1. I love breakfast.  I know it sounds shallow, but breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day.  I especially enjoy our covered dish breakfast days at Spring Creek.  It was great to see so many consuming the sweet rolls and muffins as well as the Word of God in Bible Study.  That was a good start to our 7 Week Challenge where we ask that you attend Bible Study at least once.  Try It Out!

2. Today is Columbus Day.  Columbus arrived in the Americas on October 12, 1492 and people across the two American continents have been celebrating for centuries.  It’s been a federal holiday since 1937.  This year marks 520 years.  It is hard to imagine the courage it took to venture out into an unyielding ocean over 500 years ago, not knowing what, if anything, could be found.  I’m glad there are still adventurers who will risk it all to discover new horizons.  BTW, did you know that Columbus made four trips across the Atlantic?  He crossed in 1492, 1493, 1498 and 1502.

3. There is an apologetics conference taking place this weekend at Faith Bible Church in The Woodlands.  The cost is $39 for one person, $10 for a spouse and $10 for students.  Click here for more information.

4. Another reason democracy is difficult in a predominantly muslim nation: Grace.  Islam is a works based religion, but more than that, it is a religion without grace.  Man doesn’t find grace from God, he overcomes his own shortcomings by performing a larger number of good acts as well as rituals.  In Christianity it is the grace of God that overwhelms our sin and becomes our only access point into relationship with God.  What does this have to do with democracy?  Democracy is all about grace.  We believe in forgiveness upon repentance.  We believe in a second chance.  We believe in redemption of all.  Without grace, we must have dictators who are above the hoi polloi (masses of people).  Without grace we need leaders who have some special dispensation from God that makes them, and them alone, capable of ruling.  Look at the muslim nations, they are all ruled by a ruling class that claims some special ability or place that makes their rule unquestionable.

5. It was great to be in the baptistry again Sunday.  Please continue to pray for the new believers in our midst.  God is doing a powerful work among us.  When adult men start to come to faith in Christ as we have seen the past two weeks, God is at work.  Look around and join in the fun!

One of the greatest tools of the church over the past 100 years is the outreach oriented Sunday School.

One of the greatest weights around the neck of the church over the past 100 years is the inward focused Sunday School.

Every church makes a choice about focus of their Bible Study hour, small groups, cell groups or Sunday School (whatever you call it most churches have some type of Bible study in small groups that meet during the week, either Sunday morning, afternoon, evening or some time during the week).  You either choose for it to be focused on growth or on “fellowship”.  I think you can have both, but we most of those who focus on fellowship tend to not incorporate much growth while those focused on growth find it easier to incorporate fellowship.  So, as you might guess, I think it better to focus on growth and allow the fellowship to naturally happen.  I think our natural instinct is to fellowship and so we don’t need to spend much time on that aspect while growth is a stretch for us.

Growth requires change.  Change our room, change our seats, change our teacher, change our structure.  Growth requires us to become uncomfortable with new people, new places, new structures.  It’s easier to just keep everything the same and keep our friends and let our relationships grow deep.  Over time the easy way leads to stagnation, paralysis and, ultimately, decline.

To challenge you and your Sunday School class I would like to take some time to think over, discuss, respond to this blog if you like, the following questions:

  1. What would be the best arrangement of our class to welcome visitors?
  2. Are there good seats available for the person who visits for the first time?
  3. What are some things we can do to help a visitor want to join our class?
  4. How many could fit in our class before it would be best for us to sponsor a new class?  (keep in mind the 80% rule: you can’t average over a long time more than 80% of your capacity)
  5. Do we have a plan to make immediate contact with visitors to our class?  (studies show that people are most likely to attend a church again if a lay person contacts them within 24 hours of their visit)
  6. How must I change to reach more people, to grow my class? (the answer for a teacher is probably different than that for a member of the class)

Perhaps if we take some time to think these things through we can see how God might change us to grow our Sunday School.