There is a lot of talk in ministry today about what is the best way to disciple believers. If you attend a more traditional church, the program probably used the most to aid in this process is called Sunday school. If you attend a more contemporary church, the program probably used the most to aid in this process is called small groups, connect groups, life groups, or something of this nature. Some churches have both Sunday school and small groups. With that being said, answering the question, “Which one works better?” can be an interesting topic to discuss. The crack on Sunday school is that it’s too old school, and this generation doesn’t like it. The crack on most small group ministries is that it is too fellowship-driven and that it does not have enough actual Bible study. Some churches still do traditional Sunday school but just label it something different with the hopes of eliminating any pre-convinced notions. So, which one works?
I have been a part of church staffs who have had the traditional Sunday school model and churches that have had a dynamic small group ministry. Personally, I believe both can work if they are laid out, planned, and processed effectively. I also think you must consider your church’s context. A traditional Sunday school model may not be the best model for a church plant that rents out space at a local school on a weekly basis. But to say, “Sunday school is just an old school way of doing ministry, and it doesn’t work anymore,” I believe, is also the wrong way to approach things. For the sake of this blog post, I’m going to focus on why I believe Sunday school can still work.
Here are five reasons why I believe Sunday school can still work:
- Sunday school classes study the Word of God, and that is the center of the focus.
- Sunday school classes are missions and outreach minded.
- Sunday school classes develop new Sunday school classes.
- Sunday school classes build deeper relationships with each other outside of actual Sunday school time.
- Sunday school classes are exciting, and people want to attend them.
I believe it is unfair to say either Sunday school or small groups are ineffective. Again, the ultimate goal is to develop believers in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Whatever model works best for your church… go for it! if that is Sunday school…great! If that is small groups that meet in homes throughout the week… great! The key is to not knock something just because you believe it’s “old school” and doesn’t work anymore. More times than not, it would work if it was done with passion and purpose.