Creative Places for Sunday School Classes and Small Groups to Meet

Monday 26th January, 2009

Why would classes and groups need creative places to meet? Perhaps the most obvious answer would relate to the lack of space or the fact that regular, normal available space is all being used and/or filled. But there are other reasons why we should think creatively when it comes to meeting space. Here are a few of them:

  • the needs and access of senior adult with limited mobility;
  • the needs and access of special needs individuals;
  • 40% of individuals today in most communities cannot attend on Sunday morning due to work commitments;
  • making classes/groups conveniently located for people to attend because of distance and schedule;
  • make people desire to take the next step toward building new space or utilizing it more than once by filling up less comfortable space;
  • extend the ability for the ministry to continue to grow until additional space becomes available by building or other means;
  • help us to reach new people and people groups; and
  • involve leaders and potential leaders not currently involved.

For the best creativity, begin with a time of prayer for God to open your eyes and heart to every possibility. Gather your Sunday School or small group leadership team together to address this need for creativity. Frequently, multiple minds will generate more ideas than the individuals would separately. If possible, walk through your space and/or drive through your community.

Brainstorm possibilities. Don't judge any suggestion initially; just write it down. After you have generated as many creative suggestions as possible in the time you have, add any of the list below which have not previously been mentioned. Then work through the list (individually or as a leadership team) to consider which options are the best ones. Consider some of the following creative options at the church and away from the church for Sunday School classes and small groups:

AT THE CHURCH:

  • remove non-loadbearing walls between two classrooms which are too small;
  • prepare rooms currently filled with items that can be moved to storage or trashed;
  • move classes to rooms of appropriate size which will encourage growth;
  • utilize space in the library, choir room, and/or church/staff offices;
  • consider large baptismal changing areas;
  • consider the choir loft, balcony, and back corners of the sanctuary;
  • where zoning allows, consider portable buildings;
  • move one or three or more classes into the fellowship hall or other large space (for a creative look, check out Making the Most of Sunday School Space (Sunday Morning Camping); and
  • consider multiple meeting times for Sunday School, on Sunday and/or through the week.
AWAY FROM THE CHURCH:
  • enlist leaders with homes in specific locations/neighborhoods;
  • reserve space in nearby businesses, schools, government buildings, theaters, hospitals; fire stations; police stations; or even churches;
  • meet in apartments or apartment common space/meeting rooms;
  • consider other times than Sunday morning to reach the 40% who cannot attend at that time due t o jobs;
  • reserve restaurant space before or after it opens;
  • meet at restaurants and combine a meal with a small group meeting; and
  • get a group together at work during breaks.

These ideas only scratch the surface of possibilities. Don't stop reaching simply because you have filled up all your obvious, easy-to-use spaces. Don't allow filled classrooms to limit new classes/groups. Work together to think creatively. Brainstorm. Be flexible to consider different options of space, time, and place. Pray. Seek God's leadership in how to reach even more people for Him. Go after the people. Expect results. Be revolutionary!

For more ideas about using space well and starting new classes/groups, check out these blog posts:

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