Opportunities from Offering Both Sunday School and Small Groups, Part 1

Sunday 9th March, 2008

Kerry Mackey wrote a great blog post entitled What Are the Challenges Churches Face in Providing Both Sunday Schoola and Small Groups? The post was a response to the question contained in the title by Daryl Eldridge of Rockbridge Seminary. Many churches are asking this question. Check out Mackey's response.

I want to share the areas of challenge that Mackey lists in providing Sunday School and small groups. In Part 1, I will share the first four of Mackey's eight areas in all capitals followed by my commentary. The last four are listed without commentary (until Part 2). Consider these opportunities that churches face:

  • SENIOR PASTORS. Mackey correctly points out that pastors frequently are not in Sunday School or small groups. The opportunity here is for the pastor to get involved in one in order to validate his expectation for attenders to do the same. Then he can share testimonies (without revealing anything confidential). Many will participate because the pastor thinks it is important enough that he is also involved.
  • STAFF MEMBERS. Like pastors, many staff members are not involved in Sunday School or small groups. Many are busy taking care of assigned ministries. For their own spiritual welfare as well as for example, staff members need to participate in a group. Again, their involvement leads to the opportunity to encourage many fence straddlers to take a chance and participate.
  • US VERSUS THEM MENTALITY. There cannot be a competition. It cannot be a blame game. This must be a cooperative effort. Members should be encouraged to choose one or the other. They should both be supported and spoken about positively. Expectations should be similar for groups and group leaders. This leads to the opportunity to avoid conflict and move toward growth.
  • DIFFERENT LEADERSHIP STRUCTURES. Setting up two different structures is a killer. It leads to much more work. It contributes to the us versus them mentality. Mackey is right when he encourages setting "up the same leadership structure for both." Train leaders together. Plan together. Set up common job descriptions. Have high expectations for both. The opportunity is for both sets of leaders to feel like they are on the same team.
Remember, 40% of people today cannot attend Sunday School or worship on Sunday morning. They are working at that time. Also, 95% of apartment dwellers are usually unchurched. There are many in our world who will not attend Bible study at our churches but would accept an invitation to our homes for Bible study. But for others, it is more convenient to attend Bible study and worship together. Prayerfully consider the opportunity to do both. Be consistent. Check out Part 2. Be revolutionary!

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