In early February the world will pause for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon to watch two NFL teams battle for the right to be called Super Bowl champions. It’s amazing how much attention is focused on this epic gridiron battle each year! What if you and I could lead our churches to turn Super Bowl Sunday into “Super Goal” Sunday? Capitalizing on a cultural event like the Super Bowl isn’t a new idea in churches. Many will encourage adult Sunday School groups to host watching parties for the purpose of fellowship and outreach to prospective members.
But what if you begin a tradition of starting new Sunday School groups around the first of the new year by changing Super Bowl Sunday to “Super Goal” Sunday? With the goal of beginning several new groups on that Sunday, followed by the group’s first fellowship that afternoon? What kind of a goal might you set? How many new groups might your church start at this time of year? Here are the steps to take if you want to make this a reality next year.
Do your market research.
Before the NFL allows a new team to come into existence, or before an NFL team relocates and begins again in a new location, they conduct market research for several months. Will a certain city have adequate roads, fan support, and proximity to airports for out of town guests? To start new groups, you’ll want to do your own “market research” to know the possibilities for your Sunday School. For instance, get to know the culture of your church and the surrounding community to determine which people groups are currently unreached, such as:
Single moms College students Young families Unwed mothers Couples without children Military families Affinity groups (golfers, fishermen, knitters, book worms, etc.)
You may also determine that your church is not able to meet the needs of a certain type of adult learner for whom you are already providing classes. You may be experiencing a boom in young adults, middle or senior adults, so you’ll want to start new groups to reach those people who are already attending your Sunday School, but may be struggling to connect or to find adequate seating in classes.
Create a new “franchise.”
Once you determine your possibilities, you’ll want to narrow your options and decide which unreached people groups to reach out to first. If you believe that God is leading you to reach four new people groups, or to start four new classes to better handle current growth needs of existing classes, you’ll simply enlarge your organization by four groups. Just think about this as “franchising” your Sunday School. A new NFL team doesn’t exist by and for itself alone. New teams are franchised and belong to a league, which is part of the larger NFL. New groups in your Sunday School don’t exist just for themselves, but work alongside other groups to reach specific people for Christ, Bible study, and membership. New groups belong to the rest of the Sunday School organization as a whole, and each new “franchise” needs new personnel, which leads to …
Recruit and train head coaches and staff.
Each new franchise/class you create will need a head coach/teacher and staff/class leaders. Provide training and help them understand the purpose of your Sunday School groups, and make your expectations clear. Use a short job description for each class leader role – think of it as their “contract” for the season. Include things you both agree to as major goals and objectives. Consider providing training in one or more of the following ways:
A Saturday morning event A special weekend retreat Over the course of several Sunday or Wednesday evenings On Sunday mornings for several weeks in lieu of the new leaders attending their own Sunday School class The point is, new leaders will need training and they will need to know your expectations. Find a time that works not just for you, but for them, and deliver high-quality training.
Designate a “home field.”
New franchises (groups) will need “home fields” -classrooms or other locations that are “theirs.” These home fields become the places where the new groups “play” each week, as they become a healthy new group. Consider the following places your new franchises could call home:
An unused classroom A room that could be cleaned out and turned into a classroom An off-campus location (home, office, apartment complex clubhouse, etc.) A room on campus, but one that is not used at the church’s primary Sunday School hour (For example, a new group for people who work on Sundays might meet at the church on a Monday night.)
As you designate a home field for new franchises, remember that adults need 12 to 15 square feet each to have adequate space. A new franchise with 10 people will need 120 to 150 square feet as a minimum. Don’t limit the new group by giving them a room that’s too small from the start.
Blitz the prospects.
Now it’s time to go after the people who are prospective members of the new groups. Names of people may come from guest information cards turned in during the worship service, people who are known by the “coaches” and “staff” of the new franchises, or even lists of absentee members who’ve fallen through the cracks of other Sunday School groups. Plan on making phone calls and personal visits and sending e-mails to prospective members’ homes. Let them know you’ve started a new group for people just like them. Announce the creation of new groups through the church’s website, newsletter, and worship bulletin.
A final thought
You may have recognized the five steps as “Flake’s Formula” — a tried and true way that Sunday Schools have started new groups for decades. Arthur Flake developed the simple formula for starting new groups, and it looked like this:
1. Know your possibilities (do the market research). 2. Enlarge the organization (create a new franchise). 3. Enlist and train the workers (recruit and train head coaches and staffs). 4. Provide space (designate a home field). 5. Go after the people (blitz the prospece’s Formula is a lot like blocking and tackling in football (and something the winner of the Super Bowl usually does very well). Blocking and tackling are basic elements of the game, but if they aren’t done well, teams lose. Starting new groups isn’t hard. You just have to stick to some good ol’ “blocking and tackling” like the five steps in Flake’s Formula, and you’ll experience new growth in your Sunday School.
One last thing:
You can use this simple formula any time of the year, not just around Super Bowl Sunday. Start new groups in the Spring, Summer, or Fall. Just start them! And set a goal of starting new groups every year in your ministry.
These services above provided by Ken Braddy via LifeWay Studies!
“Have a blessed day, I am.”
A. T. S .