Advantages of Keeping up with Attendance in Sunday School

Sunday 5th August, 2007

"I have the same five people every week. Why do I need to take roll?" If the group never varies, perhaps you don't have to keep up with attendance records. But in my experience, it can still be advantageous to have a class secretary (someone besides the teacher) who takes roll. This gives an individual a responsibility and may help to keep them connected to the class and church.

But let me also say that it is unusual for those who attend a class never to vary. People are absent for many reasons: sickness, injury, vacation, work, sickness of family members, tiredness, going to the lake, overslept, being offended, and many more. In fact, even teachers today tend to miss more Sundays than ever before.

So, one thing attendance records can do is to help us keep track of what is going on in the lives of class members. When there is a reduction in frequency of attendance, we should always ask "why." We should always express love and active concern. Even when an individual misses one Sunday, Sunday School attendance records should alert us to make a call or visit. Care group leaders should mobilize immediately rather than when absence has been repeated.

Attendance records also enable us to see patterns:  the child whose parents are divorced who attends every other week; the man whose shift changes once a month; the doctor who is on call once a month; the young adult whose commitment is divided between parents, fun, and church; and so on. This may enable us to be sensitive to ministry opportunities or the need for encouragement. They may alert us to changes that may be positive or negative--and in either case we can express that we have notices and care enough to ask.

An increase in attendance may help us to pick up on what's going on in an individual's life in another way. Maybe he is seeking Jesus as Savior. Perhaps she is really growing. Could be that his child is begging to come back. Maybe her child now has a best friend in her class. Perhaps new friendships have been formed. Maybe he got to know a couple of people at the last fellowship. Maybe she is now dating a member. An increase may be a reason to ask questions and express affirmation. It may be an indication of the need to involve the member in the class in a new way.

Keeping up with attendance records also helps the church, Sunday School director, and pastor to make decisions about future needs of the Sunday School. Is another class needed for third graders? Is another teacher needed for teens? Is another classroom needed for young adults? Is more money needed for additional classes to have literature? Are more chairs needed? Will we need to add additional parking? Decline in an age group could help leadership realize the need to focus more prayer and attention on that age group. Increase in an age group may mean the need to start new classes to care for the increase.

These are but a few of the many reasons to enlist an individual to keep up with class attendance, including guests. What are other advantages to keeping up with Sunday School attendance? Why else would you encourage a class to take roll? Press the comments button below and share your ideas. Care for the sheep that God has entrusted to you. Keep up with them. Minister to them. Follow up when they are absent. Make a difference in their lives. Be revolutionary!

For more information about the job and benefits of a class secretary, check out Helping to Keep up with the Jones: The Job of the Class Secretary.

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