Here’s part II of our Sunday School vs. Small Groups series.
Connecting in a smaller group of people is important to one’s spiritual walk with God. Relationships and bonds are built as people study the Bible together. Methodology comes into play as churches decide how they want to accomplish this the best to help them grow. The two most popular models for this type of connection in the church today are Sunday School and small groups. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the Sunday School model and see if it might be the right fit for your church.
1) Classroom space: Many churches have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on education space, so why not take advantage of it?
2) Childcare: Most churches have a nursery and are prepared with space designated for children. Usually this space is not close to the adult classrooms, which limits potential distractions to studiers. Volunteers are also more easily to find on a Sunday morning.
3) Location/Age appropriate classes: Most people live within 10 miles of the church they attend. This central location makes it easier for families to meet in one place that provides Bible study for teenagers and children, all while adults meet.
4) Feeds the worship service: Most Sunday School classes meet an hour prior to worship service. This makes Sunday school a natural feeder to your time of worship.
1) Start time is too early: Many young families do not want to arrive at church at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. Therefore, many choose not to come and will only come to the worship service.
2) Outreach is limited: Guests may be more limited on an early Sunday morning bible study. Also, the classroom may not be as inviting as going to someone’s home for the first time.
3) Classroom setting too structured: Most classrooms at church are very sterile and not overly inviting. Often times the setting may remind people of secular school.
4) Class size too large: Many Sunday School classes grow too large and don’t multiply to start new classes. The result of this is classes that are too big for people to connect. These larger classes are barriers to real growth.
The Sunday School model certainly worked for the church in years past. However, after looking at the pros, cons, and your church culture, you can decide what works for your congregation. Sunday School that is done well could be the answer you need to grow your small group ministry.