Increasing Sunday School Class Attendance, Part 1

Monday 18th December, 2006

On September 4, I posted an entry entitled, Top Ten Actions to Increase Sunday School Attendance. In today's entry and the next two, I want to take those ten actions and give more details, suggestions, and illustrations. Let's look at how prayer, starting new classes, making more contacts, and inviting members and guests to monthly fellowships can lead to increased attendance:

  • PRAYER. When your class prays for your class, members, and prospects, they recognize God's leadership and power and their own responsibility in response. Ask them to pray specificially for increasing class attendance. This leads to a sense of expectancy. Pray for a God-sized goal, but challenge them to work toward the goal in bite-sized portions. For example, if your goal was to increase 12 in attendance this year (a God-sized goal for many classes), then the goal each month would be an increase of just 1 person (makes it bite-sized). Pray every month that God will lead your class to invite prospects to attend and enroll.
  • STARTING A NEW CLASS. If your class planned to start a new class in a few months, they would have a purpose for existing, for learning, for training, for apprenticing, and even for inviting. If you were starting a class for younger or older adults than attend your class, you could go ahead and invite prospects to attend and join your class in preparation for the new class. Why wait until you launch the new class? (Also, since new classes tend to attract more prospects and grow more quickly than existing classes, your efforts to start a new class will likely increase combined Sunday School attendance.)
  • MAKING MORE CONTACTS. In my September 4 entry, I mentioned that an increase of 7-10 contacts above your usual number will result in 1 additional person in attendance. I have seen this truth illustrated multiple times over the years. For high attendance Sundays, those classes that made more contacts were the ones with more persons in attendance. If you want to increase your attendance by 1 each month, you need to increase your weekly contacts reported by 7-10 each month. At the end of the year, you would have increased your class contacts by 84-120 per week, but you should see the results in an attendance increase of 12 or more.
  • INVITING MEMBERS AND GUESTS TO MONTHLY FELLOWSHIPS. Just having a fellowship does not necessarily mean your attendance will increase the next Sunday. But if you invite members, absentees, and guests each month, and then remind them at the fellowship that you hope to see them in class the next day, your efforts should lead to greater assimilation of members and guests. Absentees can be reclaimed. Some members will stay regular in attendance that may have dropped out. And some guests will develop friendships and desire to be with their friends on Sunday. Set a goal for the number of guests you want to invite each month to your fellowships.

In Part 2, we will examine the impact of enlisting a class leadership team, setting enrollment and attendance goals, and organizing to reach out and meet needs leads to increased attendance. In Part 3, we will look at how seeking more participation in the lesson, teaching members to share their Sunday School testimony, and starting new Bible study groups away from church can lead to increased attendance.

For additional information, check out these three blog entries (Increasing Sunday School Class Attendance, Parts 2-3):

In the meantime, not all of the sheep we are to care for are already in the sheep pen (John 10:16). So, begin today to pray, make plans to start a new class, make more contacts, and invite to monthly fellowships. Don't settle for yesterday's results. Be revolutionary!

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