Book Excerpt: Extreme Sunday School Challenge

Today’s blog post is from a book by David Francis, the former Director of Sunday School for LifeWay Christian Extreme SS ChallengeResources. He and co-author Bruce Raley created the book Extreme Sunday School Challenge to remind us all of the importance of starting new groups. You can click the book title to download a free digital copy of the booklet (you’ll jump to the book’s landing page at

I am delighted to introduce you to their book, and their words below about the importance of intentionally starting new groups:

Starting new groups also gives the church an opportunity to grow beyond its present scope of influence. Most groups become closed after they have existed for 18-24 months. Even new people who come into an established group may find it difficult to build relationships. A few probably will, but seldom more than the number of group members who leave for various reasons. So, even though a few new people may ‘stick,’ there will rarely be any net growth. New groups will move your organization beyond your present sphere of influence and into the next circle of influence in your community. 

A new group will bring an average of 10 new people attending Bible study within a year if properly begun.

The group itself may not grow by 10, but the Bible study organization will. The key is the group must begin properly. A class begins properly when:

  • A target audience is identified.
  • Leaders are enlisted and trained.
  • Emphasis is given to the birth of the group.

So if you want your Sunday School to grow by 50 people next year, start at least 5 new groups…

A few years ago my wife and I began a new LIFE Group at our former church. Sure enough, we averaged about 15 people in our group. We started another new group at our current church (February 2019 launch) and we’ve seen the group attract about 13-15 people on average). I’ve lived the truth of the message from Extreme Sunday School Challenge that new groups will attract 10 or more people on average. Twice!

It’s time for your group to help your church grow by releasing some of your members to go out and start a new group. New groups grow faster and attract more people than older, established groups. Work with your pastor, Sunday School director, or Minister of Education to find out how you can help your church reach an disciple new people by starting a group out of yours.


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