Alan Taylor, Minister of Education at FBC Woodstock, GA., spoke to 500 Sunday School teachers today at the Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina. The event was simulcast to over 12,000 people via a live internet feed. Alan appeared on a panel of practitioners and spoke to a specific topic: Sunday School class reproduction. As always, Alan was energetic, engaging, and made us think about how important it is to have Sunday School classes that reproduce themselves. He used a new term today and told conferees that our Sunday School classes need to learn the principle of franchising.
Alan reminded us that years ago, hamburger restaurants made a profound decision…to franchise themselves in order to sell more hamburgers. Alan told us that, “We have something better to franchise than hamburgers! We want to franchise the kingdom work of the Sunday School – reaching people, teaching people, and ministering to people. That’s why we should expect classes to reproduce.”
According to Alan, the benefits of a franchising Sunday School include: (1) reach more people (2) do more ministry (3) reach niche groups (4) increase the number of leaders. He reminded the audience that Sunday School classes tend to reach a saturation point after 2 years…that’s why it’s so important to start new classes (er, “franchises”). New classes mean that new members can be assimilated into the life of the church, the leader base will be broadened, more people will get involved in actual ministry through the work of the class, and accomplish the Great Commission.
Alan had a strong closing illustration that drove home his points about the importance of “franchising” classes and moving forward in Sunday School by starting new classes. He reminded us that when the Israelites were faced with a “dead end” in Exodus 14 and the Egyptians were closing in, Moses received a word from God to deliver to the people: “Tell the people of Israel to move forward” (Ex. 14:15). Alan than reminded us that the armor of a soldier protects the front of the individual because that’s where the fighting takes place as they move forward in battle. He concluded by reminding us that our arms swing forward because iwe are designed to move forward…t’s easier to walk forward than backward, and that our ears face forward so we can hear. He challenged us to “move forward” in starting new Sunday School classes by having the expectation that classes will reproduce themselves to reach people, teach people, and minister to people more effectively.