, we can still learn about the people in our group. Tip: Carry a plastic bag that can be sealed so you can leave the book if no one answers.
2. Removes some of the awkwardness.
Showing up at someone’s house can be awkward but having a book to deliver removes some of that awkwardness. Not all of the people in my class live close to me (in fact, most do not) so it gives me a reason to be in their neighborhood. Sending a group text letting everyone know I am coming helps as well. The first sentence of the conversation is already set: "Came by to give you a copy of the study we will be following this quarter; wanted to make sure you had this guide so you can follow along." Some will begin to tell you why they have not been attending which moves the conversation alone. Tip: Focus on the future and not the past when talking to people who have missed Sunday School class. Others will thank you and tell you about what they are eating or doing. Either way, you have opened the door for a conversation.
3. Reminds every one of the importance of studying the Bible.
Here is a key point — everyone gets a visit and a copy of the study guide even if they rarely or never attend. As the leader of the group, you are responsible for the sheep in your group — every one of them. We want them to study the Bible so they can grow even if they are not able to attend our group on a regular basis. We are simply being good shepherds when we deliver a study guide to everyone. They know we could be doing other things, so this simple action lets them know how important this is to us as their shepherd. It also helps the regular attenders know that we value them and expect them to study the Bible.
What advantages do you see for personally delivering a study guide to everyone on your class ministry list? Think about how making this delivery helps you be a better teacher and shepherd to your group, and develop a plan of your own for next quarter.