Almost a year ago, I wrote an entry entitled 5 Goals for Sunday School Growth This Year. There are so many goals that a Sunday School can and should pursue. It was tempting for me to share a list of about 15 goals, but I realize that most people, churches, and Sunday Schools fail when pursuing more than about 3-5 goals. They get distracted rather than staying focused. I was convicted, again, of that fact today when reading a Baptist Standard article entitled Bold Missions Thrust Ends with a Few of the Many Goals Realized. The title says it all.
Many of the additional goals I would have suggested beyond the 5 goals I shared last year are really means, or action plans, for accomplishing those goals. So allow me to review the 5 goals, and suggest some actions that may help you take steps toward accomplishing them this year. Because of the amount of content, I will share this in two parts. Here is part 1:
PRAYER: This goal is needed every year. Draw your Sunday School leadership team aside (perhaps during a Sunday School retreat before or just after the beginning of the new Sunday School year) and spend time with God in Bible study and prayer. Listen. Praise and thank Him. Share what was heard. Follow His leadership. Set aside time during your monthly planning meetings. Set aside special quarterly times for prayer. Call for the entire church family to pray for the Sunday School for a whole month. Pray for leaders and workers. Pray for needs and goals. Pray for space and new classes. Pray for guests and prospects. Pray for projects and fellowships. Have a special prayer focus each month or quarter.
INCREASED ENROLLMENT/ATTENDANCE/CONTACTS: When contacts and enrollment increase, attendance tends to increase. Setting God-sized goals and regularly checking on progress often motivates a group to pursue, pray for, care for, minister to, and fellowship with new people. Friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors are invited to class fellowships, projects, and Sunday morning Bible study sessions. Greeters can help in connecting with and following up on guests. Care groups can help in continuing to follow up on guests and prospects.
Also, someone in charge of outreach can help the class to be more intentional in following up on prospects and can challenge the class to participate in weekly visitation. Name tags can help guests connect better with class members and vice versa. Setting up a way to report contacts (calls, cards/letters, e-mail, and visits) by class members can help the class to be more intentional in pursuit of this goal. (Years ago, these were frequently reported on tithing envelopes, but an index card or a printed sheet with the four categories of contacts can serve.
Dividing goals by quarter or month is another way to make the target appear to be more manageable. My final reminder from last time is needed here: Pray, and set a God-sized goals, and remember to give Him the credit when you reach them. How large should your goals be?
In part 2, we will look at goals 3-5: start new classes, offer special events for prospects, and train Sunday School workers. What actions are needed by your Sunday School? What can you do this month to prepare your Sunday School to take steps toward accomplishing these two goals? Do you have a planning retreat scheduled? Could you lead your leadership to begin praying? Plan to make progress this year. Be revolutionary!