Why can't we all just get along? OK, when Rodney King asked that nearly 20 years ago he meant something else by the question.
But I ask the question in relation to Sunday School (or whatever your church calls it) and small groups. A few weeks ago I participated in a webinar at Lifeway in Nashville, TN. One of the questions I responded to is how small groups and Sunday school can get along. For the life of me, I can't figure out way there is an adversarial history between the two methods of spiritual growth and community. Both classroom and home-based groups can add value to church and help attenders develop spiritually.
John Wesley, is a patron saint of the small groups movement. But he's also a patron saint of classroom learning. I'm fortunate to work at a church that has long enjoyed a healthy relationship between small groups and classroom communities. There are certainly advantages to small groups and advantages to Sunday schools. And each church has to consider which method is best for them. I grew up in a church with only Sunday schools and worked at a church with only small groups. For the last few years I've worked at a church with both. I've a learned a lot through the experience. And most of what I've learned is that there are loads of misconceptions. First of all, most people who are "haters" pick out the worst examples and build a straw-man case against the pathetic class or group. It's better research to compare healthy, strong groups and healthy, strong classes if you're trying to choose.
Two of my friends at Lifeway faced off on this very question. You can check out David Francis and Rick Howerton go ten rounds on this topic here www.lifeway.com/sundayschoolvssmallgroups/index.html . I like their fake boxing metaphor but I think they should have really put on boxing shorts and gloves and taken some real swings at each other. The entertainment factor would have gone waaaay up!
So what do you think? What's your preference - groups, classes, or both - and why?