Small Group Instruction – Optimal Learning
Whether a Sunday School Class, a home, workplace or dormitory room Bible Study, or a house church meeting secretly in a country hostile to Christianity, small groups have been essential to growth of the Christian Church since the time of Christ. And even though Jesus spoke to large gatherings of people, his most effective work was with his 12 disciples. He equipped these men to carry on His work after His departure. Now, 2,000 years later, from those 12 disciples has grown the largest religious faith in the world, an estimated 2 billion Christians worldwide.
Again, I assure you: If two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them. – Matthew 18:19-20
The Example of Small Businesses
It has often been stated that small businesses are the engine of our nation’s economic growth. Small businesses tend to be more flexible, innovative, and more attuned to their customers’ needs. Small businesses generally allow for greater innovation and risk-taking than large, bureaucratic organizations. Even large businesses typically consist of smaller business units and franchises that operate more like small businesses committed to serving their local communities.
The Example of Military Training and Small Unit Tactics
The U.S. military focuses much of its instruction on small groups of 12-16 personnel, knowing that this provides the best opportunity for instructors to teach and for students to learn. Even large scale military operations rely on the effective leadership of hundreds of small unit leaders. The outcome of battle with the enemy is determined by the brave performance of these fire teams (~3-6 personnel) and squads (~6-12 personnel) who are at the “pointy end of the spear.”
The Advantage of Informal, Interpersonal Training Environments
Small group instruction does not require the leader to have a charismatic personality or polished speaking skills. Instead, small group instructors are able to to pass on their acquired knowledge, skills and abilities to others in an informal, interpersonal setting. Small group instruction also lends itself to hands-on training, a more effective way of learning.
The Advantage of Group Interaction
Perhaps the greatest advantage of small groups is that it allows for immediate feedback through questions and discussions of study topics. Lesson topics are learned faster and more thoroughly as small group instructors and group members share their understanding of and personal experiences with lesson topics. In a small group setting, students with a better grasp of lesson material can assist those less familiar with subject matter.