Previously I wrote a post entitled Top Ten Actions to Increase Sunday School Attendance. In my previous two entries of this series, I offered additional details, suggestions, and illustrations about the first seven of the ten attendance-increasing actions: prayer; starting new classes; making more contacts; inviting members and guests to monthly fellowships; enlisting a class leadership team; setting enrollment and attendance goals; and organizing to reach out and meet needs.
In Part 3, we will look at how seeking more participation in the lesson, teaching members to share their Sunday School testimony, and starting new Bible study groups away from church can lead to increased attendance:
- SEEKING MORE LESSON PARTICIPATION. When attenders are involved in the lesson, they learn more, are more connected, are more likely to want to return, and are more likely to invite someone to class. This is true unless you violate this rule: never ask someone to read or pray out loud without their prior permission. Violation of this rule can produce embarrassment because the number one fear in America is the fear of public speaking. But when members and guests feel comfortable enough to make a contribution to the lesson, that is a positive sign of learning and connection. I remember attending a class a few years ago in which the teacher had attenders to read parts out of the member’s book. While the teaching methodology was not good, the participation was great.
- TEACHING MEMBERS TO SHARE THEIR SUNDAY SCHOOL TESTIMONY. Teach attenders to share their testimony of the impact Sunday School has had in their lives. They should be able to do so in 2 minutes or less. They might share about (1) how they have learned more about the Bible, (2) how needs were met, (3) how their best friends are in class, (4) opportunities they have had to serve, (5) having accepted Jesus because of class, (6) learning to face life, etc. These testimonies shared in teachable moments on life’s paths can help nonattenders consider the value of attending. Plus, it is great advertising that also helps members remember how Sunday School has impacted them.
- STARTING NEW BIBLE STUDY GROUPS AWAY FROM CHURCH. Every class should have two goals: (1) for members to learn to serve Him and their neighbor and (2) to start new classes. When attenders invest themselves in multiplication efforts, they mature and share their excitement about God, the church, and Bible study. That investment is contagious! New sheep pens enable the church to reach and hold onto more people. New wineskins are needed to hold onto new wine. If we don’t go to some people in the world with the Gospel, some will never hear about Jesus. Embody His love. Start a class at work, in the apartments, at the fire station, at the hospital, at the feed store, or wherever people need Him! Start a new group away from the church and watch as more people connect themselves to Him!
Remember, not all of the sheep we are to care for are already in the sheep pen (John 10:16). So, begin today seeking more lesson participation, teaching members to share their Sunday School testimony, and starting new Bible study groups away from church. Serve Him. Lead them. Be revolutionary!