Foundational Pillars of a Sunday School that Grows, Part 12

Wednesday 27th October, 2010

In Part 12, I will take a look at the second of four growth projection goals, worship attendance. Over the last several blog posts, I have expanded on a post I wrote four years ago entitled Sunday School Growth Spiral. There I shared growth goals from Andy Anderson's book, The Growth Spiral. In his book, Andy referred to Sunday School attendance, worship attendance, offerings, and baptisms as projection goals.

In general, projection goals happen naturally as a result of pursuit of quantity goals (enrollment, prospects); quality goals (teaching units, workers, workers meeting attendance, training); and outreach/ministry goals (space, contacts, and outreachers). For instance, when we pursue all these other goals, Sunday School attendance will increase (and worship attendance as well).

Many believe growing in worship leads to growth in Sunday School attendance, and there is some overflow--especially if you really work at it. But in a bigger way, when Sunday School leaders work at these other goals resulting in Sunday School attendance increase, you can guarantee a corresponding increase in worship attendance.

Let's consider this scenario. Resurrection Baptist Church last year set a goal of increasing Sunday School enrollment by 40 people. In order to do so, they worked hard to put together class prospect lists for their 6 classes that had names and contact information for prospects equal to or exceeding class enrollment. Sunday School had an enrollment of 100 at the start of the year. They set a goal and successfully enlisted teaching/leading teams for the start of two new classes at the beginning of the year. Fortunately, the Sunday School had six available spaces in which to house these two classes.

Teachers and workers met monthly to pray, evaluate, plan, communicate, and plan care. They also conducted four different training events, including an age group event, individual study, etc. At the beginning of the year, they planned a method (a simple form) to ask members to report their contacts, and they began challenging classes to make and report contacts (with members and prospects) equal to or exceeding class enrollment numbers. And during the year, contacts increased steadily until near the goal.

In addition, each of the classes set up a rotation of adults and youth who would make visits representing each class each week--meaning that some outreachers only had to visit once a month. As a result Sunday School attendance toward the end of the year was averaging 124, or about 60% of enrollment. The percentage of Sunday School attendance as compared to enrollment at the beginning of the year was 60% and stayed consistent with the addition of 40 newly enrolled members.

Now, take out your calculator. Divide your current Sunday School average attendance by your average worship attendance. Multiply that number by 100 to get the percentage that your Sunday School attendance is of your worship attendance. At the beginning of the year at Resurrection Baptist Church, average Sunday School attendance was 100 and worship attendance was 143--which means that Sunday School attendance was about 70% of worship attendance. Now, at the end of twelve months, Sunday School attendance has grown to 124 while worship is averaging 177 (still about 70%).

So if you are successful in achieving your quantity, quality, and outreach/ministry goals, you can almost guarantee that there will be a corresponding increase in worship as well. In most cases, worship will cont inue to be a similar percentage compared to Sunday School attendance. If it is currently 70%, then you will likely have a similar percentage after reaching more people.

Pray. Set goals. Invite. Enroll. Establish and use prospect lists. Launch new teachers, workers, and units. Meet regularly through the year to evaluate and plan. Train. Anticipate and provide for space needs. Lead in making and reporting contacts. Send out outreachers. Meet needs. Build relationships. Watch as Sunday School worship attendance grows. Be revolutionary!

While The Growth Spiral, is out of print, you can still find used copies for sale online. The book is worth adding to your Sunday School library for all the practical ideas that run throughout the book! To check out previous posts in this series and read more about Sunday School goals, check out these blog posts:

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