By Tommy C. Higle
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:22b, I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some (ESV). The Bible teaches that we are to use all (biblically compatible) means possible to win everyone we can to Christ. I have learned some things during my 45+ years of pastoring that I would like to share with you. As you listen, look for principles, not methods. Methods of reaching people vary from place to place, but principles remain the same.
Focus on possibilities more than problems
Find possibilities before fixating on problems. If you look at the problems first, you will get discouraged.
· Don’t be like the Israelites when they first came to the border of the Promised Land. After the spies returned, the vote was two million to two not to take the land. Why? The majority looked at the problems, not the possibilities.
· It doesn’t take any faith to see the problems, but it takes great faith to see the possibilities despite many issues.
· Look at the possibilities first, then you will be motivated to overcome the problems. Remember, anything worthwhile will have many issues.
The CBC is a bridge class. It is designed to reach those not attending a “traditional” Sunday school class. (The recommended material for this class is Journey Of A Lifetime. You should have already taught this material in your church on a Sunday night or Wednesday night to give your regular members an opportunity to take the course.)
· Regular church members should not attend this class because they are intimidating to the non-churched. Only bring people from the church if they are already friends with someone in the class.
· Keep it short and digestible. Avoid anything controversial and phrase things to a level that a child can understand. If your regular Sunday class lasts 30-45 minutes of direct teaching, streamline your material to take up around half that time.
· The class should also be publicized as a “no strings attached Bible study,” indicating no one will be pressured to join a church or make any decision. People should be assured they will never be asked to read, pray, or speak in any manner.
Keeping the audience
When trying to attract the non-churched, the CBC has at least four advantages over the traditional Sunday school class or small group Bible study.
· First, a large class offers anonymity (the feeling of being anonymous), so the non-churched are not intimidated by feeling they will “stick out like a sore thumb.”
· Second, the fear of being asked to pray, read, or speak is eliminated. The number one fear of every human being is being embarrassed in front of a group of people.
· Third, the most appealing study to non-churched persons will give them an overview of the entire Bible. Everyone wants to know about the #1 bestselling book of all time. They may come for knowledge's sake! Journey Of A Lifetime has been explicitly designed for this type of outreach and study. The CBC will not work nearly as well with traditional Sunday school literature.
· Fourth, the “laid back” atmosphere produced by casual dress and coffee is appealing— especially to those who often are turned off by traditional Bible study methods. Be patient because decisions will result through osmosis. Over the course of the study, many in the class may make decisions for Christ. However, you are dealing with people on the spiritual fringe, so don’t try to rush them.
Be patient. It will take time to get into the swing of things. It will take even longer before anyone feels comfortable enough to open up or make the decision.
· Decisions will result through the process of osmosis. This means gradual or unconscious assimilation of ideas or knowledge. Over the course of the study, many in the class will make decisions for Christ as a supernatural result of being exposed to the Word of God.
· However, you are dealing with people on the spiritual fringe, so don’t try to rush them. Remember . . . faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10:17, NKJV). In some cases, four or five months may need to pass before you begin to reap the spiritual seeds sown in the class. I have seen a few people take two or three years before giving themselves to Christ. Give God’s Word time to work (see Isaiah 55:10-11 & Hebrews 4:12).
For a printable, more detailed version of this post with step by step instructions click on this link: b5e059_2d63e3d5206c445182659c9d13692d0a.pdf (journeyseries.com).