Allan Taylor: Are large classes with a master teacher a good idea?

Some churches have decided that it would be best to take a handful of their best teachers and put everyone into their classes. The rationale is that people would receive the very best teaching available. On the surface this looks good, but this approach has many flaws.

  •  This approach eventually forces all classes to be large. Some people do not like large classes, and this would discourage them from getting involved.
  • This approach diminishes the ability to incorporate different teaching methods. The larger the class the more a teacher is forced to lecture. Many people are kinetic learners and thrive on personal activity.
  • This approach does not develop more teachers. If only the best teach, then no one else is afforded the opportunity to grow as a teacher. Even the great teachers needed time to develop. If a master teacher system were practiced, eventually you would run out of teachers.
  • This approach reduces the number of teachers, which reduces the number of classes, which reduces the size of your workforce. There is a trickle-down effect. Limiting the number of teachers ultimately reduces the number of outreach leaders, care group leaders, etc. You take an army and whittle it down to a squad.
  • This approach hinders relationship building—the larger the group, the more lecture; the less interaction, the less relationship building.
  • This approach is detrimental to people opening up and sharing hurts and needs. The smaller the group, the more open and transparent people are. Conversely, a large class generates people who are less vulnerable. Imagine this scenario: A couple just found out that their teenage son has been smoking marijuana. They are devastated; they are hurting like never before. They come to Sunday School needing friends to put their arms around them, love on them, and pray for them. When the time comes to share prayer requests, they are uncomfortable exposing this to such a large class. So they keep it to themselves. They leave Sunday School that morning carrying the same pain as they entered with because they were never placed in an environment conducive to make this known. Therefore, it is imperative that large classes have time for care groups to meet!

Taylor, Allan (2009-06-01). Sunday School in HD: Sharpening the Focus on What Makes Your Church Healthy (pp. 39-40). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


Allan Taylor is part of the All Star Sunday School Training Team. The others are David Francis, Dr. Elmer Towns, Steve Parr and Josh Hunt. We have a couple of dates we are looking for hosts. These are done on a shared risk/ shared reward basis. If promotion is done effectively, it should be a break-even for the host. See for details.