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.
approach eventually forces all classes to be large. Some people do not
like large classes, and this would discourage them from getting
- 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
- 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
- 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
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