In 1920, Arthur Flake became the first leader of the Sunday School Department of the Baptist Sunday School Board (now called LifeWay Christian Resources). Though a specific source (book or writing) for the following Sunday School growth steps has not been found, it is clear that Flake was the source for these five steps: (1) know the possibilities, (2) enlarge the organization, (3) provide space and equipment, (4) enlist the leaders, and (5) go after the people. These five steps are known as Flake’s Formula.
In Part 1, Flake’s Formula for Sunday School Growth: Know the Possibilities, I examined the first step, “know the possibilities.” For Sunday School to “know the possibilities,” it is essential to consider five contexts: spiritual, church body, church facility, community, and century. In Part 2 of this five-part series, I will take a look at what it means to enlarge the organization.
The phrase from the movie, Field of Dreams, is not entirely true of Sunday School: “if you build it, they will come.” But the phrase becomes true when you add the other four steps. Consider these ways to enlarge your organization:
- PRAY AND DREAM BIG. Pray for God’s leadership. Ask for His blessings. Have faith in what He will do through you. Expect many people to respond to your invitations. Dream big about how you will have to prepare for what He is going to do. Enlarge your organization to accommodate the work of a big God.
- ORGANIZE FOR THE NEXT STAGE. What if you had 50 more this time next year? What if it was 100? What if it was 1,000? Prepare that way. Add workers and classes (more later). Add more greeters. Make more contacts. Train your people to prepare for what to do when you get to the next stage. Pray big. Dream big. Think big. Plan big so you will be ready for what God sends. Enlarge the organization to be ready for the next stage.
- ADD MORE WORKERS. If you are going to reach more people, you will need to add more workers to provide the care they will require. If you are not faithful with the sheep God has entrusted you, why should He send you more for which to care for Him? Add more teachers, outreach leaders, care group leaders, department leaders, teacher coaches, and more. Train and release them to prepare for the people God will send. Enlarge the organization by adding more workers.
- START NEW CLASSES. A sheep pen can only accommodate so many sheep. In order to care for more sheep, you need more sheep pens and more shepherds. Start new classes in anticipation of those who will be reached. Start different classes to reach different people. Start more classes to reach more people like those who are already coming. Don’t allow one age group to become a bottleneck that slows or stops growth in another. For instance, don’t forget to start new preschool classes if you plan to reach more young adults. Enlarge the organization by starting more classes.
- REDUCE THE SPAN OF CARE. Be conscious of the span of care. Keep it low. Enlist more workers to fill gaps. Watch each age group. Make sure span of care is close to 1 worker for every five persons enrolled. Keep them organized to contact and care. Train them to keep in touch. Set up a great set of member and prospect records. Organize workers to provide the care that current and future members will need.
Pray and dream big. Organize for the next stage. Add more workers and start new classes. Reduce the span of care. Follow God’s leadership to enlarge the organization. Be revolutionary!