QUICK ASSIMILATION OF
This zippy, Sunday morning
class of four 60 minute sessions, when offered periodically throughout
the year, gives a church a powerful strategy for quickly engaging
newcomers after their initial welcome.
In the Newcomer's Class,
newcomers meet and build relationships with other newcomers, do some
spiritual sharing, name their gifts, discuss areas of church life and
ministry that interest them, and fill out a "Gifts and Ministries
Profile," all of which sets the stage for a natural, deeper engagement
with the church in the months to come. Lastly, it is not difficult to
recruit newcomers to this class since it is designed especially for them,
is offered before or after worship when it's easiest to recruit them, and
is NOT a New Members Class which carries an intimidating expectation to
join the church right away.
Newcomers Class introduces newcomers to laity empowerment basics - the
vision that all Christians are ministers in daily life, an emphasis on
each individual's God-given gifts, a spirit of mutuality, personal
spiritual sharing, and interactive Bible studies in which everyone's
contribution is valued. Many discussion exercises are shortened versions
of what is found in the LEP core curricula, UNWRAPPING OUR GIFTS or
UNLEASHING OUR WEEKDAY MINISTRIES. After completing the Newcomers Class,
newcomers have their appetite whetted for more LEP courses.
INTRODUCE CHRISTIAN BASICS
Newcomers Class helps unchurched folks unacquainted with Christian
scripture and tradition to reflect on a few basic faith questions such as
"Who is Christ?", "What is a Christian?" and "What is Christian
community?" through interactive Bible studies, altar displays, and
personal sharing. In the final session, newcomers reflect on "7 Building
Blocks of Faith" (such as worship, prayer, Bible study, financial giving,
INTRODUCE YOUR CHURCH AND DENOMINATION
the transitions between sharing exercises in each session, leaders make
reflective comments about the dreams, priorities, and theology of their
local church or denomination that relate to insights that surfaced in the
discussion. Leaders are also encouraged to hand out written brochures
about their church and its denomination, and then ask for questions. If
more time is desired to focus on denominational issues, some sharing
exercises of the four sessions can be set aside.
SHORT AND ZIPPY CLASSES
class is only 60 minutes long - the time goes fast! Discussion exercises
and Bible studies are designed with newcomers in mind who tend to be a
little shy. Interesting, quick volleys of different discussion exercises
engage newcomers and help them connect with each other and their faith.
Brochures and handouts (provided by curriculum, as well as by the local
church and denomination) provide newcomers material to read outside of
FOLLOW-UP "GIFTS INTERVIEWS"
the class is completed, the leaders (or trained volunteers) schedule
visits with each member of the class in their homes for a "Gifts
Interview." The visitor and newcomer review the newcomer's "Gifts and
Ministries Profile" (partially discussed in the last class session). This
generates further discussion and gift discernment that is individually
focused on the newcomer's interests, loves, and gifts. Newcomers generally
enjoy and feel affirmed by the "Gifts Interview," and the interviewers
notes are helpful guides in engaging the newcomer in relevant church
groups, activities and ministries.
The short, user-friendly 82-page
"Leader's Manual" has four 60 minute sessions, each laid out in thorough
detail, making it easy for clergy or lay teams to be effective and
spiritually empowering. The Leader's Manual also contains handouts to be
photocopied, articles, and publicity materials.