In far too many Sunday Schools, we make it more difficult to attend Sunday School than it has to be. In far too many Sunday Schools, we make joining a class so mysterious that few can successfully navigate the challenge. What can we do to change a difficult experience into an easy one? What can we do to make it easy to attend and join Sunday School? In this three-part series, I will focus on responding to the questions I asked in my previous post, Do We Make It Difficult to Join or Even Attend Sunday School?. In Part 1 I began responding to questions about attending Sunday School, and in Part 2 I will finish those questions. Then in Part 3 I will respond to questions about joining Sunday School.
Here are the questions I asked yesterday about difficulty attending the Sunday School followed by suggestions for how to make it easy to do so:
HOW MANY NEVER COME BECAUSE NO ONE INVITED THEM FROM THE PULPIT? Some will sit in our pews and never know of the opportunity for Sunday School. Some will never hear of the friendships, spiritual growth, and involvement through Sunday School classes. There is power in a Sunday School testimony. Why not share them monthly from the pulpit? Ask teachers to ask members to share their testimonies in class. Then ask for teachers to share the most convincing ones. Have the attender rehearse with you the testimony so it is shorter and more powerful. There is also something very powerful about the pastor sharing about the importance of Sunday School. When the pastor tells about his personal experiences in Sunday School (as a teacher or member of a class), out of respect for the pastor hearers often see Sunday School as important.
HOW MANY NEVER COME BECAUSE NO NEW CLASSES ARE STARTED AND ANNOUNCED? Existing classes are harder to break into. New classes are fresh opportunities for dropouts and new people to plug in. Announcing a new class holds up the value of Sunday School and is an invitation for new people (who fit) to come to the class(es). This can be announced from the pulpit, in a guest follow up letter, in the church newsletter (as long as it is also going to guests), and at a table/booth in the lobby. New classes tend to grow faster and are more evangelistic–great places for unenrolled people to connect.
HOW MANY NEVER COME BECAUSE THE PARKING LOT IS FULL (OR EMPTY)? When any space in a church is at 80% of capacity, it will tend to slow or stop growth. Sometimes churches pay no attention to the parking lot. If our guests come and have difficulty finding a parking space, they can drive into and out of our parking lot and head home or to another church. We should have our members park as far from the church as possible in order to save some good close spaces for guests. We should even reserve/mark some spaces for guests. On the other hand, if our parking lot is empty, it can give guests who pass by our church the wrong impression–that no one attends Sunday School perhaps because it is not good.
Review these three areas. At which are you strongest? Which needs help? What can you do this week to change that fact? First impressions are often permanent. Give your best effort to God. Invite from the pulpit. Announce new classes. Check the parking lot. Check out Part 1 and Part 3 for more suggestions. Invite people to class. Invite them to join. Care for people. Love them to Sunday School. L ove them to Him! Be revolutionary!