In Part 1 of this series, I wrote that it is possible for a bad or wrong attitude to slow or prevent growth. In Part 1, I listed a dozen growth barriers. In Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4, I looked at the first nine barriers: 1) apathy/spiritual immaturity/laziness, 2) busyness, 3) lack of leadership, vision, and planning, 4) lack of knowledge/training, 5) inward focus, 6) conflicts, 7) lack of ownership, 8) turfism, and 9) settling for the good rather than the best.
In Part 5, I want to examine the final three barriers. Consider the following:
- Implosion of Structure and Span of Care. Many churches try to grow with as little leadership, structure, and work as possible. It is like building a bridge over a river but leaving out part of the structure; it will not stand. Neither will Sunday School; fewer leaders provide less care. And less care results in less attendance. Needed span of care is about one leader for every five persons in attendance. Leaders include teachers, member care leaders, outreach leaders, etc. Add more leaders and train them to provide care.
- False Growth Assumption Due to Aisle Traffic. People see decisions in worship and assume the church is growing–even if no one has joined classes in years. New Christians and members can help grow the church–if connected quickly. Sadly, about 80% of new church members drop out within six months. This is especially true if not involved in Sunday School. Many churches lose members faster than they gain them. Get them in classes. Start a new member class. Help them make friends. Quickly.
- Lack of Space. I am reminded of Ken Hemphill’s great little book, The Bonsai Theory of Church Growth. When our pot is small, it contributes to keeping the plant small. If we only use our space one time, it reduces the number who can attend. When we are full in one age group, it slows or stops our growth in the other age groups. If worship or parking are full, they slow or stop Sunday School growth. When preschool is full, it will also slow or stop adult growth, etc. Don’t let your pot determine your growth. Use it multiple times. Clear out storage. Use nearby space. Build more.
How Did You Do?
Evaluate your Sunday School. Look for growth barriers. Then plan around them. Grow. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!