When it comes to group Bible study, could smaller be better?

Monday’s posts are always excerpts taken from great books on group ministry. Today’s excerpt comes from a classic book called The Growth Spiral by Andy Anderson. I’ve chosen a section of his book that reminds us of the reason why smaller groups are better groups. Here is what Anderson has to say about why your group and my group should be smaller:

The Sunday School is not merely a teaching organization. It is also a ministering organization. How can we minister to the people enrolled in our Sunday School and reach all of the prospects if this is not done through the small teaching unit? Obviously, we have no other organization or method to do this. Small Sunday School classes give us an opportunity to minister…In that small unit, they ministered to one another. They prayed for one another. She was able to share her hurt with her classmates, and their encouragement carried her through. Ministry is the key to Sunday School. We need to concentrate on the small teaching unit concept.

I’ve taught a group of adults weekly for the past five years. I can attest that smaller groups are places where a deeper level of ministry can take place. I love Anderson’s emphasis on smaller. If churches would grasp this concept, along with the concept of Newer (starting new groups), many would see their Sunday Schools turn around and grow again. Newer and Smaller are two concepts we’ve overlooked in our quest to be seeker-sensitive, culturally relevant, and all things to all people. Perhaps the solution has been in front of us all along: smaller groups that teach God’s Word and minister to the group members as they in turn minister to people in the community. Hmmmm.

If your Bible study group is a large one, would you prayerfully consider leading your big group to become one or two more smaller groups so that you can more effectively minister to people?


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