There are several questions which need to be answered in order to discern whether you have enough Sunday School space. But first, let's make an assumption: God is not finished working in our world. There are more people for whom Jesus died that have not yet been reached. Lost sheep need to be gathered into sheep pens. I recently heard a leader from NAMB say that only 30% of our country is Christian. That means there are 70% who are not.
Those assumptions then lead to these space questions:
- Do you have enough sheep pens to provide for them the care they need? Do you have enough classrooms for all of the sheep He wants you to reach? How many does He want you to reach this year? this quarter? this month? How many will be preschoolers? children? youth? adults? How many sheep are you praying that God will send you to bring in for Him?
- Do you have available classrooms in which new classes can be started in order to care for more sheep? In the same way in which heep pens can only hold so many sheep, Sunday School classes can only hold so many sheep. This means more sheep will require more sheep pens.
- Are you caring for the sheep in classrooms of the right size? In an article entitled, Space and Equipment: Room Specifications, LifeWay suggests 35 square feet for each preschooler; 20-25 square feet for each child in grades 1-6; 10-15 square feet for each youth in grades 7-12; and 10-12 square feet for each adult. (In my experience, most Sunday Schools cause their growth to slow or stop because of problems here.)
- Have you moved classes to classrooms which will allow for additional growth? When class attendance approaches 80% of capacity, growth will typically slow or stop. For instance, an adult classroom that is 100-120 square feet has a capacity of 10 persons (at 10-12 square feet per person). But when class attendance reaches 8 adults (80% of 10), the class will begin to feel full and slow or stop growing.
- What is the projected growth of the community and Sunday School? When projecting your enrollment increase, remember that attendance tends to average 40-60% of enrollment. Thus, if you enroll 40 persons, you can expect to have an increase of 16 to 24 in attendance. (With intentional assimilation efforts, new attenders may attend at an even higher percentage.)
- What is the age group of those you are most likely to reach or that your Sunday School has targeted to reach? The answer to that questions helps you to identify the type of classroom, square feet per person, and furnishings required.
Your job as a teacher is to stay ahead of space needs. If you see that your class growth will fill your space to 80% capacity in six months, then you either (1) need to prepare to move to a larger space by that date or (2) begin making preparations for the class to send you or an apprentice out with a seed group of one to five individuals to start another class. As Sunday School director, your job is to help each of your teachers be aware of these issues and to prepare for appropriate adjustments which will allow your Sunday School to continue to grow.
Pray. Set goals. Evaluate progress. Prepare for growth. Be revolutionary!