Archive for small group

100 Small Changes Later…

100hashtag At the beginning of this series, David Francis introduced our blog to what would be 100 daily posts that provoke conversations about little things all of us can do to make our groups better.  These were not game changers or radical transformations of teaching methods.  These were small changes that could lead to minor course corrections in the direction of your group.  Most of them were not new ideas but simply reminders of things that need to be done.

We want to reflect back to the first post in this series, David Francis’ introductory article on August 1 of this year.

Sunday School is a system. It’s a bunch of things—big and small—that make a Sunday School excellent instead of mediocre.  Each relates to another and that to another and so on and so on. So what if every little thing you improved resulted in just one more person coming to Sunday School, coming back to Sunday School, enrolling in Sunday School, attending regularly in Sunday School, serving in Sunday School, and inviting another to Sunday School? Each of the 100 ideas you’ll read about in the next several weeks may seem inconsequential taken alone. But put 50 or 60 or 70 or 80 into practice and see what happens!

So, here we are.  100 articles later.  You now have 100 ideas from which you can draw for solutions to little roadblocks you may face while leading your group. Come back to this site often and refer back to these posts when you seeking answers.  We are here for you and will continue to be here with fresh insight and ideas to strengthen your group ministry.

The contributors of this blog will continue to add posts–only not as frequently as every day.  When a good idea comes to mind, we will share it here with you, the leaders of the movement.  Stay connected with us on Twitter and Facebook. Thank you for joining us on this journey of discovery. Keep making #SmallChanges that will grow your groups and help make disciples.

What Is Your Group’s Primary Purpose, Really?

PrimaryA group leader recently shared with me his understanding of Sunday School. His overarching terms were worship, community, and evangelism. With his spiritual gifts of teaching and leadership, he felt most effective in teaching and fellowship. As we talked more, he shared natural, organic efforts by his group at outreach. His groups tended to grow during the course of the year.

Groups are composed of and led by people who have differing personalities, experiences, abilities, passions, and gifts. Sometimes group members shape the focus or primary purpose of their group. Often leaders do so. I often hear teaching mentioned as the primary purpose. Occasionally I hear fellowship and ministry mentioned. Rarely I hear outreach and evangelism mentioned.

There is nothing wrong with admitting a preference for one purpose and doing it well. But group growth can settle for nothing less than work done on three purposes: reaching, teaching, and caring (or mission, formation, and connection as shared by David Francis and Rick Howerton in Countdown.)

Without reaching, there will be no group to teach. Without care (ministry, fellowship, connection), the group will leak out, and there will be no group left to teach. Without good teaching, our outreach and care will not keep them coming back. Which can we neglect without suffering the consequences? None!

In a tiny group (2 or 3 people), one person may need to lead in all three purposes. But as a group grows beyond tiny, there will usually be members whose gifts, personalities, and passions equip them to be able to serve to lead one of these three purposes for the class. But someone must prayerfully enlist them!

When a teacher has someone leading the group in outreach and member care, he or she is like Moses leading Israel to fight Amelek in Exodus 17. When Aaron and Hur held up his arms, they were able to win the battle. The teacher can focus on his/her primary purpose of teaching, while the outreach leader focuses on his/her primary purpose of outreach and the member care leader focuses on his/her primary purpose of member care. With three champions, all three purposes can be carried out well.

It is difficult (or impossible) alone to do everything. But with balance and teamwork, growth is natural. Make sure the purposes are given to someone who can make them their focus. Then ask them to help you lead the class to accomplish them all!