One of my many “pet peeves” is littering. It really gets under my skin when I see someone throwing trash out of their car. The reason is that I value our environment; I value God’s creation. I feel the same way when I see a church or a Sunday School classroom that doesn’t value their environment.
When I see a church building and/or a Sunday School classroom that is not well cared for it screams, “these people don’t care!” It doesn’t take money to clean up a classroom. It doesn’t require much to simply freshen up the place. The condition of your classroom says a lot about the members and it also preaches a loud message to guests. Schedule a clean up day and throw away the junk.
Think about how you set up the classroom. The first step is to determine what will be the focal wall in the classroom. I usually use the wall opposite of the entrance doorway. By using this as the focal wall it does not draw attention to others as they enter the room. By using the back wall as the focal wall it puts everyone’s back to the door and also limits the number of distractions for the group.
The way you set up also says a lot about the group and the methods used in teaching. My preference is smaller half circles of 3to4 per group. I like to use this method because in encourages group discussion and its not so large that it overwhelms the participants. I’m presently using this approach with a class that is meeting in the fellowship hall and I’ve set up the chairs in 9 groups with no more than 8 chairs in each group. If you use this method you can either use tables for the groups or not. We just simply don’t have the space to make this happen.
If you are more accustom to lecture then more than likely your classroom will be set up with the chairs in rows. In my opinion it is not ideal and you need to understand that this set up does not lend itself to group discussion and interaction. Don’t frustrate your self and your class expecting more discussion in classroom set up in rows.
Another classroom set up is having the chairs set up in a semi-circle or a complete circle. The complete circle makes the group experience bout the group but it can be difficult to break into that type of group. The semi-circle usually has chair in the large opening for the teacher and this again makes the focus of the group on the teacher. Both of these set ups do encourage dialogue, interaction and discussion.
Whatever method you use in setting up the chairs in the classroom I would only encourage you not to get too confortable with it. I’ve alsways tried to vary the room set up to aid in the goal of the Bible study. I’ve even hid the chairs from one Sunday School class and they had to stand for the entire time during Sunday School. That was over 15 years ago and they still remember the lesson.
Dr. Smith serves as a state missionary with the Georgia Baptist Convention and is the Sunday School/Small Groups Specialist. Visit their website at gabaptist.org/groups for more information and other resources to aid your Sunday School or small group ministry. You can also connect with Dr. Smith at gabaptistgroups.org, facebook.com/GABaptistGroups or twitter.com/GABaptistGroups.