Sunday School: 3 Roles for Guiding Groups

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:1-13)


Today’s blog encourages you to study David Francis & Ken Braddy’s book, 3 Roles for Guiding Groups found at:


Sunday School & Small Group specialists from around the country would challenge you as you begin new classes or help existing classes to consider three roles needed for successful small groups: Teaching, Shepherding (caring) and Leading (guiding the mission of the group)  based on the spiritual gifts of individuals for each role. I am not going to review the book but encourage you to consider these three facets and get the book to go further. I will include two quotes from page 7 that help every church to see the need for small groups:


After five years, 83% of new members who participated in both worship and Step 2 group were still active. Only 16% of those who attended worship only were.


Participation in such a group is one of the three most important characteristics shared by people who demonstrated measurable spiritual growth year over year…


To be transformed by the renewing of your mind requires time in Bible study with other believers. Here are some additional thoughts I share when I consult a church:


Teaching: We know that teachers are essential for spiritual growth. Here are some questions to consider:

  1. How creative are your teachers?
  2. How do they follow up lessons from the week before?
  3. What tools do you have to help them?
  4. What training is in place to help them?
  5. Are they mentoring a person in the class to start new classes or take over the class?
  6. Do you have a teacher/SS worker appreciation? 

Send me an e-mail, and I will share some ideas for training and appreciation.


Shepherd-Guiding the Group’s Care:


  1. Do you have care groups? Email me and I will send you an organizational form.
  2. What visitation program is set up for persons who are inactive?
  3. Are you using e-mail, phone calls, text, Facebook and other media sources to contact people to show care? Email me and I will give you some ideas.


Leader-Guiding the Group’s Mission:

  1. Sunday School/small group is a missionary movement. How are you keeping the small group/Sunday School class focused on reaching the lost?
  2. Sunday School/small group is a discipling movement. How are you keeping the small group/Sunday School class focused on mentoring others? Who are you mentoring?
  3. Sunday School/small group is a serving model. Every small group or Sunday School class should have an ongoing service project in the community. What is your project?

To experience effective spiritual maturity and growth, small groups are essential. Consider these three roles as you move forward for the Kingdom of God.

About tonystopic

Seeker and connector to the abundant life as a husband (to Katrina), father (to Tara & Joseph) and Field Strategist/Sunday School Specialist for the Virginia Baptist Mission Board.
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