Initial Reflections on Sunday School Survey Results, Part 4

Friday 4th February, 2011

In this series, I have been sharing results from a survey of Kentucky Baptist Sunday Schools mailed to churches whose Sunday School attendance had increased or decreased by more than 10% during the statistical years of 2003 to 2008. I did not survey those in the middle (which would be considered plateaued). Some nonKentucky churches received the survey by email. 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 shared results about chair arrangement, age-grading, classroom space, worship guest registration, unused classrooms, and training expectations. In Part 4, I will share results about setting goals, making contacts, visitation, teachers arriving early, starting new classes, and tenure of survey responder. What can you learn about your ministry from this information?

SETTING GOALS. Statement: We use class and total Sunday School records to asses progress toward goals and to make adjustments where needed. Comment: Growing Sunday Schools are slightly more likely to set goals and use records to assess progress and make adjustments.

Question 35 Growing Declining NonKY
Never
28.7%
34.5%
25.8%
Sometimes
39.3%
33.5%
31.6%
Usually
21.3%
21.3%
36.8%
Always
7.4%
7.6%
15.8%

MAKING CONTACTS. Statement: Sunday School attenders are regularly contacted by phone, card/letter, email, or visit. Comment: Declining Sunday Schools are less likely to make regular contacts with attenders.

Question 37 Growing Declining NonKY
Never
7.4%
15.2%
0.0%
Occasionally
69.7%
61.4%
44.7%
Quarterly or Monthly
8.2%
8.1%
31.6%
Weekly or every other week
11.5%
12.7%
23.7%

VISITATION. Statement: My church schedules visitation (a regular time for contacting and visiting members and prospects). Comment: Growing Sunday Schools tend to have more frequent visitation than declining Sunday Schools.

Question 38 Growing Declining NonKY
Never
23.8%
24.9%
26.3%
Special events only
33.6%
35.5%
21.1%
Monthly or quarterly
14.8%
14.7%
7.9%
Weekly or every other week
26.2%
19.8%
44.7%

TEACHER ARRIVAL. Statement: Teachers in my Sunday School arrive early to pray, prepare the room, and greet attenders. Comment: Teachers in growing Sunday Schools tend to arrive early to pray, prepare, and greet.

Question 39 Growing Declining NonKY
Not true of any classes
21.3%
27.4%
5.3%
True of some classes
50.0%
48.2%
57.9%
True of most classes
20.5%
17.3%
31.6%
True of all classes
6.6%
2.0%
2.6%

STARTING NEW CLASSES. Statement: The last time I remember a new class (for preschool, children, youth, or adults) being started in my Sunday School was... Comment: New classes tend to have been started more recently in growing Sunday Schools.

Question 41 Growing Declining NonKY
Never
6.6%
4.1%
0.0%
Long time ago
8.2%
19.3%
13.2%
2-5 years ago
37.7%
34.0%
18.4%
In the last year
45.9%
39.1%
68.4%

TENURE OF SURVEY RESPONDER. Statement: How long have you served as pastor, Sunday School director, or education staff in this church? Comment: The person completing the survey has tended to serve longer in the growing Sunday Schools.

Question 47 Growing Declining NonKY
A year or less
9.0%
12.2%
18.4%
2-5 years
49.2%
35.5%
28.9%
6-10 years
15.6%
20.3%
28.9%
More than 10 years
21.3%
25.4%
23.7%

In Part 5 of this series, I will share survey results about church location, attendance percentage of enrollment, attendance total number of classes, time scheduled for Sunday School, and Bible study classes away from church. Go back to Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 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 setting goals, making contacts, visitation, arriving early, and starting new classes, check out these blog posts:

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