Part #12 of a study of Fastest Growing Churches in the Georgia Baptist Mission Board

Dr. Tim Smith

This is a series of insights gleaned from surveys and interviews with the most effective churches of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board in reaching and keeping people through Sunday School and Small Groups.

Ten Things That Surprised Me About These Churches (part #12)


Hopefully you’ve been following the previous several posts I have shared regarding the Fastest Growing Churches in Georgia.  If you are new to, you are welcome to to catch up by reading past few months or the Summary Blog we have posted here.

The next several posts will the Ten Things That Surprised Me about the Fastest Growing Churches.  In the coming weeks I will share attributes of churches that they felt were important but reality those attributes played no part in the growth of the church.  I will also share some insights where the so-called “experts” have said “this will not work today” but these churches are bucking the trends.  Hopefully these ideas will benefit you and cause you to think differently about your church, class or group.


#1 – Question #5: Which best describes the classes/groups in your church? For years we’ve been hearing that traditionalSunday School was dead.  I’ll even confess that sometimes I felt that way.  So many churches are struggling but its not just with their group or disciple making strategy.  It can really be discouraging to those of us that work with hundreds of churches each year.  But these fastest growing churches reported that 92% of them still have traditional on-campus Sunday morning groups.  They may not call it Sunday School (and most of the larger churches don’t call it Sunday School), they call it small group Bible study, LIFE groups, and many other names but they still meet on Sunday morning prior to or after a morning worship experience.

Observation:  The surprise for me was that I thought the number of growing churches using non-Sunday morning/off-campus innovative small groups would have increased over the past few years.  I have seen the number of these type of churches increasing but it is good to know that Sunday School, or whatever you may call, it is still alive and well as a strategy to Make Disciples Through Groups.