I have seen lots of benefits from the efforts leading up to high attendance days. I'll never forget my first one at Eastwood in Bowling Green, KY. I had been at the church only a few months. Sunday School leaders and I decided to set high attendance day on Easter Sunday (that is not always a day you will have great attendance, especially when it falls during one of the spring break weekends). We set up a prayer plan, including home prayer meetings. We challenged them to have a fun fellowship time during the week before the day. We planned out a strategy for challenging people to make contacts. We mapped out our communication and publicity plan. We met with Sunday School leaders.
We asked each class to pray and set a God-sized goal for the day. Wow, the goal blew me away. It was about 60% more than we had attending in Sunday School on an average Sunday. The classes did everything we asked them to do during that six-week period. They invited. They prayed. They made contacts with members and absentees. They believed. On high attendance Sunday with God's blessing, we exceeded the goal with an all-time record attendance (about 200 more than had ever attended on one Sunday before). Wow!
As we evaluated the day and our records, we noticed we had made over 2000 contacts above our usual weekly number. Now, I had read in Andy Anderson's Growth Spiral materials that 7-10 contacts above your usual average will result in one additional person in attendance. As I did the math, I found this to be true. We also noticed a significant increase in guests by a factor of about six times the normal number (we were not as prepared to follow up as I would have liked for us to be). In addition, we had class members attend that had not been in class in months. Several were enrolled that day and in the weeks that followed.
So what are some of the benefits you can expect from your efforts of working toward a high attendance Sunday? Consider these revolutionary benefits:
- increased prayer and expectancy of God's blessing and help,
- increased understanding of the need for the whole class to be involved in the work of the Sunday School,
- increased opportunity to teach about the purpose and benefits of Sunday School,
- increased contacts and ministry with members and absentees (re-engages those relationships),
- increased vision for prospects to invite,
- increased excitement from pursuing a common goal together as a class and as a Sunday School,
- increased sharing of testimonies about the benefits of Sunday School with friends and family,
- increased understanding of the value of fellowship and relationships,
- increased ownership of the pursuit of people in their age group,
- increased value of good Sunday School records,
- increased Sunday School attendance and enrollment,
- increased worship attendance (and sometimes offerings),
- increased opportunity for lives to be changed through Bible study, and
- many more benefits.
One of my peers at the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio, offers some suggestions about high attendance days, called High Attedance Days Made Simple. Check it out. I also like Elmer Towns' Friend Day materials. His The Second Friend Day and F.R.A.N.tastic Days materials are available online and are full of many suggestions for building involvement of your Sunday School classes. Steve Mills offers some additional ideas for having a Friend Day. John Thomason shares some Disadvantages of Big Days that might be good reading. Pray. Seek God's leadership. Plan a high attendance Sunday this fall or in the spring. Expect God to do revolutionary things through the experience!
For more ideas about high attendance days, check out these blog posts:
- Reach Up, Reach Out, Reach In High Attendance Sunday Pilot Project
- March Madness Sunday School Contest
- Preparation for High Attendance Day in Sunday School
- Sunday School: Take the Love Dare
- Simple Steps for a Successful Sunday School High Attendance Day
- Summer Sunday School Spectacular
- REACH Sunday School High Attendance Day Reports
- Three Simple Actions to Increase Sunday School Attendance
- Sunday School and the Law of Large Numbers
- Sunday School Contacts Make a Difference!
- Promotional Tools for Sunday School: Don’t Keep It to Yourself!
- Calendaring Sunday School Growth