Statistics about the Sunday School and Worship Attendance Gap

Monday 29th October, 2012
 

In my last blog post, When Sunday School and Worship Are Nearly Equal in Attendance, I shared my response to a friend who had questions about Sunday School and worship attendance being close. In this post I will focus on the gap between Sunday School and worship attendance. Just to get my bearings, I looked back at Kentucky Baptist church statistics from 2009 (which were readily at hand).  Here are some highlights of what I discovered from the 2,114 reporting churches:

# of Churches % of Churches
More In Sunday School
73
3.45%
Sunday School=Worship
58
2.74%
More in Worship
1,983
93.80%

The great majority of these churches have more in worship than in Sunday School. Then I took a glance at what the average worship and average Sunday School attendance and enrollment were for these 2,114 churches. Here are the numbers:

Average
Worship
119.04
Sunday School Enrollment
142.23
Sunday School Attendance
78.42

I also looked at statewide ratios (comparisons) for (1) Sunday School attendance compared to worship, (2) worship compared to Sunday School attendance, and (3) Sunday School attendance compared to Sunday School enrollment. Here are the numbers:
Ratio
Sunday School/Worship
65.88%
Worship/Sunday School
151.80%
Sunday School Attendance/Enrollment
55.14%

Then I looked at the large group of churches (1,983) whose Sunday School attendance was less than their worship attendance to get an idea of the ranges. Here are the numbers and percentages:

Sunday School Attendance/Worship % of Churches # of Churches
80.01-99.30%
14.73%
292
60.07-80.00%
43.92%
871
60.00% and under
42.35%
820

In summarizing this data, there is a fairly large gap in most Kentucky Baptist churches between Sunday School attendance and worship. Sunday School attendance is about 2/3 of worship. Or to look at it the other way, Worship has 1.5 times as many as are in Sunday School each week.

Then I looked at a recent report of 1,566 churches who reported Sunday School enrollment and attendance for all five years 2007-2011. In the report, 586 churches (37.42%) had an increase in Sunday School attendance during the report years; 67 churches (4.28%) remained the same in attendance; and 913 churches (58.30%) had a dec rease in attendance. Unfortunately, I did not have worship numbers in that final report to compare to see if the churches with growing Sunday School attendance had large or small differences between Sunday School attendance and worship.

Allow me to ask two questions for your serious consideration and response:

Could it be that one reason some churches are NOT growing is that Sunday School has not worked harder to reach more of larger numbers in worship?

or

Could it be that one reason some churches ARE growing is that they have a larger pool of worship attenders from which to invite to Sunday School?

What are your experiences, observations, thoughts, and questions? What can we do to be proactive in Sunday School to make the most of whatever reality in which we find ourselves? Share your thoughts below by pressing Comments. I believe God can use Sunday School to change lives. Let's work together to give our best effort for Him. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!

For more ideas about growing your Sunday School, check out these blog posts:

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