Over the next five weeks, I will be writing a book about Sunday School. During that period, I will be sharing favorite blog posts--those which have received the most hits (pageviews). Here is the number twenty-two favorite!
How would you like to increase your Sunday School attendance? There are several methods to do so. One is working to invite and enroll new people. As enrollment increases, so will average attendance. A second method is to have a high attendance Sunday. An increase of 52 people above the normal average attendance will increase your yearly average attendance by one person.
A third method can be even more effective than a high attendance Sunday. It can be called a Sunday School contest. Now, contests can take place between the Sunday Schools of two or more churches. Obviously, all participating churches win because the results benefit them all.
Another possibility would be to divide the age groups of Sunday School into two halves to compete against each other. For instance, half of the adult classes could be joined with half of the preschool, children, and youth classes. Or if there were 8 classes in the Sunday School, four similar sized classes could compete against four similar sized classes. Usually a contest would run for more than one week. A common length would be a month (4-5 weeks), but other lengths are possible. A contest for a quarter (12-13 weeks) is probably too long in order to maintain excitement and participation.
There are many ways to conduct the contest. John Fields, pastor at First Baptist Church in Bronson, Michigan, has written a web article entitled, Sunday School Contest. In the article, he lists the following points for a contest conducted at his church:
- One point for each person attending Sunday School each Sunday
- One point for the count of each person over the average attendance from the preceding month
- Five points for each verse recited
- One point extra for the attendance of each member of the Men/Ladies/Couples/Children’s groups on the designated Sundays
- One point awarded for the number over enrollment and fifty points for the church that most fulfilled or topped its enrollment (both sets of points awarded on Enrollment Sunday)
Another possible way to conduct the contest this time of year could be to give points similar to a basketball game. After all, we are all getting ready for March Madness. The following is one of many possibilities:
- Free throw (one point) for each person attending Sunday School each Sunday
- Free throw (one point) for each person over the average attendance from the previous month
- Free throw (one point) for each contact (card, letter, phone call, or visit) reported each Sunday
- Field goal (two points) for each guest in attendance each Sunday
- Four point play (three-pointer and a free throw) for each new person enrolled
In general, I recommend spring or fall as times of year to conduct a Sunday School contest. In the spring, I would recommend avoiding contest dates that include spring break when some families may be vacationing. I have also seen increased excitement, participation, and attendance in the summer resulting from a Sunday School contest. Even if it is too late for March Madness this year, consider adding a cont est to your plans for the coming year!
For more ideas about high attendance emphases, check out these blog posts: