I received the following e-mail in response to my blog on How Large Should a Class Get from one of my friends in Clarksville, Al McFarland. Al teaches a class that has a range of ages from 20-60 years of age. The class also has a mixture of Single Adults, Couples, and Spouses attending by themselves. I am sharing excerpts of his response with his permission. I am going to add a few comments and bold a few points.
I do believe in the small class but sometime large classes happen. These classes can be a positive impact on the life of the church.
My class is a discussion class. I work very hard to keep people engaged so that one or two people do not control the discussion. (This is a key point…Al works hard to encourage participation.) I ask almost weekly how many have read their Bible at least five times that week (based on what Al learned from Josh Hunt, author of How to Double Your Sunday School in Two Years or Less). Al encourages them to have a quiet time, and states “Sometimes I will ask what they are reading during their quiet time and encourage sharing their personal testimony.”
Al’s class is involved in doing ministry to the church and the community: The class put together 23 buckets for Haiti. They have reached out to church members needing a helping hand. They have gone and helped out at the Salvation Army. Recently they were made aware of a program in the school system to help feed children over the weekend. The cost to support a child for a year is $125.00; we had 15 people step up to promise support. (This is a great example for classes of all sizes.)
My goal is to reach lost people for Christ and disciple them. Because we have lots of families that are here for a short time (Clarksville is a military town), I want them to grow and leave here stronger in their faith and be ready to step into the church the Lord leads them to wherever in the world they go. (I love this…the goal of every Sunday School class should be to help the church fulfil the Great Commission by making disciples.)