Flake’s Formula for Sunday School Growth: Provide Space and Equipment

Wednesday 3rd November, 2010

In this five-part series, I have been sharing five steps toward Sunday School growth that has become known as Flake's Formula: (1) know the possibilities, (2) enlarge the organization, (3) provide space and equipment, (4) enlist the leaders, and (5) go after the people. In Part 1, Flake’s Formula for Sunday School Growth: Know the Possibilities, I examined the first step, "know the possibilities" in five contexts: spiritual, church body, church facility, community, and century. In Part 2, Flake’s Formula for Sunday School Growth: Enlarge the Organization, I shared about what it means to enlarge the organization: pray and dream big, organize for the next stage, add more workers, start new classes, and reduce the span of care.

In today's post, we will look at what it means to "provide space and equipment" in order to allow Sunday School growth to take place. Consider these ways and reasons to provide space and equipment:

  • ENOUGH ROOMS. In Is the Size of Your Sunday School POT Keeping You Small, Part 1 and Is the Size of Your Sunday School POT Keeping You Small, Part 2, I shared this idea from Ken Hemphill in The Bonsai Theory of Church Growth: "You must keep the pot small to keep a bonsai small, and in a similar way many churches keep the church and Sunday School small because they keep the facilities small." In order for your Sunday School to grow, you must have space available in which to start new classes. This can include using the space more than once and even using off-site space.
  • ENOUGH SPACE. Adults and teens need about 12-15 square foot per person. Children need 25 square foot. Preschoolers (due to activity level) need 35 square foot. When attendance approaches 80% of capacity of room, growth will slow or stop. Moving classes to rooms of appropriate size to allow for growth is essential. Also, when a class reaches or exceeds the space's capacity, it is appropriate to start a new class.
  • ADEQUATE SPACE. There are many issues to consider in making sure that the space you provide for classes is adequate, such as appearance, location, usefulness, safety, cleanliness, noise, and more. Check out Conduct an Adult & Student Sunday School Space Walk for a set of questions from which you can evaluate your adult and youth space.
  • ADEQUATE EQUIPMENT. What is needed by each age group is appropriately different. Certainly chairs and tables (if needed) should be of the right size for the assigned age group(s). It is important to provide the equipment and furnishings needed while taking into account the space available and potential attendance. As attendance begins to approach 80% of capacity, as much equipment and furnishings as possible should be removed making more room for people.
  • TOO MUCH EQUIPMENT. Too often classrooms fill earlier than necessary due to too much equipment and furnishings in the space. Tables are often the biggest culprit. People are more important than tables. Removing tables to have space for more people is more important that coddling people's preferences (to hold coffee and Bibles and cover short skirts). Sometimes more chairs are in the room than are necessary. Only one or two more than expected attendance should be kept in the room. In fact, it can be depressing to enter a room with 20 chairs and only 3 attenders, while it can be exciting to have to set up one or two more chairs.
Make sure you plan ahead. Don't get to a place where you need to start a class but do not have the furnishings and equipment needed. Anticipate needs. Order ahead. Expect to grow. Plan for it. Be revolutionary!

For more ideas about Sunday School space, check out these blog posts:

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