Church leaders gather to grow group ministry

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PENSACOLA­–Why do we need Sunday school? How do we get leaders who stay? What is a disciple? These are a few questions answered during the two-day Lifeway Sunday School Essentials Conference hosted at First Baptist Church of Pensacola in January.

About 35 education leaders, representing 15 churches, gathered for a time of equipping and revitalization, where they were reminded of key principles in discipleship and growing the church through group ministry.

“Hosting this event provided a much-needed local opportunity to connect with other Florida Baptist leaders, share insights and learn how to recruit and develop new leaders in a post-COVID world,” said Peter Burmeister, associate pastor of administration at First Baptist Church of Pensacola. He added, “While the church numbers are coming back up, the need for lay leaders is huge.”

With sessions led by Ken Braddy from Lifeway, attendees learned principles for growing a healthy Sunday school, recruiting and training workers, growing disciples and more.

“This conference helped me fall in love with Sunday school ministries in a fresh and exciting way. I’m excited about the future of Sunday school and the opportunity to see people develop into fully devoted followers of Christ through this ministry,” said John Lowe, campus pastor, Olive Baptist Church Warrington Campus.

Pastor Greg Sellers, First Baptist Church of Bratt, added, “I left the conference excited, and immediately began assessing our facilities, our attendance and our potential for growth at FBC Bratt. The greatest reminder for me was the fact that teaching a Sunday school class is more than transferring facts; the need for a healthy and active relationship with the group is necessary.”

Those in attendance were able to resource digital books and training plans to develop actionable steps once returning to their home churches.

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