Since God called me to have a second Mustard Seed Year, I’ve really been praying and pondering about the church and its leaders. I’ve been praying for many of them to have a powerful year and I’ve been praying for many that I consider to be false teachers to truly come to Christ and repent of their misleading people in the coming year.
In those meditations, I’ve had some serious questions about pastors and the running of churches.
God has never blessed me with the opportunity to be full time on a church staff. So I cannot provide an expert insight into the daily operations nor do I claim to be an expert on it. I can, however, provide opinion as someone who’s attended churches almost every week since coming to Christ in 1994 and thoughts of someone who came to Christ later in life & was pretty critical of Christianity before realizing Christ was the only way.
One of the things over the years I’ve had minor issues with is the idea of small groups.
I would see them as a crutch of mega-churches (or, as I call them, Church, Inc.) and they would be a way for the staff to avoid having to interact with membership as the numbers grew larger and larger. It was all about the Sunday morning numbers (or so I would think) and these “small groups” were just another marketing tool being used to sell folks on the church’s “product.”
As time has gone by, I have found a few churches where they are using the groups as a tool to minister rather than something that looks good in the Sunday morning program. I have changed my mind on the groups in that they can be a valuable tool; I still, however, believe some churches are using them as a way to appear they’re more involved in their member’s lives than in reality they are involved with them.
Regardless of the role in a particular church, there’s something all groups have in common: they’re being led by people who are “lay people” or regular attenders volunteering their time.
Pastors, how much do you really know about what’s being taught by these folks in your small groups?
I understand the need to put trust in your volunteers and that you can’t specifically hand-hold each group leader each week. I wouldn’t even try to hold you to that kind of impossible standard. Still, these groups are part of your flock, these people are those God is entrusting to your guidance and care and what’s being taught in those groups should be in line with the truth of the Scriptures.
I’ve attended many Sunday school classes and small groups in the last 20+ years of following Christ. I’ve had a few wonderful teachers and I’ve had some teachers that I can say without hesitation had no idea what they were teaching and in some cases were flat out wrong about things.
Do you know if your teachers are saying things that go against the Word? Do you know if you have teachers that are leading young Christians away from truth and into fringe theory? Do you know if your teachers are actually teaching things that undermine the beliefs you as a leader instill in your church’s attendees?
I once attended a class where the guy teaching was, to be polite in my wording, off the reservation. His teaching was so far from truth that I saw a woman walk out of the class almost in tears because this guy was essentially bullying her into his terrible misguided agenda.
When I talked to her later, she said she felt the Holy Spirit telling her the whole time what was being taught was wrong but she didn’t know what to do about it. I recommended she talk to the pastor. I haven’t heard if she did.
So I’ve been pondering how a pastor handles these kinds of situations. Do you, as a pastor, really know your teachers are in line with Scripture’s truth? How do you hold those folks accountable for their groups and teachings? Do you turn a blind eye to what’s happening as long you have people stepping up to run groups so you can say your church has them? (Yes, I know that’s harsh, but it doesn’t mean it might not be true.)
I’m not providing answers in this post…it’s really throwing out the question based on the things I’ve observed over the years. Perhaps this is an issue that merits discussion about ways to improve for many different churches.
So, pastors or church leaders, what say you? When it comes to your Sunday School/Small Groups teachers, how much do you know about what they’re teaching?