Three Simple Strategies to Increase Sunday School Attendance, Part 3

Thursday 4th March, 2010

In Three Simple Actions to Increase Sunday School attendance, I shared this picture and question: Picture your home, whether a house, condo, or apartment. Let's assume you set a goal of getting ten people crammed into your living room. What do you need to do in order to achieve your goal? While there are many strategies, let me boil the possibilities down to three actions:

  • get nine people besides yourself in the front door,
  • make sure they don't go out the door,
  • and make sure you get them all at the same time into the living room.
Those simple actions can be translated into the context of the Sunday School to help us increase Sunday School attendance. In Part 1 of this series, I shared Front Door strategies. In Part 2, I shared Back Door strategies. In Part 3, I will share Living Room strategies

LIVING ROOM. While the Front Door is focused on connecting to prospects and guests and the Back Door is focused on preventing dropouts, the Living Room is focused on regular attendance. As was stated in Three Simple Actions to Increase Sunday School:

Disciples grow better when they consistently are part of a group. Irregular attendance results in irregular or poor growth as disciples. It produces weak leaders. It reduces relationships and service opportunities.

What are some Living Room strategies for Sunday School classes which can improve the regularity of members? I shared a good beginning list in Irregularity: Addressing Every-Other-Week Class Attenders:

  • follow up every time persons are absent;
  • when they miss, express your genuine care and let them know they were missed;
  • ask key class members to invest in relationships with some whose attendance patterns are beginning to change;
  • use care groups to make weekly contact with members and prospects--can lead to some additional relationships over time;
  • contact, pray together, and remind them of the next class fellowship;
  • plan regular class fellowships and make sure absentees get written and phone invitations/reminders;
  • plan outreach and ministry projects where participants can get to know one another differently than they would in social times;
  • give every member a class responsibility--this will often increase faithfulness;
  • develop prayer partners who pray together before class begins and between classes;
  • communicate how upcoming lessons will help them to live out their Christian lives in the world;
  • explain the benefits of regular attendance for themselves and their children;
  • have an attendance and/or contact competition with another class during a quarter;
  • use icebreakers to help class members get to know one another in fresh ways (can lead to affinity discovery); and
  • divide the group during the Bible study into small groups (3-6 persons) for discussion.
In addition to that list, let me add five more Living Room strategies:
  • set high expectations for attendance--explain why it is important;
  • lead members to agree on/sign a class involvement covenant challenging members to have daily devotions, read lessons weekly, and be present;
  • encourage them to bring their friends;
  • give individuals assignments related to the lesson; and
  • make sure to use fun, participatory teaching-learning activities to involve everyone in every lesson.
What would you add to this list? Press C omments below and leave your thoughts. Give focus to these three actions in your Sunday School and watch your attendance increase. As you are faithful at caring for God's sheep, He will entrust you with more. Where do you need to start? Just don't forget that all three of these actions are needed for your Sunday School to reach its potential. Be revolutionary!

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

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