(This is a lesson I recently taught to our adult Bible fellowship leaders. I pray it is a blessing and provides some ideas for your class or ministry as you prepare for a new year.)
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" Ecclesiastes 3:1
"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:16
Here are some thoughts on how we can articulate a plan for next year that will help us have the most fruitful year of ministry yet:
1. Start with Our Purpose
When you sit down to plan a new year, it is a great time to reflect on your purpose—why you do what you do. Our purpose for our classes is…
We do this mainly through soulwinning. We should be involving our class in this and encouraging them about it consistently.
Bible-centered, well-prepared lessons are a vital ingredient to a thriving class. As we put together a plan, we must include lesson preparation and study.
Minister to People
People need to be loved and ministered to. Our plan should include activities, fellowships, people over to our home, etc.
2. Study the Current Position
Moving forward will be much easier if you know exactly where you are. The first thing your navigation system will do when directing you to your desired destination is determine where your current position is. We must do the same if we are truly going to grow.
Ministry is not all about numbers, but it is hard to separate them. I have often referred to the parable of the shepherd who left his ninety-nine sheep to go find the one that had gone astray. Have you ever wondered how he knew he was missing one? He counted! The reason he counted was so that he would know when one was missing.
We too must be people (number) conscious from a perspective of how people are doing. So to put together an effective plan, we should study our numbers, faithfulness, attendance this year compared to last year, growth percentages and patterns, etc.
The spirit of our class should be assessed. Is it a spirit of revival, growth, and excitement? Or is it dead, stagnant, and critical. In planning for a new year, we must have a pulse on the spirit so we know what direction we need to develop it.
This is a huge part of the process. We must identify what problems are currently preventing us from moving forward so that we can address them in our New Year plan.
It may be that our classroom is too small or our class is boring and we need to overhaul our order of service. This honest evaluation will tremendously help in making next year better than this one.
3. Seek the Lord’s Prescription
It is the responsibility of the leader to get alone with the Lord and get His direction on the ministry. Now as a class of a local church, some direction is given to you by your pastor, but the class should still reflect the Lord’s leading in the life of the teacher as well.
For Your Life
The best way for your class to grow is for you to show them how by being committed to growth yourself. People do best when they can see what they are supposed to do and whom they are supposed to be. So, we must get with the Lord and ask what His plan is for us for the new year and how we can grow personally.
For Your Class
Once we know where the Lord is leading us and we have reflected on our purpose and studied our current position, we are now ready to put together our plan. As we get the Lord’s heart and mind on the matter, we begin to sense His leading as to where He wants our class to go in the new year. Then we must…
4. Structure a Plan
A dream without a plan is merely a wish. You can do all of the soul searching you want to do and come up with all of the ideas you can possibly think of, but if you don’t put together a plan of how to implement them, it will not happen! So, we must develop a plan. We should plan…
If this is an emphasis in our purpose then it should be an emphasis in our class and plan. Plan how to promote it, keep it in front of the class, and even structure some activities around it.
This is a vital part of an adult Bible class and should be carefully and prayerfully planned out. I believe an adult Bible class provides a setting to teach very specifically to the needs of the people in your class. If you teach a life-stage class like I do, then you can teach very strategically without the pressure of making the lesson applicable to a wide range of people.
Pray and ask God what your class needs and what will help them grow and then develop curriculum accordingly. This curriculum should be Bible-centered at its core. It should also be relevant. I teach a couples class and for 75% of the year will teach on marriage and family.
These are a lot of work if they are done right, but they are really important. People don’t come to my class because of me or my teaching. They come because they feel connected. Having activities provides an environment that fosters the nurturing of relationships and when people are developing relationships with others in the class they become connected and bonded and they stick.
These should be developed from the purpose. They should be tailored for where your class is currently. They should be the specific way to accomplish the Lord’s leading for your class.
Your goals should be…
- Action Oriented, not just philosophical