By their own admission, prospects and absentees are more likely to attend on special days, especially Easter and Christmas. Since that is the case, why do so many churches cancel Sunday School around Christmas? Having served for years as a Minister of Education, I know part of the answer. Like class members, many teachers and their substitutes/apprentices travel to spend time with family around holidays. That makes staffing classes difficult. In fact, the closer that Christmas falls to Sunday, the fewer teachers, workers, and members who attend.
That means that some classes (all age groups) will likely have difficulty finding a teacher for that Sunday. And that means that the usual number of classes may not be needed because of the small numbers in attendance. If both of these statements are correct, then what are the options? What can be done in response? Should we promote, trim, or cancel Sunday School?
Let me make three suggestions (though you should know that it is against my nature ever to cancel Sunday School):
- CANCEL CHRISTMAS SUNDAY SCHOOL. Cancel on the challenging Sunday, but move Christmas lessons to the final Sunday before Christmas on which you will have Sunday School. Just because curriculum offers a Christmas lesson on one specific date does not mean you cannot change it to suit your schedule. Communicate this change early with your teachers and classes. Then, promote this change as you invite absentees, prospects, and your community. You might end up with a high attendance!
- TRIM CHRISTMAS SUNDAY SCHOOL. Rather than cancel, why not trim the number of classes in each age group. Talk to your teachers about who will be there that Sunday. You could even survey your attenders. Then, make your best educated guess and trim the number of classes for that Sunday to half, a third, or a quarter of the normal number. In a small church with four or five classes, you might offer two: one for preschoolers/children and one for youth/adults. Communicate this change early with your teachers and classes. Then, promote this change as you invite absentees, prospects, and your community.
- PROMOTE FULL CHRISTMAS SUNDAY SCHOOL. That means you will have to start early talking to your teachers, apprentices, and substitutes. Print some special Christmas Sunday School invitations. Ask every attender who plans to be present on that Sunday to share invitations with friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors. Why not plan for Sunday School and intentionally invite prospects? See Christmas Invitation to Sunday School for some ideas. Encourage attenders to offer a ride and call and remind on Saturday any who agree to attend. Make the lessons special. And make the day special. Remember to celebrate our Lord's birthday in the midst of the day. And remember to invite attenders to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord!
What are your plans for Christmas this year? Do your plans include one of these three options? If so, press Comments below and share which one. Do your plans include another option not listed? If so, share what your plans include. Take advantage of every opportunity to impact lives through Sunday School, especially absentees and prospects. Be revolutionary! Celebrate Jesus' birthday!
For more Christmas ideas for Sunday School, check out the following blog entries: