Many of the dynamics present in adult Sunday School space have the potential for impacting teaching, learning, first impressions, relationships, and more! These include whether the space is too large for the group or too small. They include what kind of furnishings and equipment are available or in use. The cleanliness, safety, and health hazards in the space are dynamics that impact the class. Along with these, there are three A's that impact the class: arrangement, attractiveness, and accessibility. Consider the following in order to lead your class to be revolutionary:
HAVING ENOUGH SPACE/SHARING SPACE. I attended Sunday School in a small rural church yesterday. The adult class met in the Sanctuary. And the space made the group seem even smaller. A large space for a small group can shut down conversation. It can cause a negative psychological reaction about growth. On the other hand, a space that is too small can discourage attendance. People can become uncomfortable sitting too close to each other. It can be difficult to move into learning activities. Guests can get a negative first impression. Ideally, space needs to fit a group without limiting growth potential (up to a certain point where another class should be encouraged).
FURNISHINGS/EQUIPMENT. It is hard to arrange persons in an ideal way to meet the learning styles of participants if you are in pews in the Sanctuary. Uncomfortable chairs make attendance difficult. Mismatched, broken, and worn out furnishings give guests a poor first impression and can be dangerous. Equipment and resources should be provided to encourage ideal learning.
CLEANLINESS/SAFETY/NO HEALTH HAZARDS. We should care well for God's house. It should reflect our love for Him. It should always give guests a great impression. It should be safe and present no health hazards. Even dust can present a health hazard for some. Electrical outlets should be covered in any area in which preschoolers/children may use (even if in use by adults on Sunday). The condition of the room should not be a distraction or a danger.
ARRANGEMENT. Rows work well for lecture and for seating the most people in the space available, but circles and semi-circles are more open arrangements which tend to invite more participation. Movement into subgroups can be a helpful learning exercise. So ideally space should be able to be flexibly arranged--which means that a Sanctuary with pews is not ideal. Plus, open arrangements can encouragement more interaction with guests and members.
ATTRACTIVENESS/COMFORT. Make people look forward to being in the space. Sure, this comes more from interaction with God and others than from the space itself. But temperature can make people uncomfortable and unwilling to attend. Decorate attractively. Make seating, colors, smells, temperature, and lighting comfortable. Make a positive first impression.
ACCESSIBILITY. Help attenders and potential attenders to be able to find and reach the space. Keep senior adult space on the first floor, if possible, unless an elevator is provided (remember laws affecting placement of preschool/children space). Address special needs, such as wheelchair access. Put up good signage. Keep age groups together where possible. Those who have difficulty finding or reaching your space will be unlikely to come or to return.
Now, grade your Sunday School space. Grade yourself from 1 (poor) to 17 (great) for each of the six areas. If your score is 75 or above, your space is in fairly good shape. If you scored below 75, I want to encourage you to address the lowest area or two. Take steps to make concrete improvement in the next six months. Plan to make a great impact through&nb sp;your adult Sunday School space on teaching, learn ing, first impressions, and relationships! Be revolutionary!