In a recent Sunday School survey to determine the differences between growing and declining Sunday Schools, I asked for responses to the following statement (followed by a table of response percentages):
My Sunday School keeps good records of guests and prospects AND expects classes to contact them regularly. (No, Yes to records, Yes to expectations, Yes to both)
Question 34 Growing vs. Declining
- No 41.8% 39.6%
- Yes to records 18.0% 23.4%
- Yes to expectations 12.3% 12.2%
- Yes to both 23.8% 21.8%
Interestingly, growing Sunday Schools were slightly more likely to respond “no” about both keeping good records and expecting contacts. In some cases, this can be due to the people having a natural inviting disposition. I served one rare church where a visitation night was unnecessary because the people loved the Lord, the church, and Sunday School so much that they invited people constantly.
But growing Sunday Schools were also slightly more likely to respond “yes to both” records and expectations. These Sunday Schools are more likely to have classes which have prospect lists. They are more likely to record guests who visit and to follow up when a guest was in class.
Without apology, I can tell you that a Sunday School that does not reach out…
- is disobeying our Lord’s command to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20) and
- will not grow.
How does a class change when they have had no prospect list and have practiced not making prospect and guest follow up contacts? Here are a few simple steps/ideas:
- lead the class to begin praying for lost people and people not enrolled in the class;
- personalize the prayer for lost and unenrolled people by adding names;
- share the Great Commission and other biblical mandates to reach out and call for dialogue/discussion (to create ownership of the solutions);
- ask them to send post cards for a month;
- ask them to make phone calls for a month;
- lead them to plan a project and/or a class fellowship for lost and unenrolled people;
- lead them to make “at the door” or “over coffee” visits with lost and unenrolled people;
- challenge them to invite lost and unenrolled people for a meal at home or a restaurant;
- ask them every month to invite friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors to Sunday School;
- enlist an outreach leader who will make assignments of prospect contacts to class members weekly;
- add prospect names to care groups with which leaders and members will make regular contact;
- set a goal for number of lost and unenrolled people they want to invite and enroll in Sunday School each quarter.
What would you add to this list? Where in the steps/sequence above would you add your suggestion(s)? What stories of an effective class transition would you share to encourage others (press Comments below)? People are waiting to be invited. Pray. Care. Contact. Fellowship. Invite. Enroll. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!