Measures of Balanced Sunday School Progress

Monday 10th September, 2007

The Sunday School Growth Evaluation Plan was originally developed by LifeWay to encourage balanced Sunday School growth. This one has been updated by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. I encourage you to print out the document at the link above and plug in your Sunday School numbers to see how have done over the last year and to plan healthy growth in the year ahead.

Here are the categories in all capitals followed by my commentary:

  • ENROLLMENT. Did you realize a net gain in enrollment? Sunday School enrollment and attendance are considered plateaued if there is less than 2% gain or loss each year. Thus, it takes 2% or more gain for the year to be considered growth. The bigger question, is what does God want you to do? What is your God-sized goal?
  • UNITS. To be in a growing posture, you should work to have an average of one class for every 18 persons or fewer. Each of your adult classes should be apprenticing new leaders and starting new classes every year or two. Without new units (wineskins), it will be difficult to hold onto the new enrollees (new wine).
  • MINISTRY TOUCHES. Sunday School needs to be praying, contacting, and caring for one another. The goal is caring contacts for everyone enrolled every week. A good care group plan will get this done. Contacts can be made by call, card/letter, e-mail, or in person. Make sure you discover and meet needs!
  • ATTENDANCE. To be in a healthy position, your Sunday School attendance should be between 40% and 60% of your enrollment. If your percentage is higher than 60%, you may not be working hard enough to enroll new people or you may be dropping people from your roll for reasons other than (1) they died, (2) they moved out of the ministry reach of the church, or (3) they joined another church. If your percentage is lower than 40%, you may not be contacting and caring adequately for your members.
  • SPACE. Do you have enough space for new classes that need to be started this year? What are your options for when you run out of current space? Could you rearrange classes by size of space and attendance? Could you use spaces used for other purposes? Could you use large space (like fellowship hall or sanctuary) for multiple (3 or more) classes? Could you secure nearby space? Could you use your space twice (before and after worship)?
  • LEADERS. According to the article I referenced above, leaders include "pastors, staff members, Sunday School director, outreach directors, department directors, teachers, class leaders, class secretary, etc. In order to be in a growing posture, your goal is to have an average of one leader for every 5 persons enrolled. If the ratio is higher (like 1 leader for every 6 persons enrolled), you will be less likely to grow. This works!
  • TRAINING. Every worker should be involved in training every year.
  • LEADERSHIP MEETINGS. You want to involve at least 75% of your workers every time you meet together (whether it is weekly or monthly). Anything less, and it is difficult to be effective in your evaluation and planning.
  • DISCIPLESHIP. The article suggests a goal of 50% of average Sunday School attendance in attendance in discipleship. I believe our goal should be 100% involved in discipleship at some point during the year and perhaps 50% on an ongoing basis.
  • WORSHIP ATTENDANCE . Ideally, you want to keep your Sunday School attendance as close to worship attendance as possible. If worship attendance is more than 10% above Sunday School attendance, the Sunday School is not doing a good job of following up, inviting, and enr olling w orship guests.
  • OFFERINGS. Divide your church's weekly offering by your average Sunday School attendance to determine your per capita offering. As you project your attendance increase, you should also be able to project your offering increase based upon per capita giving. This can help you as you budget for a growing Sunday School.
  • PROSPECTS. Again, to be in a growing posture, you should work to put together an active prospect list that equals your Sunday School enrollment (if you have 100 enrolled, you should have 100 prospects). These are persons about whom you have at least this information: name, address, age group, and spiritual condition/church involvement.
  • OUTREACH. In order to be in a growing posture, every adult and youth class should have a team of 2-3 people who makes visits weekly. Every couple of preschool and children's classes should have a team making visits weekly.
  • BAPTISMS. When people needing Jesus attend Sunday School, about one out of three will accept Jesus as Savior and Lord in 12 months. Invite them to attend. Enroll them. Pray for them. Love them. Teach them. Watch as God changes them!

How are you doing? Don't be discouraged if you don't have the whole package together, but remember the goal is to be balanced. If you only complete 1/2 of the above, your growth will not be solid. Take steps to add the structure underneath your progress this year. Be revolutionary!

For more ideas about Sunday School progress, check out these blog posts:

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