Sunday School & Small Groups
ministry assists churches in creating biblically-based, transformational small communities within the larger church community.
Jesus said, Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20 NIV
What, exactly, did Jesus mean by make disciples? What is a disciple? How did Jesus make disciples? In Matthew 4 when He called His disciples, He simply invited them to come learn with Him. What Jesus did was to make students, learners; He called for them to “Come, learn with me.” When Peter and Andrew, James and John left with Him, they were not believers, but they were disciples; learner disciples. Transformation came later.
Webster defines culture as: the customary beliefs, social forms, and behaviors of a group; the characteristic features of everyday existence; the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an organization.
What does it mean to use the Sunday School to create a disciple-making culture? It means that the customary beliefs of our small groups, the characteristic features of the members’ everyday existence; the shared attitudes, values, and goals of the Sunday School and Small Groups ministry are focused on making disciples just as Jesus did. Small group members see it as their life-style behaviors and practices to make disciples. This may mean to be intentional about building meaningful relationships with people in their world and trying authentically, not manipulatively, to lead them to become disciples of Jesus. It means that when small group members step out into their world they see it as a mission field full of potential disciples whose lives need to be transformed by Jesus.
Transformation is usually defined as change; a metamorphosis from an old existence to a new one as described in 2 Corinthians 5:17…behold all things are become new. Transformation is radical change and more. Change fixes things; transformation creates a new path for life. Paul reminds us in Romans 12:2 that transformation comes through the renewing of your minds. The renewing of mind refers to learning. As the learner disciple learns about the gospel of Jesus from God’s Word and sees it lived out in a small group of believers who serve as his spiritual friends and mentors, his mind can become renewed and transformation takes place. He moves from being a learner to a believer disciple. Sunday School is a learning place where potential disciples can renew their minds and find a new path for their life as they hear and see the gospel in others. That’s why Sunday School and Small Groups ministry is an important part in a disciple-making, transformational ministry process.
To learn more about using Sunday school to create a disciple-making culture in which lives are transformed by the power of God, please attend one of the Sunday School conferences or check out these resources.
Side by Side Learners Guide
Learners guide for an 8-week video series.
.pdf 520 KB
Side by Side Leaders Guide
Leaders Guide for an 8-week video series.
.pdf 17.3 KB
Do the Experiment - 7
Rick Howerton on four ways to experiment with groups.
Types of People - 2
Rick Howerton on types of people to consider, when examining the effectiveness of group ministry.