Foundational Pillars of a Sunday School that Grows, Part 2

Tuesday 12th October, 2010

In Part 1, I mentioned that nearly four years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled Sunday School Growth Spiral. In that post, I shared elements from Andy Anderson's book, The Growth Spiral. In this series as a refresher, I want to review the elements of Andy's Growth Spiral system: spiral goals, enrollment, prospects, teaching units, workers, workers meeting attendance, training, space, contacts, outreachers, Sunday School attendance, worship attendance, offerings, and baptisms. In Part 1, I reviewed spiral goals. In Part 2, I will look at enrollment.

As a reminder, Andy referred to enrollment and prospects as quantity goals. Increasing enrollment and prospects impacts all the other goals. Adding a person to a class enrollment list is adding the name of a person who has given you permission to contact, care for, pray for, fellowship with, and minister to him or her. And if you care for the individual in these ways, he/she will be more likely to attend Sunday School as well.

Since 40-60% of those we enroll in Sunday School will attend, that should be an incentive to enroll more people and follow up that enrollment with care. You may be wondering why the percentage of attendance ranges so widely. There are several reasons including church size and amount of care. Smaller churches tend to have a higher percentage of persons in Sunday School while larger churches tend to have a smaller percentage. This is impacted by the amount of people enrolled in these churches. Smaller churches tend to have smaller classes while larger churches tend to have larger classes. (So it may behoove the larger church to work to have more smaller classes in order to increase care and attendance.)

Care is also a significant factor impacting the percentage of attendance. When a church's percentage is lower, that is often a sign that more care, contacts, prayer, and fellowship efforts are needed. People can become disconnected and irregular in attendance. On the other hand, when the percentage is higher, that is often a sign that more effort needs to be expended inviting and enrolling prospects. Apparently the care being doing is working, so why not add more people to your classes to care for?

One caution needs to be clearly stated. No class should set as its goal having a high percentage of enrollment present every Sunday. Rather than that, the class should focus on having a high amount of care for every person on the list. In that way, your class will likely have the best attendance possible. Focusing on percentage of enrollment tends to lead classes to desire to drop people when they begin to attend irregularly rather than to increase their care and ministry to the individual. There are only three acceptable reasons for dropping someone from the enrollment: death, joining Sunday School in another church, or moving out the ministry reach of the church.

In Sunday School Growth Spiral, I stated, "Set a God-sized enrollment goal. What if your goal was an increase of 40. That would be 10 per quarter.  If you had 10 classes, that would be a goal for each class to increase by 1 person in enrollment per quarter." Challenge your classes to think of friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors who are not enrolled in a Sunday School class anywhere. Ask for permission to enroll them (to add them to your prayer-fellowship-ministry list.) They don't even have to attend to be enrolled. When they agree, they are giving you permission to contact, care, pray, minister, and invite them to fellowships and class projects.

Prayerfully set goals for enrollment and take steps to increase your care. What if you enrolled 40 and had 20 more in attendance in twelve month? What if some were lost and accepted Jesus? What if some become church leaders? Pray. Evaluate. Set goals. Invite. Enroll. Care. Watch what God does through you. Be revolutionary!

While Andy's book is out of print, you can still find them for sale online. The book is worth adding to your Sunday School library for all the practical ideas that run throughout the book! For more ideas about enrollment, check out these blog posts:

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