It’s Sunday morning. One of the couples in your adult Bible class walks in the door. Here is what you said, “Hey, how was your week?” And what did they say? “It was great!” You took them at their word, and they said what they thought was best to say. What really happened was that they fought all week, their teenagers gave them fits, their home was a war zone, and they just received a notice of foreclosure—far from great!
The next move is ours. Will we “do life” with them? Or will we leave them to figure it out on their own? Let me offer some suggestions to those who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get in the trenches with those in your care.
Exercise sensitive oversight.
Solomon put it this way, “Know the state of your flock.” Know people personally and individually—know their story. Then, regularly pray for them like you would a family member. Touch base with them often, “tying knots” on every occasion and in every thing, lest they drift away from Christ and the church during the times of difficulty.
Emphasize honesty and Gospel-centered living in your teaching and in your class.
Do this by asking probing and specific questions with people. There’s a big difference between, “Hey, how are you doing?” and “How are you doing with your anger issues? What verses did you memorize this week that helped you?” Recognize warning signals like when people distance themselves and become isolated from the group. That is not the time to pull back. Approach them with the purpose of instilling Biblical values in their lives, not just promoting attendance in your class. A loving “touch” is rarely rejected, and when they respond, enter into a relationship of accountability for their joy and growth.
Build a class format that is conducive to honest relationships.
Use care group leaders so that everyone from your class is being “touched” in some way each week. People are more likely to open up in a smaller group with someone they trust. Build discussion questions into your teaching format so that people feel free to respond, react, and even ask questions about what is real in their lives. If you follow this track, you will probably notice your class takes on more of the feel of a classroom rather than an auditorium.
In Acts 2:44–46, the church is described as a place where people had all things in common. They lived and worked together. Daily, they shared meals and worshipped God together. It was a shared experience of necessity that built strong relationships, and the Lord added to this early church daily. It is an example of how the early Christians did life together.
“Doing life” together is more than just showing up and giving a lesson. It means that you are intimately involved in the lives of those the Lord has entrusted into your care. May God help us to do life with others and help them to live for His glory.