The Real Problem is…

Mondays on the blog are for quoting from a book on Sunday School or leadership that can be applied to your teaching ministry. I’m taking a trip back in time for today’s quote. It was written in 1922!

Arthur Flake, the new director of the Sunday School Board, wrote the book Building A Standard Sunday School shortly after going to work for the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He would develop his famous “Flake’s Formula” by 1923, and little did he know the impact it would still make almost 100 years later.

Here is what Flake had to say about “the real problem” in Sunday School way back in 1922…

Arthur Flake

The preceding discussion brings us to the real need, which is an organization of sufficient size made up of intelligent, skillful, Spirit-filled men and women who will bring the pupils into the Sunday school, teach them the Word of God, and win them to Christ. Thus the real problem of building a great Sunday school anywhere, under all conditions and circumstances, is one of developing trained officers and teachers…They largely determine the quality of the teaching done. They set the gauge for the soul-winning spirit and fervor of the Sunday school. The quality of work done by the teachers will not, cannot, rise higher than the ability displayed by the officers in the administration of the affairs of the Sunday school. It is impossible to build an efficient Sunday school with an ignorant, indifferent, untrained, lazy, cold set of officers. No corps of teachers can overcome a handicap like that.

I like the way Mr. Flake puts an emphasis on training the most significant and largest group of leaders in the church – Bible study leaders!

Fair Haven Baptist teachers at yesterday’s lunch and training event – learning about the necessity of starting new groups

Just yesterday, I led a time of training and encouragement for the group leaders at my church in the Nashville area. Fair Haven Baptist Church now has a one-year history of implementing ongoing teacher training. The results? A year ago the Sunday School averaged 198 people. Today, it has consistently broken the 250 barrier and has had a high day of 279. My prediction? We’ll be breaking the 300 barrier by the start of August and back-to-school.

What was old is now new again. Churches are rediscovering the need to train their group leaders. State conventions, like the one in Georgia, have now documented through their own research that churches providing ongoing training actually grow at a more significant rate than those churches without training.

If your church isn’t providing ongoing training for group leaders, share this post with your pastor and encourage him to consider establishing ongoing training. 100 years ago Arthur Flake realized that training leaders was essential for growth and excellence in a Bible teaching ministry. Now that has come full circle and we’re beginning to rediscover that timeless truth all over again!


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