There are some jumping for joy because their class/group has been small for fifty-seven years and they think that’s good. Well its not good. Every group, every class and even all churches should be reaching new people. If your class, group and church are not adding new people then something is wrong. Don’t use the excuse of staying small for the reason of failing at evangelism.
The most effective size of a group is 8 to 12 in weekly attendance. If your class/group is larger than 12 then it is difficult to really connect. Your class/group must be small in order for real disciple making to occur. Jesus preached to the crowds but he spent more time with a small group of disciples.
Your class/group needs to be small enough for people to open up and share what’s going on in their lives. It needs to be small enough for people to be engaged in discussion during the Bible study. The members should know each other and also be willing to encourage as well as receive encouragement from others. If your group is larger than 12 it will be nothing more than a class and based on my experience that’s all you will ever have, a class that meets on Sunday.
The way you keep your group small and stay faithful to the mission of reaching others with the Gospel is by starting new groups. If your class is stuck and you’ve not added a new person in the last three years, then it’s time for you to start a new group. If your class has been growing and the average attendance is over 12 then it’s time for y’all to start a new group. If it’s been five years since a new class was started in your church then it’s time to start a new class.
Churches, classes and groups that start new classes/groups are reaching more people than those that refuse to multiply. They are seeing more people saved and baptized. Not only are they growing numerically but the churches, classes and groups that focus on the SMALL and NEW are growing spiritually as well.
The first step toward NEW and SMALL is you as the leader/teacher enlisting an apprentice. Pray. Ask God to give the name of the person, then go to them personally and share what God is doing. Begin leading your group as a team. Train the apprentice modeling for them and then allowing them to lead. Start the new group. You take one and your apprentice takes the other. Repeat the process.
Every year your church must have NEW and SMALL. Every year your class/group needs to start a NEW SMALL group.
Dr. Smith serves as a state missionary with the Georgia Baptist Convention and is the Sunday School/Small Groups Specialist. Visit their website at gabaptist.org/groups for more information and other resources to aid your Sunday School or small group ministry. You can also connect with Dr. Smith at gabaptistgroups.org, facebook.com/GABaptistGroups or twitter.com/GABaptistGroups.