Remember when you began to learn the multiplication tables in grade school? As a 4th grader I was captivated by the concept of multiplication and very impressed by how quickly numbers grew when they were multiplied instead of added together.
Now several decades later, as a Sunday School leader, I am still convinced that “multiplication is better than addition” in your Sunday School ministry. Here’s why.
Addition—simply adding new members to existing classes—achieves limited growth because…
- Existing classes reach their maximum growth potential after 18-24 months.
- Established relationships make it harder for new people to break into the group.
- People “fall through the cracks” when a class continues to get larger.
- Some potential members may not fit in with existing classes because of age, special needs, or marital status.
- Many new members are lost through the “back door” (quit coming)—see #2, 3, & 4 above.
Multiplication—starting new Sunday School classes in any age group—is better because …
- New beginnings create excitement.
- New classes grow more quickly than existing classes.
- New classes enlarge the Sunday School without sacrificing quality teaching by allowing classes to remain small enough for personal interaction.
- New classes are easier for newcomers to penetrate because relationships are still being formed.
- New classes can focus on target groups not currently being reached in your community or by your church.
- New classes create opportunities for more people to use their spiritual gifts as they serve and lead.
Here is a final mathematical equation:
1 new class = increase of 10 in attendance.
Not all of the new members will be from that new class, but overall your Sunday School enrollment attendance will increase by approximately 10 people. For example, if a new adult class enrolls 5 new members (in addition to the starting core group), your church will probably enroll at least 8-10 others who are kids/ parents/ friends/ relatives of the new members. Multiplication IS better than addition.
Marie Clark has served as Bible Teaching & Discipling Team Leader for the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists since 1996