Sunday School Practices Survey Results by Growth, Part 1

Sunday 1st February, 2009

Are there differences between growing, plateaued, and declining Sunday Schools? What if those differences could be identified in a survey? What if growing churches were affirmed for those practices and reminded to continue their good work? What if plateaued and declining churches were able to check through those practices to examine areas which if addressed might release the power of Sunday School growth for these churches?

It should be noted that while this online survey had over 200 respondents, only 71 completed the entire survey. The results shared in this series are from complete surveys. My intention is to mail surveys to more than 2,400 Kentucky churches within a month or so. My hope is to have more than 400 surveys returned! Those results would be more random and more dependable. Still, results from the online survey may yield some interesting results!

I will share four or five practices in each of the five parts of this series. In Part 1, I will share five practices: training, visitation, Sunday School greeters, good records, and contacts. In the survey, respondents were asked to identify whether their Sunday School attendance was more than last year, the same as last year, or less than last year. Because of space, these are here referred to as growing, plateaued, and declining.

HOW OFTEN ARE SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER/WORKER TRAINING EVENTS OFFERED?

RESPONSES Growing Plateaued Declining
Can't remember the last time
16.0%
34.6%
25.0%
Every other year
4.0%
0.0%
10.0%
Once each year
32.0%
26.9%
10.0%
More than once each year
48.0%
38.5%
55.0%

INSIGHTS:  Add together the bottom two training frequency responses (once each year and more than once each year), and here are the totals: growing (80%), plateaued (65.4%), and declining (65%). It appears that growing Sunday Schools offer training a little more often. For training ideas, check out these blog posts: Creative Ways to Train Sunday School Teachers, How Often Do You Train Your Sunday School Workers?, Training Sunday School Teachers for Change, Can You List the Values of Sunday School Teacher/Worker Training?, and Responding to Sunday School Teachers Who Don’t Want to Train.

DOES YOUR CHURCH OFFER VISITATION (A REGULAR TIME FOR VISITING MEMBERS AND PROSPECTS)?

RESPONSES Growing Plateaued Declining
Never
24.0%
34.6%
40.0%
Special events
12.0%
26.9%
30.0%
Quarterly
4.0%
3.8%
0.0%
Monthly
4.0%
3.8%
0.0%
Weekly

52.0%

30.8%

30.0%

Every other week

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

INSIGHTS:  Add together the bottom three visitation frequency responses (monthly, weekly, and every other week), and here are the totals : growing (60%), plateaued (34.6%), and declining (30%). It appears that growing Sunday Schools visit members and prospects more often. For visitation ideas, check out these blog posts: Effective Sunday School Visitation and Personal Invitations Are Needed and Still Work!.

MY CHURCH HAS GREETERS BEFORE SUNDAY SCHOOL TO WELCOME AND REGISTER GUESTS AND WALK THEM TO THEIR CLASSROOMS...

RESPONSES Growing Plateaued Declining
No
28.0%
23.1%
30.0%
Yes, do part of job
44.0%
46.2%
40.0%
Yes, do all of job
28.0%
30.8%
30.0%

INSIGHTS:  Numbers do not vary significantly between growing, plateaued, and declining Sunday Schools. Greeters are a good practice for every Sunday School! For ideas about greeters, check out these blog posts: Great First Impressions for Sunday School Guests, Part 1, A Simple Two-Part System for Getting Sunday School Class Ministry Done, Part 1, Ten Sunday School Ideas for Welcoming Guests, Three Easy Steps for Revolutionary Sunday School Change, Revolutionary Sunday School Classes Have Greeters, Sunday School: Guest Follow Up Temperature, and Helping Sunday School Guests FEEL Welcome.

MY SUNDAY SCHOOL KEEPS GOOD RECORDS OF GUESTS AND PROSPECTS AND EXPECTS CLASSES TO CONTACT THEM REGULARLY...

RESPONSES Growing Plateaued Declining
No
20.0%
19.2%
20.0%
Yes, to expectations
8.0%
19.2%
15.0%
Yes, to records
24.0%
11.5%
40.0%
Yes, to both

48.0%

50.0%

25.0%

INSIGHTS:  Numbers do not vary significantly between growing, plateaued, and declining Sunday Schools. Good records are a good practice for every Sunday School! For ideas about using records, check out these blog posts: Use Your Sunday School Records to Reach and Care for More People, Part 2, Use Your Sunday School Records to Reach and Care for More People, Part 1, Advantages of Keeping up with Attendance in Sunday School, and Helping to Keep Up with the Joneses: The Job of the Class Secretary.

SUNDAY SCHOOL MEMBERS ARE REGULARLY CONTACTED BY PHONE, CARD/LETTER, E-MAIL, OR VISIT...

RESPONSES Growing Plateaued Declining
Never
16.0%
23.1%
20.0%
Yearly
4.0%
7.7%
10.0%
Twice yearly
0.0%
3.8%
10.0%
Quarterly
16.0%
23.1%
15.0%
Monthly
24.0%
23.1%
15.0%
Every other week
20.0%
7.7%
20.0%
Weekly
20.0%
11.5%
10.0%

INSIGHTS:  Add together the bottom three visitation frequency responses (weekly, every other week, and monthly), and here are the totals: growing (64%), plateaued (42.3%), and declining (45%). It appears that growing Sunday Schools contact members more often. For i deas about contacting members, check out these blog posts: Sunday School Contacts Make a Difference!, Sunday School Contacts Result in Increased Attendance, Changing Sunday School Measurements , Part 2 , Increasing Sunday School Class Attendance, Part 1, Starting a New Sunday School Year with Momentum, Top Ten Actions to Increase Sunday School Attendance, 5 Goals for Sunday School Growth This Year, Part 1, Grow Your Sunday School: Part 2, Steps for Inviting New People, Sunday School: Guest Follow Up Temperature, and Explosive Sunday School Growth.

Where is your Sunday School? Do you have more, the same, or less in attendance this year? Evaluate your Sunday School. Which of the following practices could use some attention: teacher/worker training, visitation, Sunday School greeters, good records, or contacts? What could you do to strengthen that practice? What's the first step? Who should be responsible? Make sure to check out Part 2 of this series. Train. Visit. Greet. Use records. Make contacts. Be revolutionary!

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