What Can a Class Do That a Small Group Cannot?

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What can a class do that a group cannot?  Specifically…what benefits or upsides can a class provide that a small group cannot?

Ever have this conversation?

I have this one more and more frequently, both in person and via email or blog comment.  Long-time advocates of classes have difficulty seeing both the downside and the upside of the strategy.  Remember, there is an upside and a downside to everything.  No exceptions.

Can you see that this is another angle on the discussion of rows versus circles?

Here’s my take on the benefits (or upsides) a class can provide:

  1. A class can leverage the teaching gifts of a live master teacher to impart knowledge or information.  True, the members of a small group would also benefit from a master teacher, but it would impact a smaller number.  There is no upside to a class viewing video content.  A small group receives the same benefit.
  2. Because communication is typically one-way (with the exception of an opportunity for Q&A), a teacher can often cover more ground and deliver information more systematically.

Of course, depending on what you hope to produce, there are a number of disadvantages or downsides to a class.  There are a number of essential ingredients that produce life-change that are difficult to incorporate into a class.  See also, Essential Ingredients for Life-Change and The End in Mind for My Ideal Small Group.

What do you think?  Have one to add?  Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.

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