Which Builds the Kingdom Faster: Sunday School Addition or Multiplication?

Monday 29th September, 2008

I spent the weekend with a pastor and set of Sunday School leaders. The church averages under 100 in Sunday School. They have 15 classes: 2 preschool, 3 children, 3 youth, and 7 adult. Evaluation was honest. Ideas were free-flowing. Everybody seemed to be stretched in the course of the weekend. Hope and expectations seemed to be high.

But the weekend got me thinking about Kingdom growth and the impact of Sunday School addition versus multiplication. Let me explain what I mean. Just for the moment, let's ignore the obvious space problem that will occur. The church currently has 15 classes.  Allowing 35 square feet for preschoolers, 25 square feet for children, and 15 square feet for youth and adults, they had room to grow in every class except for toddlers (need to start another class there). Let's assume that every class set a goal to reach 4 people in the next 12 months. That would only be one person per class per quarter. For 15 classes, that would add 60 people by the end of the year. If those 15 classes did that every year for 10 years, they would have an additional 600 people attending.

But let's compare that to multiplication. What if one class and one teacher would double every year, teaching the new teacher and class to do the same each time. After two years, there would be two classes and teachers who plan to double. After four years, there would be four classes and teachers. After six years, there would be eight. After eight years, there would be 16. After ten years, there would be 32 classes and teachers. Since classes on average grow to 10 in attendance and 20 in enrollment in 12-18 months, that would be 320 in attendance and 640 enrolled.

Okay, so after 10 years there are 600 people attending with addition and only 320 attending with multiplication. But what happens in the second 10 years? The addition process produces another 600 people; that's a total of 1,200 attending over 20 years through addition.

The multiplcation process produces 64 classes and teachers in year 12; 128 in year 14; 256 in year 16, 512 in year 18; and 1,024 classes and teachers in year 20. Now with 10 persons in attendance and 20 in enrollment per class, that results in 10,240 in attendance and 20,480 in enrollment after 20 years. Wow! What a difference! That is a difference of 9,040 people!

Too many leaders don't understand the difference. We don't have to do one or the other, but we really do need to make sure that part of our strategy is starting new classes that will intentionally multiply. In the above example, if we added the two together, we could have had more than 11,400 more people in Sunday School in 20 years. Wow.

What are you going to do with them all? Better start a building campaign now! Better start preparing for multiple Sunday School. Better start praying for God's presence and leadership. It can happen. People need Jesus. The harvest needs workers. Sunday School needs leadership and expectation. Be revolutionary!

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