“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17 NIV)
I do believe God wants us to look at the possibilities for the Great Commission and Sunday School. It will require old and young to see our world with God’s eyes and the potential to share God’s Word.
There is a secondary vision needed as well inside the church walls. In starting new classes and getting to the step of providing space and equipment requires seeing the potential. Too often we simply see things the way they are over the years in our churches. We need to see the potential of what could be within our space and equipment based on how many new classes we plan to start. Once again I am thankful for David Francis at Lifeway sharing the principles of Arthur Flake and expounding upon them. See my last blog for a free download of David Francis’ book, 5 Step Formula for Sunday School Growth.
Think outside the traditional classroom. Do you have areas of storage that could be de-cluttered and used for a classroom? Do you have existing classes in your fellowship hall or sanctuary? If not, start one. Rolling partitions can provide some sight and sound barriers in the fellowship hall to set up more than one classroom. I have even heard of a youth class meeting in a stairwell! If the pastor is willing and you have a parsonage, a class in the living room may work for a young adult class or youth class. I have used a church office for a class! Think about the potential of new classes in your space at church. Look at all spaces for the potential of a class. See David Francis’ book for space requirements based on ages of the class.
Think outside the church for new classes. Refer to my last two blogs to consider other places for small group open Bible studies. Consider a class in a nursing home, fire department, police department, community store and hospital on Sunday mornings or at other times.
Consider learning styles when you think about equipment. Too many teachers have focused on lecture as their only means to share knowledge about a passage. According to Edgar Dale, the retention level for lecture is only about 5%! Audio/Visual adds about 20%. Discussion is 50%, and Practice by Doing 75%. Rooms need to be set up for discussion and practice by doing as well as providing some visual possibilities with a marker board. (I would recommend a mobile TV/DVD possibility to be shared with classes on a check out basis unless you can afford one for each class.) There are great video clips on the internet from http://www.godtube.com/ if you have internet possibilities. I prefer a horseshoe shape approach for the chairs with the teacher sitting in a chair in the middle of it. It leads to a more intimate setting for all to share in discussion and be heard.
Think about signage and parking as well. Every time you start a new class, it is important to provide updated information for greeters to tell visitors where to go, and great signage in the parking lot to know which door to enter. Over the years I have visited many churches for Sunday School and worship. Many of them had several doors with no signage to know which door to enter. A visitor will decide within the first five minutes whether they will be back. Having proper signage with a welcome center for visitors is important. Greeters at the door (with a diagram of where classes are located) help visitors to feel welcomed.
Why not invite a friend who does not attend your church to come one Sunday morning with the sole purpose of sharing with fresh eyes how the church can provide a more welcoming environment? You may be surprised what they discover.
For those who have not signed up for the Leadership Gathering at Eagle Eyrie, we still have some room for you. Click on the link to find out more: http://vbmb.org/events/lg/ We will have a fully age-graded SS training track and deacon training track on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. for persons who can only join us on Saturday.