It doesn’t take a lot to see your class growth slip into reverse. Sunday School classes, like churches, are either growing or they are shrinking. If your Sunday School class has seen better days and you’d like to start growing again, watch out for these sure-fire ways that are just about guaranteed to shrink your class:
1) Ask guests to pray, read, or answer questions. They love being put on the spot…not. Let guests blend in and get involved at their own pace. Respect them by giving them some space.
2) Teach whatever you like. You need to be open to the Spirit, right? Understand that teaching anything you like short-changes your learners. Disagree if you like, but you rob your learners of using learner booklets that challenge them to study God’s Word for themselves during the week, which strengthens class discussion and interaction. The best thing you can do is to follow a curriculum plan that ensures you have introduced your learners to “the whole counsel of God.”
3) Be predictable week after week…doesn’t everyone like steadiness? If your learners can tell me what’s going to happen in your class next week, it’s time to change things up. Be unpredictable. If your learners know your playbook, throw it out and get a new one. Try teaching procedures you typically don’t use. Change up the schedule you usually follow, rearrange the classroom, and keep learners guessing as to what’s going to happen each week.
4) Do it all for your learners. Doesn’t everybody love the “guru” teacher who has all the answers? After all, he’s studied and has lots of information to convey, so our role as learners is to sit there and be quiet…right? Wrong! A good teacher will use a variety of teaching methods to involve the learners in active learning. The smart teacher will ask good questions, use visual aids such as charts and maps, and generally not tell learners anything they can discover on their own.
5) Throw your lesson together at the last minute. Go ahead…we all love your “Saturday night special” lesson. We know you’re busy and we’re just grateful you are our teacher…so we’ve lowered our expectations. Well, not so much. We expect you to spend time in daily preparation so that you hear a fresh word from God each week. We’re depending on you to help us understand what God expects of us, and you’ve only got a small amount of teaching time in which to help me learn how to be a better Christian, husband, father, son, employer, employee, coach, and more. If you want to shrink your class, just keep pulling your lesson together on Saturday, figuring “it’s good enough.” It isn’t. I’m depending on you.