As I said before, today everyone is busy. In the face of such busyness, what can we do to grow the class (spiritually and numerically) that God has entrusted to us? How can we work smarter (and even harder when required) and ensure that we will be more likely to realize results (class growth)? In Part 1 of this six-part series, I shared 37 class growth actions. In Parts 2-5 I shared the first thirty of those 37 actions along with a some brief comments about each one. In Part 6 of the series, I will share the final seven actions:
- SEEK TRAINING TO DO YOUR JOB EVEN BETTER. Train as a teacher to do all the parts of your job better: teaching, reaching, caring, etc. Learn more about God's Word. Be a perpetual learner. Lead other leaders in your class to do the same. Seek special training in areas of need and passion. Grow. Learn. Check out Revolutionary Teachers Are FAT, Training Sunday School Teachers for Change, Free Training Materials for Sunday School Teachers, Creative Ways to Train Sunday School Teachers, How Often Do You Train Your Sunday School Workers?, and Responding to Sunday School Teachers Who Don’t Want to Train.
- CONDUCT REGULAR PLANNING MEETINGS. All teachers and class leaders need to be involved in regular planning meetings: annual, quarterly, and monthly or weekly. Here, though, I am mainly referring to a class leadership team getting together for evaluating, dreaming, prioritizing, goal setting, and action planning. Check on progress toward goals. Plan emphases. Pray together. Check out Giving Sunday School Direction Through a Planning Retreat, Plan an Exciting Launch to the New Sunday School Year, Essentials of an Effective Weekly Sunday School Workers Meeting, and Sunday School Class FISH Team Training.
- INVEST IN NEW CLASS MEMBERS AND NEW CHRISTIANS. Way too many new church members, new class members, and new Christians drop out because no one invested intentionally in them. No one befriended them. No one mentored or encouraged them. An adult and youth class should have a plan for connecting and mentoring new members and new Christians in the class. Why not call them "Encouragers?" Ask the Encourager to visit or contact the new member/Christian every week for the first month, every other week for the next two months, once a month for the rest of the year. Plan face-to-face check-up fellowship times quarterly throughout the year. A basic discipleship primer could be used early. Check out this post for additional ideas: Ideas for Making Friends Through the Adult Sunday School Class.
- LEAD ATTENDERS TO DEVELOP AND SHARE THEIR SUNDAY SCHOOL TESTIMONIES. Lead them to think about values and benefits of their class. Get them to write them down. Ask them to share them in pairs or with the whole class if it is small. Then challenge them to prayerfully seek opportunities to share this testimony. Check out Sunday School Testimony: Powerful Revolutionary Tool.
- ENLIST SAME GENDER PRAYER AND ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNERS. Remember, we are talking about both kinds of growth: spiritual and numerical. Prayer and accountability partners could accomplish both. The spiritual growth is obvious: as partners pray for each other and challenge one another to live out the truth of God's Word, they will grow. But numerical is also possible as they share with others about how much this aspect has helped them. Check out Accountability Partners in the Adult Sunday School Class and Making Disciples Through Accountability in the Adult Sunday School Class.
- ORGANIZE THE CLASS TO RESPOND IN TIMES OF NEED. Don't wait until something happens. Plan your response before you have a need. What will the class do in time of death of class member? family member? extended family? How will they respond if there is a financial crisis? What about a hospitalization? What if it is a long one? What about after a birth? Develop a new structure or add it to your care groups or other class structure. Check out Grow Your Sunday School Class by Organizing to Respond in Times of Need, Sunday School Ministry in Times of Grief, Care Groups: Prayer, Ministry, Assimilation, and Invitation, and Sunday School Ministering in Times of Difficulty.
- DEVELOP AND USE A CLASS COVENANT. This is an agreement between class attenders about how they will participate in the class and support each other. Sometimes a group will make decisions about each area of the covenant. Then when the group is agreed, each member will sign the covenant. This commitment often deepens relationships as well as the class experience. For more information, check out Sunday School Class and Home Bible Study Group Covenants and Benefits of a Covenant for a Revolutionary Sunday School Class.