What's in a Name?

It was my privilege to join with Pastor Chris in meeting with the Small Group Leaders after worship yesterday. The subject of our meeting was a new opportunity for connecting an upcoming sermon series with what we teach in our Small Groups.

During the meeting, one leader asked, “Is it ok if I still call it Sunday School?” While I affirmed this leader with a strong “Yes," I also believe that titles DO have meanings. We use the term Small Groups because it is a more helpful description of the vision your church leadership has for the direction of our church culture. It refers to the concept of growing a unit through invitation, fellowship, service, prayer, and discipleship, training up leaders within the group, then as growth occurs adding or multiplying a unit to give newly trained leaders the opportunity to repeat the process all over again. However, the biggest reason I have no problem with someone calling it Sunday School is because of Arthur Flake. 

Flake_Arthur

Flake was the patriarch of the 20th Century Sunday School movement. In 1920, he became the first Sunday School director for the Baptist Sunday School Board (now called LifeWay). Our vision as I outlined above is essentially the same as the 5-step formula for growth Flake introduced in the 1920’s. We’re calling it something different to enable our church family (myself included) to leave behind tendencies to be insulated rather than outward looking, comfortable rather than courageous, and institution-maintaining rather than Kingdom-driven. We truly believe that “getting big means going small.”Later yesterday afternoon, I was working with the Student Praise Team. As I introduced a new song to them, a majority of them made it clear through their posture, facial expressions, and lackluster effort that they didn’t care for the song. It was an opportunity to teach them the benefit of continuing to give it

Later yesterday afternoon, I was working with the Student Praise Team. As I introduced a new song to them, a majority of them made it clear through their posture, facial expressions, and lackluster effort that they didn’t care for the song. It was an opportunity to teach them the benefit of continuing to give it your all even when, at first, you don’t care for something different or unfamiliar. After all, it’s not about my preferences or yours. It is about doing what we can to best accomplish the mission God’s given us, which gives Him the highest glory.