Sunday School Practices Survey Results by Growth, Part 4

Wednesday 4th February, 2009

In Part 1, I asked if there are differences between growing, plateaued, and declining Sunday Schools? What if those differences could be identified in a survey and growing churches were affirmed for those practices and reminded to continue their good work? What if plateaued and declining churches were able to examine practices which if addressed might release the power of Sunday School growth for these churches?

In Part 1, I began sharing results from an online survey which had over 200 respondents but only 71 completed the entire survey. The results shared in this series are from complete surveys. In Part 1, I shared results about five practices: training, visitation, Sunday School greeters, good records, and contacts. In Part 2, I shared five more practices: new classes, name tags, high attendance day, setting goals, and praying for Sunday School. In Part 3, I shared four practices: pulpit invitations, special event registration, available classrooms, and space in classrooms.

In Part 4, I will share four practices: parking lot space, class ministry projects, class fellowships, and chair arrangement. In the survey, respondents were asked to identify whether their Sunday School attendance was more than last year (growing), the same as last year (plateaued), or less than last year (declining).

MOST SUNDAYS, THE CHURCH PARKING LOT AND AVAILABLE STREET PARKING DURING SUNDAY SCHOOL IS . . .

RESPONSES Growing Plateaued Declining
Almost empty
8.0%
7.7%
0.0%
Half full
28.0%
38.5%
35.0%
Mostly full
52.0%
42.3%
45.0%
Full
12.0%
11.5%
20.0%

INSIGHTS:  If you look at the middle two responses (half full and mostly full), there is not much difference between growing, plateaued, or declining Sunday Schools. Most still have parking space. Some could use parking greeters to maximize what they have. All need to pay attention to parking so that it does not become an inhibitor to growth. For ideas about parking and its importance to a growing Sunday School, check out these blog posts: General Sunday School Space Issues: Welcoming Guests, Planning Questions for Moving to Multiple Sunday Sch ools, Part 2, Balancing the Sunday School Aquarium, Part 2, Four Stumbling Blocks for Sunday School Growth, Part 1, Improve Sunday School by Going Late, Evaluate and Plan to Take Your Sunday School to the Next Level, Is the Size of Your Sunday School POT Keeping You Small, Part 2, and What Does a Revolutionary Sunday School Director Do on Sunday Morning?.

CLASSES IN MY SUNDAY SCHOOL LEAD ATTENDERS TO GET INVOLVED IN MINISTRY/SERVICE/OUTREACH PROJECTS . . .

RESPONSES Growing Plateaued Declining
Never
4.0%
7.7%
25.0%
Yearly
20.0%
15.4%
25.0%
Twice a year
16.0%
23.1%
10.0%
Quarterly
 32.0%
23.1%
15.0%
Monthly
28.0%
 30.8%
25.0%

INSIGHTS:  There is a notable decline in the bottom two response frequencies (monthly and quarterly) as you move from growing (60%) to plateaued (53.9%) to declining (40%) Sunday Schools. Many of these projects are outwardly focused and more involvement may reflect a reason Sunday Schools are more likely to grow. For ideas about involvement in projects, check out these blog posts: Addressing Active Sunday School Learners Through Projects, Sunday School: Guest Follow Up Temperature, Apply God’s Word Through a Sunday School Project This Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Sunday School Class Ministry Projects, Sunday School Carrying out the Purposes of the Church, and Sunday School Fellowship: More Than Food and Fun.

C LASS FELLOWSHIPS ARE PLANNED IN MY SUNDAY SCHOOL . . .

RESPONSES Growing Plateaued Declining
Never
4.0%
3.8%
25.0%
Occasionally
20.0%
34.6%
30.0%
Yearly
0.0%
7.7%
5.0%
Quarterly
28.0%
11.5%
10.0%
Every other month
12.0%
19.2%
15.0%
Monthly
27.0%
19.2%
5.0%
Twice a month
0.0%
3.8%
10.0%

INSIGHTS:  Combine the bottom four frequency responses (twice a month, monthly, every other month, and quarterly), and there is a sizable difference between Sunday Schools: growing (67%), plateaued (53.7%), and declining (40.0%). Again, it appears that more frequent fellowships help to maintain relationships with members while also providing opportunities for guests/prospects to get acquainted with the group. For ideas about creative classroom space options, check out these blog posts: Planning Sunday School Fellowship Activities, Reach and Assimilate People into the Kingdom Through Sunday School Fellowships, Care Groups: Prayer, Ministry, Assimilation, and Invitation, Revolutionary Adult Classes Are S.M.A.R.T., Increasing Sunday School Class Attendance, Part 1, Sunday School/Small Groups: Where Everybody Knows Your Name, Part 1, Ten Values of Monthly Sunday School Fellowships, Ideal Behaviors of an Adult Sunday School Member, Part 1, and Sunday School Class Lunch.

MOST CLASSES IN MY SUNDAY SCHOOL HAVE CHAIRS ARRANGED . . .  

RESPONSES Growing Plateaued Declining
Around tables
44.0%
42.3%
40.0%
In a circle
16.0%
26.9%
20.0%
In a semicircle
16.0%
19.2%
10.0%
In rows
20.0%
2.8%
25.0%
Other
4.0%
7.7%
5.0%

INSIGHTS:  Percentages are not significantly different from growing to declining churches to learn anything here. Some arrangements are simply a reflection of group size versus room size. This will be interesting to examine from a perspective of total Sunday School attendance size rather than growth posture. For ideas about classroom arrangement, check out these blog posts: Why It’s Best Not to Use Tables in Sunday School Classes, Shifting from Boring to Exciting in Sunday School, Sunday School Learning Environment, Assessing What Happens on Sunday Morning in Adult Sunday School, Sunday School: Lead Them to Encounter God in Bible Study, Class Size vs Room Size, and Revolutionary Adult Sunday School Classroom Space.

Where is your Sunday School? Do you have more, the same, or less in attendance this year? Evaluate your Sunday School. Which of the above practices could use some attention? What could you do to strengthen that practice? What's the first step? Who should be responsible? Check out the previous fourteen practices in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Provide adequate parking. Lead classes to become involved in ministry/outreach/service projects. Plan regular fellowships. Make sure to check out Part 5. Be revolutionary!

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