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FIRST-PERSON: Make it a ‘Great Expectations’ class

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Thousands have already signed up for “Great Expectations Online,” an event taking place at your nearest computer on July 11. The goal: to train thousands of people in a single day.

The fast-paced, interactive Sunday afternoon webcast event is free. Sunday School leaders can gather in any location with a high speed Internet connection and a data projector or sufficiently large monitor. They will participate in the same activities and have access to the same handout materials as those attending the event in person during the annual Sunday School Leadership Weekend event at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center.

The event is based on the book “Great Expectations.” No, it’s not the classic by Charles Dickens, but rather a new 48-page book with the subtitle “Planting Seeds for Sunday School Growth.” The book, which is not required for the training, can be ordered or downloaded free at LifeWay.com/Sundayschool. The training sessions will focus on the three main characteristics of a Great Expectations class.

The three main training segments will be facilitated by widely respected Christian educators. Jeff Young, from Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, will facilitate the first session, “Expect New People Every Week.” P.K. Spratt, from Jersey Baptist Church near Columbus, Ohio, will lead the second 20-minute session, “Expect People to Say Yes.” Allan Taylor, from First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., will lead the session titled “Expect Classes to Reproduce.” I will also participate along with LifeWay’s Bruce Raley and Ross Ramsey.


Participants will be able to text and/or e-mail questions, which a panel of leaders will answer to conclude the rapid-fire two-hour experience. I talked recently with a Sunday School director in South Carolina who is excited about the participation of all his leaders from 4-6 p.m. EDT and plans to follow the event with an appreciation supper prepared by other church members. Some West Coast churches are planning to serve lunch before participating from 1-3 p.m. PDT. Perhaps churches in the Hawaii-Pacific Baptist Convention will serve breakfast!


Find more details at http://www.lifeway.com/event/359/. Arrange for the technical aspects and test them before the event. Gather a crowd. Plan to make it fun. And pray that God will do something wonderful in your class, your church, your association, your state, and our continent — and beyond — as 20,000 leaders recommit themselves to leading Great Expectations Sunday Schools!
David Francis is director of Sunday School at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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  • David Francis