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Effective Use of Time

I was reading a blog post by Michael Hyatt on Seven Rules for More Effective Meetings and this got me thinking about getting the most out of, what could be, the most important hour of the week.  Yeah, how do we help people get the most out of the Sunday School/Biblical Community hour each week?
I was looking at Michael Hyatt's article on productive meetings and began to think about our Sunday School/Biblical Community hour.  Our schedule for the hour goes as follows:
5-8 minutes of fellowship and welcoming of our guests
5-6 minutes of outreach assignments/reporting and mission action planning
35-40- minutes of transformational Bible Study
5-10 minutes of care group prayer
So is this schedule effective?  Does it work within the Seven Rules for More Effective Meetings?  Let's take a closer look, shall we?
Hyatt's first rule - Establish hard edges.  "Good meetings start and stop on time."  The schedule we use for Bible Study assumes that we have a hard start and hard stop.   With only 60 short minutes to accomplish four things starting and stopping on time is critical.   Hyatt gives us to important things to remember.  First, "When you start late, you inadvertently punish the punctual and reward the tardy."  "When you finish late, you frustrate participants."  Most, if not all, of our classes are good about starting on time.
Hyatt's second rule - Create an agenda.  The fact that we have a schedule with start/stop points with specific things to accomplish would meet this rule.  It might be good to list the schedule for the class every few weeks, just to remind them of our Sunday School/Biblical Community agenda.  Most, if not all, of our classes are pretty good about following a set agenda of fellowship, outreach, Bible Study and care each week as we gather.  I will give us good marks here as well, but consider posting the "agenda" for your class, this might be a good idea from time to time.
Hyatt's rule number three - State the desired outcome.  This might be one area where we could improve upon and help our learner get more out of the Bible Study hours.  What if we all began our lesson by stating the desired action or outcome planned for this lesson.  For example, "This week as we study the Holiness of God from Psalms 99, I hope you will learn four traits you can practice next next week to model holy living to your family and friends."  The lesson time just got focused.  I know this is something I could do better.
Hyatt's rule number four - Review the minutes and action items.   While we don't keep minutes on our Sunday School/Biblical Communities we can review the state outcome from last week (accountability) and act on action items (outreach assignments and reports).  Since the first of the year, we have seen a dramatic improvement in contacting prospects and reporting on those contact.  That is very exciting.
However, I wonder how much more effective our Bible Study time would be if we used just a minute or two of the time to ask, "how did you do in accomplishing last weeks lesson in you life?".  For example, "Last week we talked about four traits of a holy life.  Does anyone have a personal testimony of how you tried to intergrate these into your life before we begin this weeks lesson?"   In teaching we would call this review.
Let me take Hyatt's rule five and six together - Take written minutes and Clarify action items.  Most if not all of our adult classes do a good job of recording prayer requests and organizing care to members.  Let me encourage you to keep up that good work, but also to expand the ministry and care outreach of your class by organizing into small care groups to increase the quality of fellowship, prayer and care.
Hyatt's rule seven - Determine the next meeting date.  This is an easy one for us.  Sunday School/Biblical Community is the only small group ministry that meets every week at FBCRR.  With that I invite you to join one of our groups if you are in Round Rock, TX.  As one of our Sunday School/Biblical Community Leaders, I know you will join with me in working to increase the effectiveness our our Bible Study hour.
Larry Stehr
Minister of Adults

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