Evaluate and Plan to Take Your Sunday School to the Next Level

Sunday 5th October, 2008

I worked with a great church this weekend. The pastor cares for the people. He believes in Sunday School. I had the privilege to evaluate and plan with most of their Sunday School teachers and leaders. They were honest, open, and full of questions. I don't believe I heard any phrases like, "We've never done it that way" or "That won't work here."

We talked about some basic Sunday School assimilation practices: class greeters, name tags, arriving early, care groups, open classes, participatory teaching methods, open arrangement, comfortable space, welcome center/signs, good records, open enrollment, and high expectations. They evaluated themselves honestly. We talked about some basic measures and goal areas for Sunday School growth: enrollment, attendance, ministry contacts, workers/classes, and prospects.

They set goals for the next six months. Their vision, their hopes, and their confidence in God and His mission for them were high. In fact, in a Sunday School averaging 93, their goal for attendance increase in six months was 70 more for a total of 163. Wow! They currently have 77 parking spaces. Today at one point they had 62 cars (which is 80% of capacity). Since they are averaging 2.2 persons per car, that means they would need 32 parking spaces to accommodate the additional 70 people they want to reach in six months. They had 15 free today, but they will need to do something creative to make 17+ more available during that period or their growth will slow or stop.

Their class for ages 3-5 is currently at 80% of capacity (which is considered full). If they want to continue to grow, they will need to move the class into a larger space (swap with another class) or start another class for the age group (perhaps one for boys and one for girls, or one for threes and the other for fours and fives). A sanctuary or pastor's class could be started.

The church currently has two unused classrooms. But they could add a fourth class to the three that already meet in the fellowship hall. Also, since their schedule includes worship before and after Sunday School, they could start one or three classes in the sanctuary--perhaps by beginning a pastor's class (don't start two in an open space because they will compete for sound, but three or more will create a low roar/background noise like some restaurants).

There are currently no new teachers waiting in the wings. Each teacher needs to begin now to identify, pray for, and train apprentices in small doses. These apprentices would be shown how to be an effective teachers, encouraged to study/train, and be given opportunities to practice all phases of teacher duties--from teaching, to reaching, to caring, to fellowship planning, and more.

In order to be effective  in caring for the people they want to reach, invite, minister to, pray for, and enroll in Sunday School, they need to put additional people to the task. Class greeters and care group leaders need to be enlisted. The more people they have with jobs that are important to the success of the Sunday School, the more people they will have who will stay connected. Drop outs will decrease. Attendance will increase.

What do you need to do to take your Sunday School to the next level? What goals do you need to set? What barriers are making progress difficult? What can you do to plow around the stumps? What classes need to be started? What classes can be moved into space that will allow them to grow? What future plans require action now in order to be prepared for them then? What are you doing to identify, enlist, and train apprentices and new leaders?

Where does God want you to be in six months? in a year? What must you do to get there? Pray. Evaluate. Dream. Identify priorities. Set goals. Make action plans. A ssign the plans to res ponsible people with deadl ines. Do it. Start the cycle all over again. Be revolutionary.

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