In recent months, I have been hearing stories of Sunday School guests who are wary about “joining” a Sunday School class. As I have asked questions about these guests, what I have discovered is that they simply don’t understand the difference between joining Sunday School and joining the church. And they want more time before they join the church. So they say “no” when asked to join the class.
What can we do? It would be healthy to share two things about this issue with class attenders, including guests. First, help them understand the benefits of a class list. Such a list enables the class to contact members and absentees. It enables inviting each other to fellowships and other class activities. It enables praying together and ministering to one another during times of stress and need. It is the list from which you will invite attenders to fellowships and projects (along with guests). In other words, the class list of members and their contact information enables the class to pray for, care for, and minister to each other.
Second, help them understand that when ministry and care take place, attendance in class tends to follow. When we keep in touch with each other, we know about needs. We care for each other. We know when and how to mobilize ministry. We respond to help each other through rough times in life. We care about the person beyond the walls of the class.
For many reasons, when we add people to our class lists, about 40-60% of them will attend each week. The better we pray, care, and minister, the higher the percentage. Smaller classes and churches who care well will tend to have higher percentages of attenders than larger churches and classes. But some will miss each week due to sickness, travel, vacation, and other reasons.
It should be noted, however, that having a higher percentage in attendance is not the goal. Unfortunately, striving for a higher percentages tends to lead a class to desire to drop irregular attenders, which in turn leads to ceasing care for the individual. The goal, however, should be to grow the class list bigger in order to have permission to pray, care, and minister to more people. The more people on our list for whom we have cared, the more people who will attend.
Set a goal for the size of the class list for which you believe your class can care for well. Mobilize attenders to help with the prayer, care, contacts, and ministry. (The teacher cannot do this well by himself/herself except in the very smallest of classes.) Make assignments to class members. Enlisting and training care group leaders can provide great assistance.
So why not ask every class guest for permission to add their names to class (prayer-ministry-fellowship) list. Don’t ask them to “join” the class. Explain to guests that those on the list have given permission for the class to pray with and for them, to care for and minister to them, and to invite them to class fellowships and projects. In other words, the list is a list of people who have given the class permission to care for the guest. Few will decline an opportunity for care. Just make sure your class is prepared to do the care!
What would you add to this discussion? Do you have questions? Have you had an experience you’d like to share? Press Comments below and share with this community. Invite guests to add their names to your class list. Pray. Care. Contact. Fellowship. Minister. Grow your class. Be revolutionary!