The goal of both Sunday School classes and Small Group ministry is authentic relationships. Building authentic, genuine, bona fide, true, real, vital, reliable and dependable relationships is the goal.
Christ is the foundation of authentic relationships. The Christian life is simply Christ living in you. (John 15:5). Living in Christ means that we will try to live in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. A Sunday School class or small group is an ideal place to grow authentic relationships.
For authentic relationships to be established, a man or woman’s walk must match his/her talk. Henry Blackaby states in Spiritual Leadership, “Being is more important than doing.” Credibility is earned when believers walk matches their talk. When our actions verify our words. James exhorts believers to “be doers of the word not just hearers only.”
Authentic relationships will never be formed without a degree of vulnerability. Teachers and members need to be real. Who do you let see your brokenness? When do you remove your mask and allow people to see the real you? I personally find this to be very difficult. I am afraid that people will not accept me and love me if they knew the real me. But a group will always remain superficial and shallow unless the group members are willing to become vulnerable. In fact when stagnation comes in a group, it could be that the members have lost stopped self-disclosure. God desires to use the experiences of life, families and friends, successes and failures, to mold his children into spiritual leaders.
We must be willing to share our story of how God has impacted our life to build authentic relationships.