In a recent blog series concluding with the post, Further Reflections on Sunday School Survey Results, I shared differences between growing and declining Sunday Schools. Specifically, I shared survey results which had an analysis of variance (ANOVA) significance. There I shared twenty-six statements with significant variance results. Over the next couple of months, I will be addressing those statements. This post addresses the survey statement:
My Sunday School works hard to apprentice and train new teachers and workers so new classes can be started. (Not true, Somewhat true, Definitely true)
THEY ARE COMING, SO BUILD IT. It should come as no surprise that a growing Sunday School prepares new teachers and workers for new classes. Does this happen to prepare for growth or in response to growth that is taking place? The answer is "yes." Growing Sunday Schools do both. Directors and pastors anticipate growth by preparing teachers and workers for new classes that will be needed. And they start new classes in response to growth that is taking place.
For instance, in an informal survey of couples classes, the director observes that there are seven women who are pregnant, each due in the next six months. The director checks the status of the current class for babies and realizes that the classroom and workers cannot accommodate the additional babies. As a result, he works with the volunteer preschool division director to enlist, apprentice, and train more workers for the new class that is needed.
At the same time, he works to shift classrooms in order to keep the two babies rooms close together. The current babies room will become the creepers room upon the start of the new class. The director works together with appropriate church leaders to prepare and equip the space. This is anticipatory leader enlistment and development for a class that will be needed. It may be based on recent growth trends. It may be based on the age group that you appear to be attracting at a higher rate. It may be due to an upcoming emphasis on an age group.
BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME. At the same time, classes can be started due to a room that is filling. When any room nears 80% of capacity, leaders who desire Sunday School to grow will give attention to preparing workers and space for the launch of a new class for that age group or part of it. For instance, if the young adult (ages 18-35) room has 240 square feet and holds a maximum of 20 adults (at 12 square foot per person), then as the class nears 16 in attendance growth may slow or stop unless more leaders are enlisted and another class is started. (I have shared how to do this in the best possible way in others posts, such as Grow Your Sunday School Class by Starting a New One).
Sometimes this effort is simply a result of a focus on and efforts to reach a new group. Perhaps an age group gap is identified and becomes the focus on an emphasis and new class. It may be recognition of a group within the community. But the result is that one or more classes are started. And the result of the care and invitation of these teachers, workers, and attenders is growth.
Don't be slow to enlist and develop new teachers and workers and miss the opportunity for growth. Pray. Prepare. Enlist God-called people. Apprentice them. Train them. Launch them with new classes. Promote the classes. Coach these leaders. Affirm them. Help them prepare to do it again. Be revolutionary!
For more ideas about apprenticing and starting new classes, check out these blog posts: