When a Sunday School grows beyond one class, there are many reasons to divide adults into age groups. When we do, it is...
- easier to apply truths to specific stages of life;
- easier to choose illustrations that speak more clearly to an age group;
- easier to know which class is responsible for reaching out to prospects;
- easier to know where to take guests when they show up for Sunday School;
- easier to teach and care for a smaller group of people;
- easier to get everyone involved in the lesson; and
- easier to get everyone involved in class activities.
For conversation's sake, let's assume your Sunday School has four adult classes: Younger coed (ages 18-35) and older coed (ages 36-59); a women's class (ages 60+); and a men's class (ages 60+). Let's assume the women's class was near to outgrowing their space. You might look at the class roll to determine how the age groups divide out. Let's say that half of the class are ages 60-75 and the other half are 75+. That might be a logical way to divide the class. But it might be better to announce the start of a class for women ages 75+ with a teacher who is familiar to the whole group of women and one to five other ladies who are committed to help the group get started. Then let the women attend where they want to attend--often you will find this approach will attract most to the right classses without having to "divide."
Now, let's say you started to see growth in the younger coed group. Again, you might look over the class roll for the class and even for the older class. One way to approach this scenario might be to consider starting a class for middle coed class (ages 30-45), making the younger coed class (ages 18-29), and the older coed class (ages 46-60). Let your age group numbers help you decide which age group the new class needs to be.
A third option could be to divide your adults by birth years rather than by age group. The advantage is that birth years do not change while everyone has an age change every year. Then when you need to add a new class, you simple choose some birth years between two classes. For instance in the scenario in the previous paragraph in the year 2007, if the younger coed were 1972-1989 and the older coed were 1948-1971, then the middle coed could become 1962-1977. In this option, you will need to work hard to add regularly a younger coed option since groups will continue to grow older. For some reason, I have seen a tendency among women to be more comfortable with birth years than with ages.
As your Sunday School continues to grow and needs to expand, you may find adding different types of classes helpful. For instance, single adult classes can meet the needs of some. You might offer some niche classes helpful, like a college class, M.A.N.K. (married adults no kids), preschool parents, youth parents, etc.
There are many more options that I have not had time or space to mention. Would you like to share an option? Press the comments button below. Have you had trouble with an option? Share your problem by pressing the comments button, and allow the community reading this entry to offer some suggestions. Have you had success in adding classes in these or other ways? Share your successes. Pray. Be revolutionary!