I know what some of you are thinking, "Sunday school is dead, and we ain't going back!" Well, I agree with you! The current state of many Sunday schools can best be described as "petrified" more than disciple-making. They have been reduced to slapping a few prayer requests on the board and quickly transitioning to a long (boring) lecture. These classes have no vision, virtually no ministry happening, and minimal spiritual growth is evident. I do not want that either.
However, there is a new vision for midsize groups emerging - midsize groups that are "community" based, team ministry driven and that have interactive teaching and small group options. Churches are growing these communities of 15 to 60 people (or slightly larger) that function in essence as spiritual neighborhoods within the church. For example, at Hope Church, north of Cincinnati, attendees in the GPS parents of teen's community identify with 40 to 60 other people within the bigger church of 1,600.
Many American, small-group-based churches are struggling with how to bridge the relational gap between the small group and the hundreds or thousands in worship services. Some churches of small groups are looking creatively for ways to help their flock sense a stronger connection within their overall church body. One mega church has encouraged their people to sit in certain sections of the auditorium. Others have created periodic gathering events to help people in small groups to sense a connection to other groups in their geographical area.
Strategically building midsize groups allows for that broader net of belonging and identification for people who really sense that need within their church. Then, there are plenty of options for deeper connections within a midsize ...