Groups Produce Longevity

By Paul Wilkinson

Look around the worship service next time you’re there and think to yourself: of the 500 or so people in this service who aren’t connected to any group, I should expect 330 of them to disappear in the next 5 years.

Below is an excerpt from 100 by David Francis and Michael Kelley. Because being in a group produces longevity, pray this summer about how your group will invite unconnected people into your groups, whether they be lost and searching or Brentwood regulars.

82 of 100 plus 8 of 50

In research findings reported by Thom Rainer in the book High Expectations, an analysis was made of people who had come to Christ and joined a sampling of churches five years earlier. We’ve already mentioned this earlier, but the findings demand us to look at this more closely. Of those who attended both worship and Sunday School, 82% were still active. Of those who attended only worship, just 16% remained active.

So take a church with 150 in worship: 50 who attend worship only and 100 who attend both Sunday School and worship. If the research plays out in that church, five years later, 82 of the 100 will still be around. But of those who attend only worship, only 8 of those 50 will still be there. How do these dynamics impact the way you view the importance of getting people into Sunday School?


Paul Wilkinson is the Adult Minister–Groups Associate, Brentwood Campus, Brentwood Baptist Church.

Application for Themselves: The Necessity of Bible Intake by Group Members

By Paul Wilkinson
  • If only the leader is in the text daily, then only the leader is sensitive to the Spirit’s quickening: seeing the Scripture in life.
  • Therefore, we must provide opportunity for our group members to be in the text daily.

We must give some application points to our group members; that’s part of being a good teacher. Just consider the Great Commission: teach them to obey. However, even though we can cater application to a group of 12 better than the preacher can to thousands, we still won’t be able to hit the “personal” for everyone. Now, add into that the old mantra that the Sunday School teacher is the only one who grows, and you have a recipe for the status quo.

My theory is that we leaders are steeped in the biblical text each week so that we see what the Spirit brings to our attention and we can respond to it in the power of the Spirit. In other words, our Bible saturation calibrates our spiritual sensitivities to the quickening of the Holy Spirit. Now imagine that you weren’t the teacher and that you didn’t steep yourself in the text. Instead, you show up to a group not having read anything, ready for the leader to tell you what to do. Is that disciple-making?

I encourage you to drive your groups into the Bible regularly, if not daily. I’ve chosen to teach our Current Foundations Series to align with the sermons so that I can send the participant’s guide to my group early in the week and they can steep themselves in the texts, discussion questions, and application points (not to mention, the JourneyOn Today Daily Bible Reading app!)

If you’re teaching a book of the Bible, give the group something to read each day: some cross references, a participant’s guide, etc. If you’re using Past Foundation’s Series, then each lesson has biblical text attached that could be worked through each day.

Our people will not see the Scripture in their lives if we don’t challenge them to be in the text for themselves. Let’s push them to engage the Word daily!


Paul Wilkinson is the Adult Minister–Groups Associate, Brentwood Campus, Brentwood Baptist Church.


Learning and Believing

By Sonnie Bain

I have lived in Williamson County for over 45 years.  Our three sons were raised here and went through school here.  Actually, we moved to Brentwood because it was the cheapest place in the Nashville area to live in 1972!  Life has certainly changed over time.

My husband Tom coached Brentwood Youth Baseball for 22 years, as well as Youth Football for several years.  He always coached the 11-12-year-old boys.  It was his passion.  He loved that age, because he could teach them anything about the sport, no matter how difficult, and nothing was too hard for them.  He told them they could do it, and they believed him!  The boys loved the process of learning and growing and showed remarkable improvement during the season.  We should all enjoy learning as much as those boys did.

As I have been visiting various Sunday morning LIFE Groups, I have been very impressed with the way these groups relish the learning.  The teachers do their homework and come prepared to teach additional information to the class about the scriptures they are studying.  It may be the background of the people, the traditions of that time, or the references to the study in other parts of the Bible.  I am a natural note-taker, and I have come away with notes from every class that show the leaders care – about the Word of God and about His people.

Want to make disciples?  Then, remember to keep learning and be a leader your group believes in.  It makes all the difference!

If I have not visited your LIFE Group yet, I will.  And if I take notes, it’s not because I’m spying on your class; it’s because I’m enjoying your class!

Thank you for honoring God through your service.  We appreciate you!


Sonnie Bain is the Administrative Assistant in the Adult Ministry–Groups, Brentwood campus, Brentwood Baptist Church.