Further Reflections on Sunday School Survey Results

Monday 14th February, 2011

In my initial post of this series, Initial Reflections on Sunday School Survey Results, Part 1, I acknowledged that determining whether these Sunday Schools were growing or not was complicated by the fact that "much can happen in two years (end of statistics chosen) that can change whether Sunday School is growing or declining: a new pastor, goals, conflict, new classes, and more." So that may have led to some mixing of responses.

But to off-set that fact, I also asked a question about attendance change. From Part 1, here is the table of Question 49 responses/percentages to the survey statement, "My average Sunday School attendance is..."

Question 49
Less than last year 17/13.9% 40/20.3% 8/21.1%
Same as last year 43/35.2% 72/36.5% 10/26.3%
Little more than last year 46/37.7% 65/33.0% 17/44.7%
Lot more than last year 12/9.8% 7/3.6% 3/7.9%

Using this data I have divided the Sunday Schools into two groups by their responses: (1) Less than last year and (2) Little more than last year and Lot more than last year. Then I have taken a look at the data using analysis of variance (ANOVA) to see which responses showed up as statistically significant. There were many common responses with those reported in the series which were summarized in Initial Reflections on Sunday School Survey Results, Part 7.

In order to make comparison easier, I will share the statement (and responses) preceded by NEW (if it was not previously reflected); by BOTH (if it was previously included); and PREVIOUS (if it was previously reflected but not included here). Many of the statements are reflected in the series. Here are the statements:

  • NEW. My Sunday School works hard to apprentice and train new teachers and workers so new classes can be started. (Not true, Somewhat true, Definitely true)
  • NEW. When a guest attends my Sunday School, they are invited to join... (Never, Only when a guest expresses interest, On the first or second visit, After many visits)
  • NEW. Sunday School teachers and workers are involved in an annual goal-setting, evaluation, and planning meeting each Sunday School year. (Never, Occasionally, Nearly every year)
  • PREVIOUS. Are name tags used in your Sunday School? (No; Yes, in younger classes; Yes in some classes; Yes, in most classes; Yes, in all classes)
  • NEW. Most of the classes in my Sunday School plan fellowship activities... (Never, Occasionally, Quarterly, Monthly or every few weeks)
  • NEW. Job descriptions are used when teachers and workers are enlisted and to communicate expectations. (Have no job descriptions; Yes, use job descriptions during enlistment; Yes, use job descriptions to communication expectations; Yes, to both)
  • PREVIOUS. Most Sundays, the church parking lot and available street parking during Sunday School is... (Almost empty; Half full; Almost full; Full )
  • PREVIOUS. Compared to the official starting time, most classes in my Sunday School tend to start the first class activity (announcements, prayer, teaching, etc.). (On-time; Late; Early)
  • NEW. From the pulpit, my pastor invites people to Sunday School... (Can't remember when, Occasionally, Quarterly, Monthly)
  • NEW. When a Sunday School teachers/worker takes a break, new classes are started, or enlistment time comes, we... (Struggle to fill positions in younger age groups, Struggle to fill positions in nearly every age group, Enlist some God-called teachers and workers every year a few "warm bodies," Prayerfully and personally enlist all the God-called teachers and workers which are needed every year)
  • PREVIOUS. Classes in my Sunday School are... (Only loosely age-graded; Only younger classes are age-graded; Largely age-graded; Organized by method beside age-grading)
  • PREVIOUS. When I think of space in my current Sunday School classes, most classrooms are... (Mostly empty; About half full; Mostly full; Full)
  • NEW. When a guest attends worship, his/her guest registration information is shared with the age-appropriate Sunday School class who is expected to contact the guest within a few days.
  • BOTH. In my church, there is this amount of available (unused) Sunday School classroom space: (No unused rooms; 1 or 2 unused rooms; Several unused rooms)
  • NEW. How do you express your expectation for Sunday School teachers/workers to participate in training? (Require participation in training annually, Strongly encourage participation, Encourage participation but keep no records, We do not provide training)
  • NEW. My Sunday School keeps good records of guests and prospects AND expects classes to contact them regularly. (No, Yes to records, Yes to expectations, Yes to both)
  • NEW. We use class and total Sunday School records to assess progress toward goals and to make adjustments where needed. (Never, Sometimes, Usually, Always)
  • NEW. Classes in my Sunday School lead attenders to get involved in ministry/service/mission projects. (Never, Occasionally, Quarterly, Monthly)
  • PREVIOUS. Teachers in my Sunday School arrive early to pray, prepare the room, and greet attenders. (Not true in any classes; True of some classes; True of most classes; True of all classes)
  • NEW. My church sets aside time to pray for Sunday School, teachers, workers, new classes, and other Sunday School needs. (Never, Occasionally, Quarterly, Monthly or more often)
  • NEW. My weekly Sunday School average attendance is... (0-50, 51-100, 101-200, 201-400, 401-800, 901+)
  • NEW. When I divide my average Sunday School attendance by my current Sunday School enrollment, the result is... (Less then 40%, 40-49%, 50-54%, 55-59%, 60-69%, More than 69%)
  • PREVIOUS. The total number  of classes (preschool, children, youth, and adult) in my Sunday School is... (Less than last year; Same as last year; A little more than last year; A lot more than last year)
  • NEW. If I divide my average Sunday School attendance by 10, the result is... (Same as classes in my Sunday School, More than classes in my Sunday School, Less than classes in my Sunday School)
  • NEW. Time scheduled for Sunday School is... (45 minutes, One hour, More than one hour)
  • BOTH. My church offers Bible study classes away from the church AND/OR at another time than Sunday morning: (None; 0-5 groups; 6-10 groups; More than 10 groups)
I am still processing why the results appear to vary so much between the two perspectives of the survey, but it could be as simple as the explanation offered in the first two paragraphs. All of that aside, look through the list of bulleted statements. How would your Sunday School respond to these significant factors?

Over the next few weeks, I will be writing blog posts in response to each of these statements. Pray. Assess. Envision. Prioritize. Set goals. Make plans. Lead boldly. Adjust were needed. Grow the Sunday School. Reach. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!

For more ideas about goals, check out these blog posts:

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