Sunday School vs. Small Groups

Sunday School
Those of us who came to Christ (especially within the evangelical movement) in the 70’s and 80’s and before are very familiar with the notion of Adult Sunday School. We got much of our deeper teaching in this structure, usually either directly before or directly after our Sunday worship service. In the churches I attended in the 80’s and 90’s we had age based communities, that were rather larger (10-50 people) subgroups of the church, where people who had things in common could learn together. Usually there was a single teacher, or a rotation of teachers (opportunity for new teachers to develop) and a couple of administrative types (organize socials, coordinate teaching schedules, deal with coffee and treats, etc). The social life of the church was somewhat organized through these groups, who generally formed as new married couples, or new parent groups – who helped each other and grew deep friendships along the way. Kids grew up together. Often there were bespoke college age and adult singles classes, because they were different adult communities with different synergies that didn’t really fit well in the married adult communities. Continue reading “Sunday School vs. Small Groups”

Small Group Continuum

How do we take a construct that was designed to be growth oriented, and make it a platform for developing spiritual depth? I have read articles recently from Mark Howell and Neil Cole who take vastly different positions on Small Groups – or do they.

Howell – is a long time church consultant, and currently the small group pastor at Parkview Christian Church in the Chicago area, is all about using small groups to extend the reach of the church into the community. For him, small groups are a tool for outreach – as he is convinced that your friends and neighbors are much more likely to step into your family room, than they are into a church auditorium.

Cole – a church consultant and author – is convinced that small groups are not a vehicle for encouraging spiritual growth. His article Can Groups Be Missional & Make Disciples? is all about how disicpleship is a one-on-one exercise. In his mind, small groups are getting in the way of genuine discipleship.

I think that they are both partly right – and here is why. Continue reading “Small Group Continuum”

the “Spew” #2

Which Customer Is Your Ministry Designed to Connect? |

Recognizing that ministry is not a one-size-fits-all enterprise is a very important thing.  I think this post shares a really good example of this.  While calling those we are called to minster to “customers” feels very “marketing-ish” the message rings true.  You won’t attract People if you won’t meet them where they are.  Jesus was all over that message.  We should be too.

Neil Cole: Can Groups Be Missional & Make Disciples? | Verge Network

This is a very provocative article that I don’t truly agree with, but I am positing it here because juxtaposed against Mark Howell’s article above – it makes Mark’s point stand out even more.  Discipleship is a smaller box inside the innermost box.  Look for a post on the FPM blog about this very topic in the next few weeks.

The Danger of Vision Casting | Ron Edmondson

Ron’s post on casting vision without completing vision is dead on.  I have lived through this, and his warning is appropriate.  It is not only dangerous for the organization as a whole (it can lead to dissapointment) it is dangerous for leadership for the very reasons that Ron lists.  Great post!!! The cost of completing the vision must be contemplated before you cast it. 

Luke 14:28-29

28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you,

Vision, Strategy, Policy – In Search Of

When casting vision, you need strategy to complete it.  This post from my other blog is complementary to Ron’s post above, providing a simple framework for contemplating organizational change using vision, strategy and policy.  Organizational change is hard – don’t kid yourself into thinking that if I can envision it, someone else will make it happen.

@ronedmondson @markchowell @vergenetwork @regenerateweb