This month, we have been sharing five areas of Sunday School growth that have become known as Flake’s Formula: (1) know the possibilities, (2) enlarge the organization, (3) provide space and equipment, (4) enlist the leaders, and (5) go after the people. In today’s post, we will examine how important it is to “provide space and equipment” in order to allow Sunday School growth to take place. Consider these ways and reasons to provide space and equipment:
- ENOUGH ROOMS. In Is the Size of Your Sunday School POT Keeping You Small, Part 1 and Is the Size of Your Sunday School POT Keeping You Small, Part 2, I shared this idea from Ken Hemphill in The Bonsai Theory of Church Growth: “You must keep the pot small to keep a bonsai small, and in a similar way many churches keep the church and Sunday School small because they keep the facilities small.” In order for your Sunday School to grow, you must have space available in which to start new classes. This can include using the space more than once and even using off-site space.
- ENOUGH SPACE. Adults and teens need about 12-15 square foot per person. Children need 25 square foot. Preschoolers (due to activity level) need 35 square foot. When attendance approaches 80% of capacity of the room, growth will slow or stop. Moving classes to rooms of appropriate size to allow for growth is essential. Also, when a class reaches or exceeds the space’s capacity, it is time to start a new class.
- ADEQUATE SPACE. There are many issues to consider in making sure that the space you provide for classes is adequate, such as appearance, location, usefulness, safety, cleanliness, noise, and more. Check out Conduct an Adult & Student Sunday School Space Walk for a set of questions from which you can evaluate your adult and youth space. When possible, locate preschool and senior adult space close to worship space.
- ADEQUATE EQUIPMENT. What is needed by each age group is appropriately different. Certainly chairs and tables (if needed) should be of the right size for the assigned age group(s). It is important to provide the equipment and furnishings needed while taking into account the space available and potential attendance. As attendance begins to approach 80% of capacity, as much equipment and furnishings as possible should be removed making more room for people.
- TOO MUCH EQUIPMENT. Too often classrooms fill earlier than necessary due to too much equipment and furnishings in the space. Tables are often the biggest culprit. People are more important than tables. Removing tables to have space for more people is more important that coddling people’s preferences (to hold coffee and Bibles and cover short skirts). Sometimes more chairs are in the room than are necessary. Only one or two more than expected attendance should be kept in the room. In fact, it can be depressing to enter a room with 20 chairs and only 3 attenders, while it can be exciting to have to set up one or two more chairs.
Make sure you plan ahead. Don’t get to a place where you need to start a class but lack the space, furnishings, and equipment needed. Anticipate needs. Plan ahead. Expect to grow.
For more ideas about Sunday School space, check out these blog posts:
- Foundational Pillars of a Sunday School that Grows, Part 8
- Revolutionary Adult Sunday School Classroom Space
- Assigning Sunday School Space to Preschoolers and Others
- Creative Places for Sunday School Classes and Small Groups to Meet
- How to Evaluate Your Sunday School Facilities
- Is It Time for a Sunday School Clean-up Day?
- Would You Like to Double Your Sunday School Space?
- Do You Have Enough Sunday School Space?
- Why It’s Best Not to Use Tables in Sunday School Classes
Darryl Wilson has served as Director of the Sunday School Department for the Kentucky Baptist Convention since 1997. He served as Minister of Education in five churches in Kentucky and South Carolina. He is the author of The Sunday School Revolutionary!, a blog about life-changing Sunday School and small groups.