Make no mistake: Space can impact the quality of the Bible study experience for children, teens, and adults. In addition to the attractiveness and comfort of the room, you must consider square footage requirements.
Children are active and need to be able to move around freely. Cramped space for preschoolers and grade-schoolers eliminates some of the effective learning activities that can be used to teach God’s truths. The two-small spaces may also aggravate discipline problems when kids are in cramped spaces for 1-2 hours.
In youth and adult groups, guests are not likely to return if there are no seats available for them. Many learners are uncomfortable having to walk in front of the whole group to get to a chair or having to thread their way between chairs and tables jammed together.
At first glance, LifeWay’s suggested space requirements may seem excessive:
- Preschoolers 35 sq. ft./pupil
- Grades 1-6 20-25 sq. ft./pupil
- Youth & Adults 10-15 sq. ft./pupil
The numbers make more sense when you realize the total space requirements per pupil also include the space taken up by tables, cabinets, pianos, plus passing room between chairs and the other furniture.
Visualize what 10 square feet looks like. Cut a piece of butcher paper 2 ½ feet wide by 4 feet long and lay it on the floor. (If you don’t have a large roll of paper, use sheets of newspaper taped together.) Set a classroom chair on one end of the paper and ask someone to sit in the chair. Notice how much space is left on either side and beyond the feet of the person. Now picture the 10-foot-square sheets lined up. It’s easy to see why this is the minimum suggested space requirement.
Obviously, these are ideal numbers. While many churches do not have the luxury of such space, I challenge you to do the best you can: Start new classes… Get rid of tables in small rooms… Clean out the clutter… Remove unused pianos. Resolve to clear space for Bible learning!
Marie Clark is the Bible Teaching & Discipling Team Leader for the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists. She enjoys serving as a Sunday School volunteer in her own church each Sunday.