"We are just a small church." I hear it all the time. You know what? Most of the churches in the Southern Baptist Convention are not large! Annual Church Profile numbers show that on an average Sunday over four million people will attend Sunday school in a Southern Baptist Church.
Here's the breakdown by church size.
Four-digit Sunday schools
Of the more than 44,000 Southern Baptist churches, fewer than 300 average over 1,000 in Sunday School attendance. That's less than one percent! The SBC is not comprised primarily of mega-churches. Now, there is something of a flipside. Over 560,000 of the 4,150,000 people attending Sunday School on an average weekend will do so in a four-digit Sunday school. That's almost 14 percent of the total. Four-digit Sunday schools are important to our cooperative work, but there just aren't many of them. So if yours is not a four-digit Sunday school, don't despair!
Triple-digit Sunday schools
Fewer than 9,000 Southern Baptist churches average over 100 in Sunday school attendance. About 3,000 average between 250 and 999, and have over a million people in average attendance. Almost another million will be in attendance in the 6,000 churches averaging 100 to 249 in Sunday school. So about half the people attending Bible study in Southern Baptist churches this Sunday will be a part of triple-digit Sunday schools.
Double-digit Sunday schools
This is far-and-away the typical Southern Baptist Sunday school. In fact, at least 40 percent of SBC churches average less than 50 in Sunday school, and another 20 percent average 50 to 99. These percentages are even higher if you assume that most of the 20 percent of churches not completing the ACP fall into this category. But you know what? About 1.6 million boys and girls, men and women, will attend one of these Sunday schools this week, led in Bible study by an army of perhaps 250,000 teachers. Wow! Talk about the impact of a cooperative effort.
Moving up to the next category
You've probably already figured out what category your church best fits. Hopefully, you've started asking yourself, "What would it take to move up to the next category?" Cracking the four-digit category is out of the question for most churches. But maybe your church could set a long-range goal to reach 250, a level reached by fewer than 10 percent of churches.
Or, how about this challenge: If yours is a double-digit Sunday school, set your sights on hitting triple-digits - over time, with God's help, and hard work. What would that take? Your church must get serious about the The 5-Step Formula for Sunday School Growth. What's that? A book I've written based on Flake's Formula.