Sunday Morning Small Groups

Over the past few months at Resurrection, there has been an intentional shift in the language used for adult groups who meet on Sunday morning. The shift was from “Sunday School” to “Sunday Morning Small Groups.” In conversations with Correy Trupp, Director of Small Group Ministry, and with others I have learned more about the changes. The change in language represents a culture shift in the life of the groups. Parts of this culture shift include a shift:

  • away from individual learning and toward a communal life together.
  • away from a static group and toward a spirit of invitation and multiplication.
  • away from a sole focus on knowing God and toward a more balanced approach of knowing, loving and serving God.

I think that this is a good change. What do you think?

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5 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Small Groups

  1. Andrew, I think this is a good change. The phrase “Sunday Morning Small Group” implies more than “Sunday School.” I have often wondered if “Sunday School” is a good name for our Sunday morning children’s ministries as well. I have a feeling the word “school” doesn’t adequately capture the fullness of the experience, including the relational and transformational qualities of discipleship formation. I wonder what creative names other churches have come up with for their Sunday morning Christian formation ministries…

  2. We’ve been using the term “Discipleship Classes” for a while now, but I am seriously thinking about regaining the traditional Wesleyan language of Class Meetings. I am having to do a bit more reading on this, but what has sparked my thought a bit is the language of a church down the street that talks about their Sunday groups as “congregations,” which are then subdivided into cells. What would it be like to use our tradition to have our Sunday “Classes” with a class leader appointed in every class, and then encourage those classes to divide into “bands” of 5 to 8 persons for mutual accountability and spiritual support?

  3. Allen – Christian formation ministries… I like that. Discipleship formation… I like that too. I think that “school” tends to imply less interaction and an exchange of information vs. life change. I had not thought about the implications for children’s ministries. Small groups would not be as applicable to children, I think. But maybe so. Any other thoughts?

    Jay – I think that Discipleship Classes is good. I also really like the idea of utilizing the tradition and language of class and band. Would there be a limit to the size of the class meeting on Sunday morning? I think that as a gathering grows over 15 to 20 there will be less similarity with the function of the class. I like your thinking.

  4. Andrew – I love the change in language. I think it is very helpful. And I really appreciate the thoughts others have added. I think there would have to be some intentional connection with actually talking about how each person is doing spiritually to be a modern connection with the Wesley class meeting, but I really, really like your connection to the class band structure, Jay.

    These are great contributions. What are other ideas that you all have for returning to the Wesleyan small group structure? Anything that any of you have done and seen bear fruit?

  5. Kevin – I like your reminder that actually talking about how each person is doing spiritually would be an important part of a connection with the class meeting.

    I have a great desire to see intentional accountability groups similar in structure to the band groups to be implemented within a local congregation. I just have not seen or heard of a place where it has happened. At Resurrection, there is a recognition that many of the small groups that currently exist may be primarily social and secondarily discipleship oriented. There is a great desire and efforts are being made around each small group engaging in a wide variety of faith practices and seeking to grow deeper in faith. Also, there has been thought about what deeper level accountability groups might look like. I have heard of these conversations second hand and I do not think that this is something that is close to launch.

    In any case, I think that this may be something that may be more possible in a new church setting or in a place where small groups are being launched in the first place. Do you think that the “class” and “band” language continues to be appropriate? I think that there is a great deal of value in connecting with the discipleship structure of early Methodism, but I am not as sure that holding on to the terminology is as important.

    What do you think?

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