I have the privilege of leading a lot of training seminars for Sunday School and small group leaders. One of the questions I usually ask the group when I’m teaching a seminar is, “What is the purpose of Sunday School?” I get many responses, but the most typical responses I usually receive are:
- Bible study
All three of these are important, but they are not the ultimate purpose of the group. The purpose of a small group or Sunday School class is to make disciples. Bible study, ministry, and fellowship are important functions that go into the making of a disciple, but they are not the group’s purpose.
As your group’s leader, it is vital that you keep your group’s purpose in mind. Bible study takes on a new dimension when we teach and facilitate with the intention of making disciples. Evangelism and mission are elevated when we continually focus the individuals in the group on discipleship. New leaders are developed to lead other groups or teach in the children or youth ministries of the church.
Ultimately, your purpose as the lead discipler of your group is to make disciples of them and send them on mission. It’s the model of Jesus, “As the Father sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21).
Here is something to remember: knowing your group’s purpose helps you know your purpose as the group leader. The two are obviously tied together.
Action item: Write your plan for making disciples in your group. Is discipleship assumed, or is it actually happening in your group?