The Green Bay Packers. Most likely you've heard this story before. It has become legendary. The Packer franchise had been losing for almost ten straight years. They were at the bottom of the standings, and morale was sagging.
Enter Vince Lombardi as the new coach. He is charged with the challenge of turning this franchise around, and he's all pumped up about it. He began leading practices, inspiring, training, motivating. But at one point in a practice, he just got so frustrated with what was going on with the players that he blew the whistle.
"Everybody stop and gather around," he said. Then he knelt down, picked up the pigskin, and said, "Let's start at the beginning. This is a football. These are the yard markers. I'm the coach. You are the players." He went on, in the most elementary of ways, to explain the basics of football.
Every now and then, it is good to get back to basics.
This is a Sunday School class. We exist as a microcosm of the church. As such, we are to do what churches do. Basically, this is evangelism and discipleship: win the lost; build up the ones we win. We can do this effectively using a five step process:
Teach a halfway decent lesson each and every week, nothing less will do. You don’t have to be Charles Swindoll to grow a Sunday School class. We do need to have halfway decent teaching each and every week, nothing less will do. Good Questions can help. Conversation–Interactive Video can help. Here are ten marks of great teachers.
Invite every member and every prospect to every fellowship every month. Do what Levi did. Hold a great banquet. I have seen it happen more times than I can count. If I can get them to the party, I will not be able to keep them away from class. We have found a way to make relational evangelism systematic and consistent, something you can put on your to-do list, something you can program into your Palm. People who are opposed to the gospel are not opposed to ice cream.
Give Friday nights to Jesus. Friday Nights is a metaphor. That is, it doesn't have to be Friday night. It is a metaphor for any informal, fun thing you do with your friends. Invite prospects. Invite absentees. There is an epidemic of loneliness out there. If you love them they will come. People who are opposed to the gospel are not opposed to ice cream. There is only one time it doesn't work.
Encourage the group toward ministry. People who like to teach tend to not like to party. What they need to realize is that there are people who like to party and plan parties as much as they like to teach. The great need of the hour is to get partiers into the evangelism/ disciplemaking process.
Reproduce your group. The future of the church is the multiplication of groups. When we speak of doubling, we do not mean so much going from 10 to 20 as much as we mean going from one group to two. Eventually, growth will kill a small group. That is, eventually it will not be small any more. Eventually, because of the size, people will begin to fall through the cracks. When people are not missed, they miss.
By working these five steps we can double a class every two years or less. If we can get enough classes doing it, we can double a church every five years or less. If we can get enough churches to do it, we can double the entire church in the next 20 years. That is the goal. That is what I am giving my life to. I want you to give your life to it too. It is a big, big dream.
It breaks down to this goal: thoroughly assimilate two new people each quarter. Who have you thoroughly assimilated this last quarter? Who will you thoroughly assimilate this next quarter? These are the questions that can change eternity.
It breaks down to this activity: plan three fellowships in the next three months and invite every member and every prospect to three fellowships in the next three months. Perhaps New Years Eve. Perhaps Super Bowl. Perhaps Valentine’s Day. Three fellowships in three months. Every member. Every prospect. This is a football. Let’s play the game that can change eternity. It must become a priority.