Winning in Small Groups

A year ago I took a step of faith to begin leading a young adult sunday school class. Within the year I read and thought through how to make a sunday school class feel like a small group. It’s hard when you have 20+ people and no subgroup leaders or structure that works. However, here’s a few tips on how to make a sunday school class move closer to being a small group. This is important because a class is more focused on lessons and less on relationships and discussion. Without relationship building and class interaction, a we often stunt the growth of people who are not already connected to people in the church.

Tips for Making a Sunday School Class a Small Group

1. Raise a discussion question, preferably related to the main idea of your passage or biblical concept, early in the week. You can use mass email or Facebook.

2. For young adults, a mass email a couple of times a week has really paid off well. But this can work with any group. Many senior adults have email these days. You can send a devotional style email or encouraging email to give the class a sense of connection.

3. Use questions to guide your Bible study. If a teach lectures with little discussion, you’re not giving people time and opportunity to interact with the Bible. Remember, active learning doesn’t begin until disciples: discuss, apply, or teach ( in that order it climbs) the lesson. We have a generation of baby boomers who just listened, and they were not transformed. What your class does is it offer opportunity for Christians to not just be motivated (which is important), but to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.

Example: Today, the topic was on REAL FRIENDSHIPS based on 1 Sam. 18:1-5. I started the class with a brief intro, but then had the class pair up and state who their best friends were in High School. They also had to state why.

4. Prayer: today, we took requests from everyone. We did a lightening round. Each person stated name and request without a story. It’s amazing what happens when we do that. I used to not allow that kind of thing because it took too much time. BUT, I’ve come to find that it’s more needed than the lesson. Prayer sharing teaches non-prayers how to pray. It models spiritual discipline for them. In my class, I always have some who struggle with the devotional life (including me).

5. Have a goal: today I asked my group, “In the last year what have you learned from me?” Many of them said “how to walk with God” and Acts 2:42. Others said, “the importance of the devotional life” and “willingness to serve.” If you don’t have a goal for discipling and growing your class, you will be to the end of a year and will have taught lessons, but not made disciples well.

6. Talk about the need for community and small groups, even when you don’t have community and small groups. It’s hard to translate a Starbucks context to a church. But it’s amazing what happened when my class was in Starbucks in circles than on campus in rows. If you don’t have community in your class yet, don’t get discouraged. Talk it enough to get it in the DNA.

7. Make the transition from teacher to leader. We are not there to just teach. We must lead in ministry and missions. We must lead in asking right questions and guiding to the right answers. You don’t always have to have the answer. Make your class find it.

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