Foundational Pillars of a Sunday School that Grows, Part 5

Friday 15th October, 2010

Four years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled Sunday School Growth Spiral in which I shared elements from Andy Anderson's book, The Growth Spiral. In this series, I am reviewing elements of Andy's Growth Spiral system. So far in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4, I looked at spiral goals, enrollment, prospects, and teaching units. Andy referred to enrollment and prospects as quantity goals. He referred to teaching units, workers, workers meeting attendance, and training as quality goals. In Part 5, we will look at the quality goal of workers.

Workers include more than teachers. But remember from Part 4 that apprenticing teachers (and workers) is key to launching new classes. If teachers are not available and ready, new classes cannot be started. New classes keep the span of care low. They maintain the quality of care in your Sunday School. By releasing more workers to care for people, they enable your Sunday School to reach and care well for more people. Remember that care is a significant factor in a growing Sunday School.

Who, then, is included in the term workers? The term includes all people who a part of the work of the Sunday School in all age groups. These include the pastor, education staff (if any), Sunday School director, Sunday School secretary, and any other general Sunday School leaders, such as outreach, etc. Then age group leaders include department and division directors, teachers, apprentices, care group leaders, secretaries, outreach leaders, and other class leaders such as greeters, fellowship leaders, etc.

Ideally, when a new class launches, it should have at least two to six people enrolled from the start. That helps the class to have a high level of care from its beginning. As a class grows, the number of workers should increase. That is an important responsibility of every current class worker: to apprentice another leader to help the class as it grows or to send to another class in need of workers.

Through research, Andy realized that the Sunday School needed a ratio of 1 worker for every 5 persons in attendance in order for the Sunday School to be in a position to grow. Divide your Sunday School attendance by your total number of your workers. If that resulting number is higher than 5, you need to enlist some more workers (and may need to start some more classes as well).

Examine every age group and every class throughout your Sunday School. Where are more workers needed. Work alongside your age groups and classes to raise the level of care by enlisting additional workers. Make sure you help these new workers understand the importance of their work as well as what is expected. (Training will be discussed in a coming post.) Release the workers to carry out the task and provide coaching to help them to be successful, including helping them to pray for, enlist, and apprentice another leader.

Prayerfully enlist new workers until your span of care is at least 1 worker for every 5 person in attendance. Don't forget this important quality goal! As you start new classes, continue to maintain the span of care. Pray. Evaluate. Enlist. Set goals. Invite. Enroll. Care. Watch what God does through you. Be revolutionary!

While Andy's book is out of print, you can still find them for sale online. The book is worth adding to your Sunday School library for all the practical ideas that run throughout the book! For more ideas about apprenticing, check out these blog posts:

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