In far too many Sunday Schools, we make it more difficult to attend and join Sunday School than it has to be. 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? In the final part of 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 and Part 2, I responded to my questions about attending Sunday School. In Part 3, I will respond to my questions about joining Sunday School.
Here are the questions I asked about difficulty joining the Sunday School followed by suggestions for how to make it easy to do so:
HOW MANY NEVER JOIN BECAUSE WE NEVER ASK THEM TO DO SO? This has to change! People like to be invited. They may not always accept, but when we invite them it says to them that we accept them and want them to be a part. That is a message that must be communicated. Instead of asking if they want to “enroll in” or “join” the class, perhaps we should ask if they would like to be added to the “ministry list” or the “prayer and fellowship list” for the class. Both are more descriptive of what we intend to do with their contact information if they join the class. Don’t say “no” for them. Ask them!
HOW MANY NEVER JOIN BECAUSE WE ARE WAITING FOR THEM TO EXPRESS INTEREST? Few will join our classes when we wait to express our interest in and care for them. We must take the initiative without being pushy. Our care must be genuine. If we wait until they attend three times or until they ask about joining, they not only may not join but they may also not return.
HOW MANY NEVER JOIN BECAUSE WE DON’T FOLLOW UP? Many classes have guests on a regular basis. We should organize our class to make immediate and ongoing contact with those guests. We should call and ask for prayer requests, ask if they have any questions about the class or church, ask how we can encourage or help them, and invite them to a class fellowship. We should be interested but not nosey. Follow up can be in person (visit at home, office, or a restaurant), by phone, by e-mail or text, or by card/letter. But that also means we need to be intentional about getting contact information from our guests. Interest beyond Sunday can result in willingness to join.
HOW MANY NEVER JOIN BECAUSE WE TALKED TO EACH OTHER RATHER THANT TO THEM? I have been in many classes like this over the years. Conversation with guests should not wait until after the lesson when the teacher reminds us to talk to the guests. We should be interested early–many first impressions are formed early in class, even before the teacher has spoken. We should have a 5-minute rule for the beginning and end of class that we talk to guests first before speaking to each other during the first and last 5 minutes of class. A poor first impression may prevent returning to class and joining.
HOW MANY NEVER JOIN BECAUSE WE DID NOT GET ANY CONTACT INFORMATION TO FOLLOW UP? I mentioned this above, but for follow up it is essential that we get as complete of contact information from our guests as possible: name, address, phone, e-mail, etc. If there is no welcome center or guest registration before guests are bro ught to your class, you must be ready with forms to record this information. You can even ask on the card if they would like to join the class. This can be a registration card with two purposes: guest and enrollment registration. And don’t forget to follow up with those who join as well!
Review these three five areas. At which are you strongest? Which needs help? What can you do this week to improve that fact? First impressions are often permanent. Give your best effort to God. Ask them to join. Express interest. Follow up. Talk to guests. Get contact information. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 for more suggestions. Invite people to class. Invite them to join. Care for people. Love them to Sunday School. Love them to Jesus! Be revolutionary!
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