Have you ever been on a road trip?
We live in IL just East of St. Louis, and most of our family live over 600 miles away in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. I’m also a student at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO, and even though I’m a part-time student, I still drive the 4.5 hours (one way) to campus about 25 times a year.
We know road trips…
Road trips are a good metaphor for life, and they are a good analogy for a church’s Sunday School strategy. You should have a destination, follow the rules of the road, keep moving forward, stay within the boundaries, don’t speed, et. al. But there is one aspect of the road trip that I think is particularly interesting in this comparison to how you do small groups within a local church context, the bathroom break.
How you approach the bathroom break is similar to how you approach starting new classes, it all depends on if you have goals (a schedule) that you are trying to align with.
When you start out on a road trip you can ask a question two different ways:
Question #1: “do I need to go to the bathroom now?”
Question #2: “can I go to the bathroom now?”
The first question is spoken by someone who doesn’t really have a plan, they know the general direction they are headed, but when an emergency arrives they assume they can deal with it then.
The second question is that of a person who is determined to follow the schedule. They know if they can go ahead and take care of “business” now, they will have more flexibility later.
It’s the same with Sunday School…
If you wait until you feel the need to divide a class, it’s already too late, you’ve lost your momentum and excitement. The emergency is upon you and you didn’t see it coming.
On the other hand, if you start new classes as soon as you can, you will always be growing, your will keep your momentum, and you will never feel the stress of having no room for the new people God brings your way. You’ll also never have the malaise that comes from the comfort of a “full” class, and worse yet, you’ll never fell the urgency of inviting new people to your class because if new people don’t come, your class won’t make it!
You’ve gotta prepare for the future, and you’ve gotta do it before the future gets here. Are you in a Sunday School class? How long has it been since you sent someone from your class to start a new one? How long has it been since you’ve felt the urgency to invite others to join with you?
Do you need to start a class now?
Can you start a class now?