Initial Reflections on Sunday School Survey Results, Part 3

Thursday 3rd February, 2011

In Part 1, I began a series sharing results from a survey of Kentucky Baptist Sunday Schools. The Kentucky surveys were mailed to churches whose Sunday School attendance had increased or decreased by more than 10% from the statistical years of 2003 to 2008. I did not mail to those in the middle (which would be considered plateaued). Of the 357 surveys returned, they included 122 growing, 197 declining, and 38 nonKentucky Sunday Schools.

In Part 1, I shared survey results about reported differences between growing and declining churches related to changed growth status, apprenticing new leaders for new classes, inviting people for a high attendance, and (4) budgeting money for Sunday School plans. In Part 2, I shared results about prospect lists, planning meetings, parking, salvation, starting on-time. In Part 3, I will share about chair arrangement, age-grading, classroom space, worship guest registration, unused classrooms, and training expectations. What can you learn about your ministry?

CHAIR ARRANGEMENT. Statement: Most classrooms in my Sunday School have chairs arranged...  Comment: Classes in growing Sunday Schools are more likely to meet around tables.

Question 25 Growing Declining NonKY
Around tables 64.8% 53.8% 21.1%
In a circle or semicircle 18.0% 25.4% 42.1%
In rows 8.2% 11.7% 0.0%
Other 8.2% 6.6% 36.8%

AGE-GRADING. Statement: Classes in my Sunday School are...  Comment: Classes in declining Sunday Schools are less likely to be age-graded.

Question 28 Growing Declining NonKY
Only loosely age-graded 15.6% 30.5% 23.7%
Only younger classes are age-graded 24.6% 28.9% 15.8%
Largely age-graded 46.7% 29.9% 55.3%
Organized by method besides age-grading 8.2% 7.1% 5.3%

CLASSROOM SPACE. Statement: When I think of space in my current Sunday School classes, most classrooms are...  Comment: Growing Sunday Schools have fewer mostly empty classrooms.

Question 29 Growing Declining NonKY
Mostly empty 5.7% 23.4% 7.9%
About half full 60.7% 47.2% 36.8%
Mostly full 27.0% 26.4% 55.3%
Full 2.5% 1.0% 0.0%

WORSHIP GUEST REGISTRATION. Statement: 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. Comment: Churches with declining Sunday Schools are less likely to share worship guest registration with classes.

Question 30 Growing Declining NonKY
Never 30.3% 36.5% 18.4%
Sometimes 34.4% 31.5% 34.2%
Usually 22.1% 18.2% 26.3%
Always 9.8% 10.2% 21.1%

UNUSED CLASSROOMS. Statement: In my church, there is this amount of available (unused) Sunday School classroom space:  Comment: Growing Sunday Schools tend to have fewer available classrooms.

Question 31 Growing Declining NonKY
No unused rooms 33.6% 21.3% 13.2%
1 or 2 unused rooms 49.2% 51.8% 50.0%
Several unused rooms 13.1% 22.8% 36.8%

TRAINING EXPECTATIONS. Statement: How do you express your expectation for Sunday School teachers/workers to participate in training? Comment: Growing Sunday Schools are more likely to provide training and encourage participation in training.

Question 33 Growing Declining NonKY
Require participation in training annually 1.6% 1.5% 7.9%
Strongly encourage participation 21.3% 16.2% 55.3%
Encourage participation but keep no records 31.1% 32.5% 23.7%
We do not provide training 41.0% 45.7% 10.5%

In Part 4 of this series, I will share survey results about setting goals, making contacts, visitation, teachers arriving early, starting new classes, and tenure of survey responder. Go back to Part 1 and Part 2 to review those results. What can you learn from the data so far to lead your Sunday School to prepare for growth? Honestly, ignoring any of these issues will lead to missing some growth opportunity. Pray. Evaluate. Identify needs and priorities. Set goals and make plans to grow. Be revolutionary!

For more ideas about chair arrangement, age-grading, classroom space, worship guest registration, unused classrooms, and training expectations, check out these blog posts:

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