In this video, Vice President of Church Ministries at Lifeway, Michael Kelley, explains how there’s no right answer when it comes to adult small groups. Sunday mornings or mid-week community groups, both have benefits and either one could be a better fit for your church’s small groups.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
One of the questions that we get frequently asked in our work at Lifeway is, “Is there a right answer when you look at the difference between mid-week community groups and Sunday school classes that meet on Sunday morning?” And what we tend to say is, “No. There’s not a right answer.” Because both of them have validity.
What we encourage people to do, though, is to really look at the context in which they’re doing ministry. It could be really detrimental to somebody’s ministry to try and bring in a practice that might work great somewhere else, but just might not be a cultural fit in the church that you’re in.
The other thing that we try to tell people is, that regardless of which side of the plate you bat from on that issue – whether it is a mid-week community group setting maybe in homes or whether it’s Sunday morning Sunday school classes that might be on-campus. The most important thing that you can do is really provide clarity for what it is that you are trying to accomplish in each one of those environments because they may be different things.
It may be that your primary goal in a Sunday school class is Christian education. So it’s a real learning kind of environment. But it may be that in the community group setting your main goal is more of fellowship and ministry. Now both of those are really, really great goals to have, but it’s helpful to clarify, not just for you as a church leader, but also for the leaders that serve under you. It’s helpful for you to clarify what is the main thing that we are trying to accomplish. Because once you have that level of clarity, it helps a teacher or a group leader appropriately divide their time and their energy and their focus. And it lets them walk away from that environment knowing, “Did we really accomplish what it is that we set out for?”, and not feel bad if they didn’t major on some of the other things that they could be doing during that time.
I would also say, that regardless of whether it is the Sunday morning Sunday school environment or the community group environment, that both of those need to be centered on God’s Word. In either case, what you don’t want to happen is for people to come to a place that is primarily about them sharing their opinions.
We’re coming to a place, not just to hear what other people say about a particular issue or a particular, you know, life pattern or something like that, we’re coming to an environment to learn, understand, and integrate what God says about those things. So regardless of which environment that you’re in, they both need to be centered firmly on the Word of God.