In Part 1 and Part 2, I have mentioned that my friend, Steve Parr who is the vice-president for Sunday School and Evangelism for the Georgia Baptist Convention, has recently edited and published KEY Strategies for Healthy Sunday Schools. I highly recommend that you purchase the book. It can be purchased for $15.00 from the Georgia Baptist Convention, Attn. Steve Parr, 6405 Sugarloaf Pkwy, Duluth, GA 30097.
The book’s nine chapters were written by nine Sunday School experts. In this three-part series, I want to share the book’s nine key strategies. The commentary will be my own and not necessarily reflect the book. In Part 1, I shared the book’s first three strategies. In Part 2, I will shared the middle three. Now, in Part 3, I will share the next three strategies in all capitals followed by my commentary:
SPACE IS PROVIDED FOR GROWTH. Many options are overlooked. Have you considered space that is used by other groups through the week? Share space. What about the fellowship hall, choir room, church office, library, etc.? Could you clean out space being used to store stuff? Could you rearrange your classes according to attendance and room square footage–placing the smallest attendance classes in the smallest rooms and the largest attendance in the largest rooms? This may give you additional space for growth. (Remember that preschool and children’s space needs are higher per child than space needs by youth and adults.) Could you use your Sunday School space more than once? Perhaps offering a revised schedule with Sunday School before and after worship (8:30 Sunday School, 9:45 worship, and 11:00 Sunday School)? Or if worship space is also needed, could you use both space twice (9:45 Sunday School and worship, 11:00 Sunday School and worship)? And don’t forget the option to start off-site classes at other times and places.
THERE IS A PLAN FOR OUTREACH. In most churches if you have no plan for outreach, there will be no outreach, or at least it will be very erratic. How will you follow up Sunday School and worship guests? How will you discover needs and invite the community to join you for Sunday School and worship? How and when will you pray for and visit prospects? How will you lead every age group to participate? How will you train Sunday School teachers, leaders, and members to make good contacts and visit? How will you prepare them to share their testimony and their faith? Have you developed a system for collecting prospect contact information and passing it along to the classes? A healthy Sunday School is one that pursues people who are not already members of it. Any Anderson recommended having prospects equal to your Sunday School enrollment in order to in a position to grow.
NEW UNITS ARE CREATED. In order to maintain itself and to grow, your body has to produce new cells continuously. The same is true for the church. In order to care for more people, new teachers, classes, and spaces are needed. New units tend to be more evangelistic and to grow faster than existing units. The key is the training of apprentices and keeping the vision in front of your Sunday School. One of the best ways to start new units is to send out apprentices each with a seed group of 1-5 people (who can come from the same class as the apprentice or different ones). Remember all your age groups: preschool, children, youth, and adult.