Archive for Sunday School possibilities

Stage 1: Imagining Possibilities


As a businessman and lay Sunday School Director, Arthur Flake developed and promoted a Five Step Plan for growing Sunday Schools.  The next few articles will focus on these five steps that Sunday School and small group leaders have been using as an evaluation and planning formula for over one hundred years.  A slight twist on this time proven formula was introduced in Countdown called Francis’s Flaky Formula: Dream, Declare, Develop, Determine, and Deploy.

Gemini, Apollo, Enterprise, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavor. The names of these space vehicles are engrained in the fabric of our history.  Almost any person over the age of 50 will be able to tell you where they were when Neil Armstrong descended a ladder and declared that was one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind.  In 1981, a group of fellow college students gathered in the commons building at Union University as we watched, the space shuttle Columbia blast off and return from space. Every American has been impacted by the technological advances that space exploration ushered in.  And all of these experiences and advances were birthed from a dream.

Dreams are powerful motivators.  Caleb dreamed a big, God-sized dream. The Bible says that he approached Joshua at Gilgal, and demanded Joshua to “Give me my mountain.”  Rick Howerton in Countdown: Launching and Leading Transformational Groups, wrote, “Every earth shattering groups pastor or education minister dreams nearly unfathomable dreams. In their minds’ eye, they see the end result before it ever happens.”

What do you want to see happen in your Sunday School class this year? Can you envision the potential of those boys and girls that you have the privilege to teach? Where do you want to be as a Sunday School next month, next year, and five years from now? Imagine the Possiblities…Dream a big dream.

I have a dream of a Sunday School movement across America that is:

  • Evangelistically Focused
  • Missionary Minded
  • Great Commission Based
  • Outwardly Motivated
  • Engaged Outside the Walls
  • Starts New groups and classes

Caleb faced many challenges to realize his dream. The Bible says that the Anakim were there plus fortified cities, but that didn’t keep Caleb from asking for his mountain…the mountain that God had promise him.

Don’t let time (Caleb was 85 years old before he realized the fulfillment of his dream), criticism, excuses, or people rob you of your dreams.

I am thankful that President Kennedy had a big dream and declared a mandate that America would put a man on the moon.  His dream changed my life. I am also thankful for leaders like Arthur Flake, J.N. Barnette, and ministers of education, Sunday School directors, and Bible study teachers in our churches who also dream big dreams.


Written by Mark Miller, Sunday School Specialist and Harvest Field Team Leader for the Tennessee Baptist Convention