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3 Undeniable Reasons to Do Away with Adult Sunday School Classes and Replace Them with Small Groups

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a proponent, not an opponent of Sunday School. In fact, I deeply believe that “groups are groups.” That is, any micro-Christian community striving to live out biblical principles and practices is equal. Because of this belief I hold no program too sacred to revisit if it makes the body of believers more effective in bringing the world to Christ and discipling people. So, if you’re a big fan of Sunday School or you’re a small group elitist, as you read on please keep in mind that my goal in this blog post is to give practical advice for the church, not to question a ministry that is effective in many churches.  
There are three undeniable reasons a church would need to consider doing away with adult Sunday School and do small groups in homes.
1.     Space… The church is growing at such a rate that there are not enough classrooms to house the people that are joining and there isn’t enough money or land to build more classrooms.
2.     A shortage of people to teach children’s and youth Sunday School classes… If adults are meeting throughout the week rather than being in a class at the same time as the children and youth on Sunday morning, all of the adults attending a small group become potential children and youth Sunday School teachers.

3.     The church is moving to missional groups based on geography… Many including myself believe that, wherever a small group meets there is a mission on that street, in that cul-de-sac, or for that subdivision. The group meeting in that location is responsible for bringing Christ to the people that reside around that meeting location. If a church chooses to take on this philosophy, replacing Sunday School with small groups is necessity as stereotypical adult Sunday School classes meet in the church building. I do realize that some in the Sunday School world will quickly scream, “Sunday School classes can meet away from the building at times other than Sunday morning!” I agree totally and am thrilled to see this happening in innovative Sunday School churches, churches with the willingness and ability to see beyond tradition. But, I have yet to see a Sunday School driven church where even 10% of classes meet away from the building and very few of those groups are making it a primary responsibility to reach those who live near the meeting location.

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Rick has one passion… To see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.” He is presently pursuing this passion as the Small Group and Discipleship Specialist at LifeWay Church Resources. Rick has authored or co-authored multiple books, studies, and leader training resources including A Different Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic, Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual, The Gospel and the Truth: Living the Message of Jesus, Small Group Life Ministry Manual: A New Approach to Small Groups, Redeeming the Tears: a Journey Through Grief and Loss, Small Group Life: Kingdom, Small Group Kickoff Retreat: Experiential Training for Small Group Leaders, and Great Beginnings: Your First Small Group Study, Disciples Path: A Practical Guide to Disciple Making. Rick’s varied ministry experiences as an collegiate minister, small group pastor, teaching pastor, elder, full-time trainer and church consultant, as well as having been a successful church planter gives him a perspective of church life that is all-encompassing and multi-dimensional. Rick is a highly sought after communicator and trainer.