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Sunday School Classes or Small Groups?

This list was created by a fellow named Bob Mayfield. He was attempting to point out some true ideas about Sunday School classes AND small groups. At Calvary, we call all our groups LIFEgroups regardless of when they meet. One of the reasons is because we want even our Sunday morning groups to function like small groups. Read these ideas and see what kind of thinking they spark in you!

1. A belief that lives are more easily transformed within a framework of "small groups". Whether it is in a classroom or a living room, the opportunity to meet with a small group of people that studies the Bible together, prays with each other, and ministers to each person in the group is a powerful foundation for spiritual transformation.

2. "Open groups" are essential to evangelism and sharing the Gospel. Groups that are easily accessible by new people are very effective in helping unchurched or unevangelized people engage the Gospel message both through Bible study and interaction with followers of Christ.

3. Groups are key to assimilating new members and bringing them into a closer walk with Christ. Rainer's data states that 86% of new believers that are active in a Sunday School class will still be around five years later.

4. The church needs leaders and a healthy small group structure will equip new people to step into the church's leadership needs.

5. Healthy groups start new groups. I have found that the window to start a new group in both Sunday School and Small Groups is 18-24 months. The longer a group waits to start a new group, the harder it becomes.

6. Keeping a robust, healthy structure is hard work... period! I don't care which strategy you prefer, it takes time, work, and people skills to lead either one.

7. Patience truly is a virtue for both classes and groups. Rome wasn't built in a day and Jesus' twelve followers did not become best buds after their first mission trip.

8. That context is more important than personal preference about which strategy (SS or SG) that your church uses.

9. Finally, both groups realize (hopefully) that structure and strategy are no substitutes for relationships and passion. Groups that thrive on relationships and have a passion for ministry can overcome terrible structure and poor strategy. The reverse is not true.


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Have several people ask the question, “What’s the most important thing you’ve ever done?”
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Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. What are some specific ways that the resurrection gives us hope?
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21 Bible Passages With Which Every Small Group Leader Should Be Familiar

Matthew 5:23-24.
23"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Luke 10:1-11.
1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

5"When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' 6If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. 7Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to hous…

20 Questions to Build Group Connections

Here is a great exercise for a new group. The instructions are pretty simple. Go around the group giving each person the opportunity to choose one question and answer it honestly. Anyone can follow-up with an opinion or clarifying question (no critiquing each other's answers, though). Once a question has been answered, no one else may answer that question.

If your group is larger, you may want to alter the rule and allow each question to be answered 2 or 3 times. Ideally, each person should end up answering 3-5 questions.

As the leader, pay attention to the conversation. Let the discussion run its course as this is how people in the group build their relationships with one another. You can use these questions, modify them or create your own.