In 1982, the Atlanta Braves won the first thirteen games of the season, getting out to an early lead. In the months of May, June, July, and August, they broke even, losing as many as they lost. The Dodgers and Giants won more games than the Braves in those four consecutive months but were never able to catch the Braves. The first thirteen games determined who won the division and made it to the playoffs.
When starting a new Sunday School class, what you do the first Sunday matters. Here are seven things that can help get things moving forward on the first day the class meets.
1. Arrive early. This allows you time to pray, gather your thoughts, and make sure everything is ready for that first gathering. Being the first to arrive is a good practice so it makes sense to start this habit on the first Sunday.
2. Pray. Before anyone arrives, pray that God will set the tone for the class, that He will help you shepherd the people who will be a part of your class, and that God will help your class start more new classes in the future.
3. Use name tags. This seems like a simple thing, but encourage everyone to make a nametag as they enter. Use stickers so everyone is on equal ground (as opposed to pre-printed name tags).
4. Greet everyone as they arrive. Let each person know that you are grateful for them choosing to attend the new class. You may also want to pose a question or share a quote that gives clues about the direction the study will go that day while others arrive.
5. Start on time. If you wait until a certain number has arrived, then those who were there on time will begin to arrive late in the weeks ahead. Those who arrive on time should be rewarded by you starting on time.
6. Lead like it is the second Sunday. The class was created to reach, teach, and minister to people though Bible study. Bible study is the vehicle for all the other things you hope to accomplish. Having an icebreaker event prior to the first class will help keep the focus of the first class time on Bible study. Remember, the first Sunday sets the tone for future Sundays.
7. Save administration stuff for the end of class time. While we may be tempted to organize the class at the beginning, save it for the end. Getting organized can eat up all the Bible study time. If you save it for the end, much of what needs to be done will still get done—just faster.
These actions set the tone for the future. That first Sunday will not be perfect, but you can build off what went well and set expectations that will help the class prosper in the future.
What other tips would you add to this list of seven?