We all like to dream, imagine, set goals and forge new ground, but it takes work to reach our goals and realize our dreams, practical, boots-on-the- ground, dirty-your-hands effort. All progress begins with, and is, a series of small, practical steps. Sunday School or small groups provide an environment in which we can accomplish all the big dreams God provides for our lives and for the church through practical steps, vital connections.
To truly live as God intends His followers to live, we must connect to Jesus, His Truth, His community (the church) and His mission in this world. Understanding the importance of the small group or Sunday School class in pointing us toward these vital connections, how can we personally engage and engage others in this important work? Here are a few thoughts . . .

1) Connect to Jesus
• How much of what you know about Jesus comes from personal experience, and how much comes from the testimony of others?
• Do you sense the Holy Spirit’s prompting on a regular basis, or have you allowed yourself to be sidetracked to the point that you have difficulty discerning His will? Does anything need to change? If so, what do you plan to do about it?
• How much time a week do you spend with The Lord? This week, how can you structure your day so you can spend time with Jesus?
• This week, how are you connecting others to Jesus? In your teaching, leading, working, family? Consider how you might put Jesus at the front of all your interactions this week.
• When was the last time you led someone to Jesus?

2) Connect to Truth
• What are you reading in Scripture right now? We are to meditate on His word, but how much time do you spend digesting new Truth?
• Are you still quoting the same handful of verses that you learned as a child, or are you adding daily to your Scripture arsenal so that you can fight off the Enemy?
• We are to pray continually, but how much time per week do you spend in concentrated, purposeful prayer?
• Consider you conversations with people inside and outside the church. Is Scripture a regular part of your conversation? How can you include it?

3) Connect to Community
• Positions and posts aside, are you fully integrated in the life of your local church? Who depends on you? Who holds you accountable?
• What relationships within the church need fostering or mending?
• Who has joined your church lately as a result of your influence?
• Who can you connect in the next couple of weeks into community in the Church?

4) Connect to the Mission of God in the World
• Do you consider yourself a missionary? Do your actions prove that notion? Are you willing to serve if there is no tangible reward?
• Do you sacrifice so others can hear about Jesus, or is your giving convenient and easy?
• Do you pray only that the Gospel will be spread or that God would use you to spread the Gospel?
Maybe you would take time to evaluate whether or not you are living practically the things you say you believe and God intends. Are you vitally connected to the work of God in your life, the lives of others, and His church?
Are you a Sunday School or small group leader (or thinking about serving in that way)? You may want to check out www.reconnectss.com for online training to become a more effective leader and learn more about the four vital connections.