Sunday School or small groups?

May 3, 2018

One of the most common questions being asked by churches and ministry leaders is: “Which is better—Sunday School or small groups?”

In a recent article from The Gospel Coalition, Texas pastor Allen Duty explains why we should “reject the false dichotomy” that favors one over the other.

Duty describes Sunday School as a “classroom” environment that is “an ideal venue for mastering content” and small groups as a “living room” environment that is “an ideal venue for mastering compassion.”

Duty contends, “When churches offer only Sunday school classes or small groups, they are expecting the classroom to do what the living room does best, and the living room to do what the classroom does best.”

“When churches offer only Sunday school classes or small groups, they are expecting the classroom to do what the living room does best, and the living room to do what the classroom does best.”

In 2017, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s Sunday School and Small Groups ministry trained hundreds of pastors and church leaders across the state at Inside-Out Sunday School conferences. We are thrilled to see how the gospel of Jesus Christ is transforming hearts and making disciples in Bible study groups.

This year, in addition to Inside-Out Sunday School training, we have added Side-by-Side and Upside-Down training conferences. Whether your church utilizes Sunday School classes, small groups or both, the goal of each of these events is to ensure that the gospel is central to your group ministry’s DNA so that we can live like Jesus.

Inside-Out Sunday School training will focus on class life.
Side-by-Side training will focus on how to maintain healthy Sunday School classes and small groups simultaneously.

Upside-Down training will focus on how to start and create vibrant small groups within your congregation.

In light of the Great Commission, the Sunday School and Small Groups team desires to help N.C. churches make disciples who make disciples in a variety of contexts. As Pastor Duty concludes: “Our assignment is to make disciples who know and obey everything Jesus commanded, and the best way to do that is to employ both the classroom and the living room.”


by Rick Hughes  /  
Sunday School and Small Groups /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

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