In Part 1, I listed six impacts of the pandemic as we rebuild Sunday School, including solutions for the first impact: attenders dropped out and care reduced. Then in Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5, I addressed the decline of outreach, planning having stopped/goals declined, training having stopped, and teachers quitting/burning out.In
Classes Ended with No New Classes Started
In the final part of this series, I will focus on the fact that classes ended with no new classes started. Earlier in this series, I reminded us that effective Sunday School depends on a care ratio of 1:5, one caregiver to five members. Classes with fewer caregivers (teacher, outreach leader, member care leader, etc.) cannot lead the class to care well for members and reach out to prospects. The result tends to be decline in attendance.
During the pandemic, many teachers retired, quit, or burned out. Some members quit. This resulted in classes that stopped meeting, some permanently. For most churches, focus was primarily on survival. That meant that few churches replaced classes that stopped with new ones.
New classes mobilize more caregivers, enabling Sunday School to care for more people. Church leaders often struggle to understand why they cannot reach previous levels of attendance with fewer caregivers and fewer classes. In many of our churches, that was the Sunday School story even prior to the pandemic–decline of caregivers and classes leading to decades of decline in attendance.
Solutions to Rebuild Sunday School
In Part 5, I shared solutions for increasing caregivers. We must begin now to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send workers. In many cases, He has already sent teachers and workers that are waiting to be enlisted and trained. Our current caregivers also need to begin apprenticing caregivers.
Existing classes need more workers, but our Sunday Schools also need new classes. New classes tend to reach more new and lost people than existing classes. They tend to grow faster. There is much spiritual searching right now. The opportunity is great. People are waiting to be invited.
Examine your Sunday School. Where are there age group gaps (ages that are missing)? Start classes to reach those age groups (such as children or young adults). Is there an affinity group in the community that could be reached (such as hunters, quilters, bikers, etc.)? Could you reach even more of an age group in the community?
Are you running out of room for new classes? What about nearby homes or businesses? How about adding classes after worship? What about offering Sunday School before and after worship (you don’t have to double your classes, just split them between the two sessions evenly and add one or two).
Fix It Now or the Lake May Empty
If a dam continues to leak, eventually the lake runs dry. This is happening to our Sunday Schools. Will you allow Sunday School to end on your watch?
No, let’s take action now! Pursue drop outs. Increase member care. Reach out and invite new people. Gather to pray, plan, and set goals. Train existing and new workers. Enlist and encourage caregivers. To rebuild Sunday School, we must start new classes now.
Don’t do this work alone. Join God in what He is doing. Gather a team. Share the work. Watch as God blesses your efforts. Give Him thanks and praise! Make disciples. Be revolutionary!