Those who lead Sunday School classes have a responsibility to encourage and train members to bring the unsaved to Christ.
That was the charge Jay Gordon, adult and small groups minister at the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, brought to leaders gathered at Pinnacle Alabama, an annual conference for Sunday School and small group leaders hosted by the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. Pinnacle was held Aug. 5–6 at Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center in Talladega.
“We must lead our groups to maturity,” Gordon said. “I use six ‘G’ words for this. We gather for worship and group to study. Then we must grow in faith. These three things can be internal. But the externals include giving or serving, going [on missions] and guiding or discipling.
“If we stop with the first three, we’re only halfway to the prize.”
Leading from passion
Gordon said it’s hard for a group to be passionate for the lost if the leader doesn’t show that passion. He gave examples of ways he tries to lead by example when it comes to evangelism.
“I often ask the server before a restaurant meal how I can pray for them when we have a blessing,” Gordon said. “This can lead to a gospel conversation.
“And I often ask people, ‘What’s your spiritual background?’ This question is non-threatening and has opened doors for me.”
When sharing the gospel, Gordon uses the 3 Circles diagram, which he tries to do at least once a month. He also asks a group member if they will present it the following month, and someone else the next.
“That way [they] get familiar with this fairly simple gospel presentation,” Gordon noted.
He also asks his group members to write down on index cards the names of those for whom they’re concerned, promising to take the cards and pray.
“I often take two or three cards in the morning and pray for these,” he said. “And I will text group members to tell them that I prayed for their son or their co-worker that morning. This reminds them to pray as well.”
Importance of obedience
Witnessing might be uncomfortable for believers, but when “we’re obedient,” we “share in the blessings” of God’s work, Gordon said.
“I actually was saved in the 7th grade during evangelism training,” he recalled. “I loved my church, went to the training and realized I needed Christ. We are all indebted to those who loved us and shared Christ with us.”
Gordon said since others poured their lives into ours, we should do the same.
“We can actually be part of their testimony when we do the work of evangelism,” he asserted.
“The Apostle Paul said, ‘Follow me as I follow Christ,’” Gordon noted. “I think every group leader can say the same thing. We don’t claim perfection since we all have struggles. But we must lead our group members to know that sharing our faith is vital.
“We keep ‘throwing out the seed’ and trusting God to bring the harvest.”