The Secret to Sunday School Growth

I subscribe to several Sunday School related blogs. I received this one recently from Daryl Wilson of the Kentucky Baptist  Convention. I asked him for permission for forward it own to you. It  is great.

If you would like to subscribe to Daryl's blog, go to 

The Secret of Sunday School Growth:

Steve Grose shared his testimony about being  a twenty-three year old church planter in an article entitled The Secret of  Church Growth: MULTIPLY UNITS. He attended a  three-week church growth seminar in which he heard from men like  Chuck Swindoll, John Macarthur Jr, Gene Getz, Bill Yeager, and  others. One of the men was Bill Taylor who at that time was the  Minister of Education at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas,  Texas (later served as Director of Sunday School for LifeWay  Christian Resources). In the seminar, Bill Taylor said:

“Your body grows each daily by multiplying  units of itself. When parts of your body stop doing this, then  that area stops growing” he said, patting his balding pate. “The  same is true in the Body of Christ! For any area to grow, we  must first of all multiply units. If we want more small group  Bible studies, we must multiply the number of small group  leaders. If we want a larger Sunday School we must multiply the  number of effective teaching and recruitment units in Sunday  School. If we want more men in discipling ministry, we must  multiply disciplers.”

Paul summarized it simply to Timothy when he  said, "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of  many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be  qualified to teach others" (2 Timothy 2:2, NIV). This should be  built into the fabric of the body of Christ. Sunday School  classes should be working to multiply themselves. Small groups  should be working to multiply themselves. Teachers/group leaders  should be working to multiply themselves. Outreach and ministry  leadership should be working to multiply themselves. Christian  disciples should be working to multiply themselves.

A sheep pen can only hold so many sheep. A  shepherd-steward can only care for so many sheep at one time  (John 10:1-16). In order to hold onto new wine, new wineskins  are needed (Matthew 9:17). For Sunday School to grow, new units  are absolutely necessary--even if space is still available in  the old units. But new units are always easier to start when a  God-called teacher/leader has been trained and is ready to step  forward.

What are you doing to apprentice new leaders?  What are you doing to discover, train, and prepare them to  launch new units? Consider some of these steps each of which  should be done in a spirit of prayer for God's leadership and  help:

    • ask God to guide you to a potential apprentice;
  • ask the potential apprentice to help you with small  portions of the task over a period of time (like preparing a  short report, making a visit, calling some guests, preparing  for a fellowship, etc.);
  • ask the potential apprentice to teach a session when you  plan to be present (give him/her feedback);
  • show, watch, and assign other tasks to prepare him/her;
  • help the potential apprentice to discover his/her gifts,  abilities, and experiences that God wants to use as a  teacher/group leader;
  • at the appropriate time, ask the potential apprentice to  become your official apprentice (this heightens the  intentional learning/teaching process);
  • ask the apprentice to teach once each month;
  • as new unit launch time approaches, ask the apprentice  to teach more frequently, perhaps even the entire final  month; and
  • launch the apprentice: either send the apprentice out  with a seed group of 1-5 persons to start a new class or  leave the apprentice in charge of the old class while you  the teacher goes forth with a seed group of 1-5.

Do you want to grow? Then start new units. Do  you want to start new units? Then apprentice new leaders. Do you  want to apprentice new leaders? Then begin today praying that  God will guide you to a potential apprentice. Don't go through  another year maintaining the status quo. Pray and plan to grow.  Multiply units. Be revolutionary!