Dimensions of Sunday School Growth

Wednesday 25th April, 2007

This afternoon my Team Leader, French Harmon, asked me a question that set my mind in motion. On the surface, it appeared very disarming. He wanted to know if any of my blog entries had to do with Sunday School growth and if I had any presentations that I could share with one of the churches with which he is working.

The truth is that all of the blog entries on The Sunday School Revolutionary have to do with Sunday School growth. There is no reason to have revolutionary Sunday School if all it is trying to do is to be different. The point is reaching people, life-change, impacting our world, joining God in His work, accomplishing the Great Co-mission he has given us.

Revolutionary Sunday School growth comes in a variety of dimensions. It is deeper than just numbers. Think with me about these five dimensions:

QUANTITATIVE INCREASE. The one that enters most minds when that phrase is used is numerical increase. The natural thought is having an increase in attendance in our classes and small groups. But in addition to that attendance, revolutionary Sunday School must also desire and work for more new members/increased enrollment, more members and guests in attendance at our fellowships, more teachers in service and in training, more visits and contacts, more relationships with lost and unchurched people in our communities, and much more.

QUALITATIVE INCREASE. In order to be revolutionary and in order to experience God's blessings of additional people in our care, the quality of what we do for God and others must improve. We must pray for God's leadership. We must give God our best. He deserves nothing less! We must love people. We must be concerned about first impressions and put our best foot forward. Our lessons must be prayed over, prepared well, presented with passion, and applied to life. Our facilities must be great and our efforts even better.

MINISTRY/SERVING EXPANSION. Every church member must be involved in touching lives in the church, community, and world. Every part of the body has a purpose. We must enable and empower the body to serve. Our care, concern, and ministry for hurting people must be genuine and persistent. More members should result in more ministry, more touches. We must reach further and help more than before. Every class should have ministry/outreach projects at least quarterly.

STRUCTURAL MULTIPLICATION. More classes, teachers, and workers are needed to care for more people. More coaches are needed to encourage and hold accountable more teachers. More spaces are needed for more classes. More locations are needed for Sunday School offsite. More times are needed for Sunday School/small groups rather than just Sunday morning. Even more churches are needed if we are going to reach our world!

KINGDOM MINDSET AND PASSION. I wish I could say that attention to one or more of the four previous dimensions of growth by themselves will lead to growth. I know many Sunday Schools where one or all of them are done with no results. What then is lacking? Sometimes the missing dimension is a Kingdom mindset and passion for God. It's not about my kingdom or your kingdom; it's about His Kingdom! When it becomes about my comfort and preferences or about what I want the church to do for me, we forget about what Jesus did for us on the cross and and what He did for those who are still outside the walls of the church. God desires to lead us to incarnate His love to the world. He wants us to do whatever it takes to share His love, even if we are uncomfortable doing so. If we love Him, we should obey Him, love each other, feed His sheep, and minister unto the least of these. We must cease our personal agendas. It is not about power or position but about love and service. We must seek Him in prayer and Bible study. We must long for His presence, leadership, and blessings. For many, only crisis, need, and time spent with Him (really with Him) can change this mindset and passion in a church.

I could write chapters about each of these five dimensions of Sunday School growth. As far as the list went, is it overwhelming? I must admit it is fairly daunting to me. But we serve a God who is able. Trust Him. Take a step of faith along the journey with Him today. Stop going through the motions. Make a difference for Him. Grow your Sunday School ministry for Him. Be revolutionaries!

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