Thursday, June 19, 2008

The solution to classroom space for churches

it really is amazing how our experience of church life shapes and sometimes, sadly, stifles our imagination. Take for instance, classroom space. In growing (or swelling) churches, classroom space often begins to become short in supply. The automatic thought? Let's build more classrooms.

Sometimes this may be necessary. But instead of doing this automatically, why not explore other options? I can vividly remember missional leader Reggie McNeal, one of my D.Min. teachers at Fuller Theological Seminary, speak on this topic. Why not hold a "Sunday School" class in a restuarant? Have members go to a local eating place, share breakfast with one another, and have a Bible lesson right there. This would allow the workers and other people eating at the restaurant an opportunity to come into contact God's people, creating openings for conversation, prayer, and dialogue.

If we are going to be God's people on mission, we will have to sacrifice. If we cannot "sacrifice" by meeting in a restaurant, how will we be able to sacrifice in bigger things. Sometimes we are waiting for that "big sacrifice," and meanwhile we miss out on daily sacrificial living.

What do you think of having "Sunday School" in a restaurant or other public setting?


JB said...

I think having Sunday class in a resturant is a good idea if the class aim is reaching the unchurched. But sometimes a traditional class setting is not a bad way to go when equipping Christians and enriching our knowledge. Yes, it's good to talk about God in public places, however it can also be very distracting to learn in this environment. So unless we are easily focused, this may be a bit more of a distraction than some of us can handle.

Garth said...

Have you seen my belly?

Count me in!

James said...


There are restaurants that have separate rooms that would be quieter. This would still allow for interaction coming in and out, and for interaction with the waiters and waitresses. A group could also meet at Starbucks. Or in a park.

It is true that not every class should be in a public setting. But it is definitely an option that we can and should use.

I can remember at Liberty when we were trying to deal with a lack of parking lot space, we floated the idea of dropping cars off at a location 1/2 mile away and shuttling members to the church building. Sadly, we concluded that people wouldn't do this. Even though it would have saved us $100,000, and some relationships could have been developed with other Christians involved in this through the little ride that they would have shared together. We expect non-Christians to demand convenience. But what about us? Are we willing to make these little sacrifices?

James said...


Good candidates for this type of class might be young marrieds without kids and older members whose kids have graduated. Maybe you could "belly up" with one of these groups. :)