What if you could do something that your classes enjoy that would help you reach more people? What if that activity also helped in developing relationships so that members of your classes get to know each other better and develop better relationships while doing something that can help you reach out to your absentees? What if that activity led to sharing common experiences and lots of stories? Would you be willing to give it a try? Would you raise the expectation for every class to calendar this activity regularly?
In a recent Sunday School survey, I asked for responses to the following statement:
Most of the classes in my Sunday School plan fellowship activities… (Never, Occasionally, Quarterly, Monthly or every few weeks)
Here are the responses from growing and declining Sunday Schools:
|Monthly or every few weeks||10.7%||4.6%|
In conducting an analysis of variance (ANOVA) test on the responses of these two groups, this factor is significant in the differences between growing and declining Sunday Schools. Growing Sunday Schools tend to offer more frequent fellowship activities. They calendar fellowships and class projects more often throughout the year. As a result, they maintain connections better with each other and reach out to new people at the same time.
Fellowship activities take no additional time if guests are involved except for extending an invitation. There are many ways to deliver those invitations. Some prospects are along our normal paths of life and relationships. So it is an intentional but casual invitation to join the group for a fun time or project. Other prospects may be contacted by email or mail invitation. Still others can be reached with a brief phone call or voice mail. Many invitations can be extended by the class with very little time required. By the way, fellowships are also great for helping new classes to get started well and grow!
Thom Rainer shared in Surprising Insights from the Unchurchedthat 82% of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend if they are invited. For a fellowship experience, that percentage may be even higher. Don’t say “no” for them. Invite them. Then when they show up, make sure you spend time with them throughout the course of your fellowship experience.