This post is the fourth in a series expanding on twenty methods in response to How Can I Grow My Sunday School Class Numerically?. The fourth method listed there was this one: Care for and invite church members not enrolled in Sunday School. Do we really want to help Christians make spiritual progress? Do we really want our Sunday Schools and churches to grow numerically? If so, then it is essential that we enroll church members in Sunday School. How do we start? Consider these steps:
- STEP ONE. Pray. You don’t have to ask God if he wants people to study His Word. You don’t have to seek His will about gathering groups together. He wants both. But ask His leadership for inviting people. Ask Him for guidance in organizing effectively. Ask Him to forgive you for not taking discipleship seriously enough to expect every church member to gather together to study the Bible.
- STEP TWO. One of the best ways to get started is to require all people joining your church (from this point forward) to join a Sunday School class. Make it your policy, your discipleship expectation. If we really believe Sunday School is step two in our simple discipleship strategy, then we cannot afford to expect less of anyone joining our team. Dr. Thom Rainer, now president of LifeWay Christian Resources, did research that showed that only 17% of people who join our churches will still be attending five years later unless we get them involved in Sunday School/small groups. If we get them into Sunday School, 83% will still be connected and attending the church at the end of five years.
- STEP THREE. If church members drop out, we cannot support and encourage them along the transformational journey. We should explain that fact in our new member classes. We should raise that expectation in our “Get to Know Us” classes for guests. It should be communicated from the pulpit. It should be shared when making guest follow up contacts. Don’t be afraid to communicate the expectation. Doing so raises the importance of what you are doing. It highlights the importance you have placed on Sunday School as step two in your discipleship strategy. You may never get 100% attendance/participation, but you will get much more than by expecting nothing!
- STEP FOUR. Lovingly go after church members not enrolled in Sunday School. Instead of “grandfathering” those who joined the church before you put the expectation into place, invite them to enroll. Preach about the importance of being involved in Sunday School to aid their discipleship. Make it easy for church members to enroll in worship or in your foyer. Start new classes for them. Personally invite them. Share the lists with classes. Encourage classes to “own” those in respective age groups. Help long-time church members understand why being in a class is important and how Sunday School can advance their discipleship and disciplemaking.
Where does your Sunday School need to give attention? Don’t neglect church members. Help them take steps of discipleship by enrolling them in Sunday School. Celebrate every step of progress in your efforts to enroll them. Celebrate every step of progress in spiritual maturity for each one. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!